A Grammy-winning singer and supporting film player, multi-talented Mya arrived at those high-profile fields after having already earned acclaim as a dancer during her teens. She born Mya Marie Harrison on Oct. 10, 1979, and raised in a suburb of Washington, DC, where she started dance lessons at four years old and joined the dance troupe, T.W.A. (Tappers With Attitude) at age 10. While attending a workshop with renowned choreographer Savion Glover, Mya was invited to study at the Dance Theater of Harlem, where her ability for improvisation so impressed Glover that he showcased the 14-year-old in a solo performance at the Kennedy Center. As Mya's professional dance resume grew with appearances on the BET talk show "Teen Summit" (BET, 1989-2002), she began to explore her vocal skills and, under the supervision of her musician father, recorded a demo that landed her a record deal with Interscope Records at age 17. Her debut album, Mya
(1998) sold 1.5 million copies and launched the top ten single, "It's All About Me," a duet with R&B artist Sisqo. She was tapped by hip-hopper Pras to appear on the Grammy-nominated hit single "Ghetto Superstar," while "Take Me There," recorded with Puff Daddy sidekick Mase, was used on the soundtrack for the animated "Rugrats Movie" (1998). The hot newcomer appeared onscreen herself that year "In Too Deep" (1999), a gangsta thriller starring Omar Epps and L.L. Cool J.
Maya's second studio effort, Fear of Flying (2000), earned her an R&B/Soul Album nomination from the Soul Train Music Awards and the dance-oriented single "Case of the Ex" hit number two on the Billboard charts. That hit was eclipsed the following year when Mya teamed with Pink, Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera to re-remake the 1970s disco hit "Lady Marmalade" for the soundtrack of Baz Luhrman's "Moulin Rouge" (2001). One of the most popular singles of the year with sales of over five million, "Lady Marmalade" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for all three singers. The following year, Mya gave a strong song and dance performance in the Cell Block Tango dance sequence in the Oscar-winning musical, "Chicago" (2002). Her third album, Moodring (2003), debuted at No. 3 on the charts, while Mya's acting career picked up with television guest appearances on "The Wayne Brady Show" (ABC, 2000-02) and "Missing" (Lifetime, 2003-06) as well as supporting film roles in "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" (2004), "Shall We Dance?" (2004) and "Cursed" (2004), Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's youth-oriented werewolf thriller. Following a bumpy transition between management and record labels, Mya's 2007 album Sugar and Spice was released in Japan only, while her starring role in the direct-to-DVD romantic comedy "Love for Sale" (2008) and her appearance as a contestant on the reality talent show "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2004-) marked a change in career paths.