Tis the season to celebrate holiday melodies and fall in love. As part of the It’s A Wonderful Lifetime campaign, Grammy award-winning singer Mýa stars in the new Lifetime film, My Favorite Christmas Melody. The holiday dramedy follows Abby, a singer-songwriter on the rise who finds herself writing commercial jingles after a song of hers gets stolen by a bigger artist. During the holidays, she’s enlisted to help save the local high school’s arts program. In the midst of the ordeal, Abby rediscovers her confidence and passion as love also finds its way into her heart.
Ahead of her film’s release this Sunday (Dec. 5), VIBE spoke with the independent sensation about her alter ego Mýa Lan$ky, her holiday traditions, and the importance of artists protecting their work.
VIBE: Earlier this year, you introduced fans to Mýa Lan$ky. Who is she? And what’s the difference between her and Mýa?
Mýa: Mýa Lan$ky is a boss. Mýa Lan$ky is also Mýa Harrison. It’s who I step up to be when I think I become too vulnerable, too gullible, or too soft in my approach to maybe relying on or waiting on others. Mýa Lan$ky is the person that always steps up to the plate to learn a new skillset, if necessary. Wear many different hats to get the job done… Showing up so that I can become my best self saves the day, every time.
In the film, Abby’s song gets stolen after she performs it before getting it copyrighted. As an independent artist, what’s your advice to prevent this from happening to fellow artists?
The old school way of copywriting your songs is to write out all lyrics or type it out and then mail it to yourself. That’s the super old school way, but now you can register it, and also registering yourself and your publishing company. Whether it is through BMI, ASCAP, SOCAN if you are in Canada, there’s also SESAC. A lot of different performing rights organizations, which we refer to as PRO. You can register your song, track the publishing, and it’s already embedded in the system.
That’s kind of what happens. Lawsuits can be very, very straining on the brain, the time, the pockets. So many people don’t pursue them because it’s exhausting, and then you are already [slightly] defeated when something gets out, whether it’s a leak or someone steals your idea, but if you have documentation of the recording, saving the Pro Tools files or whatever software you record in, there’s a date that documents every single WAV file that was recorded, and you can prove that in court. It sounds like I’ve been through this, huh?
Little bit. You have some personal experience with this?
It’s just about protecting your work as much as possible.
Do you feel like that’s why Abby didn’t pursue a lawsuit with Casey?
Well, I think when things turn around in your life, you begin to become distracted [by] the good things. You know, her mother’s arts program at the school is at stake. And so now it’s no longer about Abby, and she has to be there for these kids. She understands that art saves lives. She understands how much she really loves music, even though she’s been through one thing that was very, very devastating. But imagine all the different lives and careers and spirits that you can affect. And it’s different when you’re dealing with kids, because they take you away in a great way, sort of as an escape. They’re more important than your little issue, which sometimes becomes major when you don’t have something else to look forward to, which is the beauty of this.
When she returns home, which is where she started, it’s a reminder of her roots. It’s a reminder of how her journey has taken her all the way to New York City. And then returning, you can get lost in the sauce out there in the world but catering to other people’s needs, which is more important, your problems dissipate a little bit.
What did you enjoy most about tackling the role as Abby?
It started with a 14-day quarantine in Toronto. I didn’t know what that was and how it was going to go, but I knew it wasn’t winter time. So it was to be a lot easier than being there in the winter. I brought some recording equipment because the role of Abby required me to sing brand new compositions written by Phil Giffin. Getting them arranged, getting all of the vocals and backgrounds recorded— I love to record. That was a really interesting quarantine because I was busy every single day [and] I didn’t feel like I was in quarantine. I felt like I was in the recording studio. And by the time the two weeks [were] completed, I knew all the songs by heart. And then I was ready to step on set, focusing on the character at hand because the music component was already taken care of first. It was a great experience. The director is so hilarious and pleasant to work with, Michael Kennedy. And so is my co-star, Rainbow Sun Francks, who plays the role of Travis. He’s hilarious.
What are some holiday traditions that you enjoy personally?
So, it’s a joy to watch them kind of roll around with their toys and be a part of the festivities. I love to cook though. And now these days I’m veganizing everything, and I have a long list of requests because I make these amazing combination pies. I’m in the kitchen a lot during the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even the New Year, which is usually when I’m detoxing, but I make the time to cook and I love to eat. I’m constantly going to homes and dropping stuff off to my grandmoms, my aunts, visiting friends [with their kids] It’s really cool.
This interview has been condensed for length and clarity.
Watch the trailer for ‘My Favorite Christmas Melody’ below. It airs this Sunday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.