Mya was born and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland a suburb of Washington, D.C.. She also has two younger brothers named Chaz and Nigel. Her mother is Italian and her father is African American. Myastudied both singing and tap, at one point taking lessons in New York City from Savion Glover. As a teenager, she appeared as a dancer on BET's Teen Summit talk show. Mya taught dance for several years before and after she became famous. She attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she graduated at age sixteen. Mya was a cheerleader in high school.
In 1997, Myasigned a recording contract with Haqq Islam's University Records, after being brought to the label by her friends an R&B group Dru Hill. The four members of the group, Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin, Mark "Sisqó" Andrews, Larry "Jazz" Anthony', and James "Woody" Green, wrote and produced half of Myaeponymous debut album, Mýa. The first two singles, "It's All About Me" and "Movin' On", were co-written by Sisqó; the former song also featured Sisqó on guest vocals, while the latter featured rapper Silkk Tha Shocker. Both songs reached top ten on the U.S. Billlboard R&B/Hip Hop chart while "It's All About Me" also reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The videos for these two songs and for her third single "My First Night With You" were MTV staples through 1998. Mya received 2 Soul Train Music Awards nomination for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist for Movin' On and Best R&B/Soul Album Mya(both beaten by Erykah Badu). Not only did Mya's self titled debut album become 1 of the top 10 selling albums of 1998. It was certified Platinum on October 1, 1998 and became a big commercial success for her selling more than 2.1 million copies in the US.
In addition to her solo work, Myawas also a featured artist with Ol' Dirty Bastard on Pras' 1998 grammy nominated hit, "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)", from the Bulworth soundtrack. During the same year, Myaalso scored another hit as a featured vocalist on BLACKstreet's "Take Me There" from the The Rugrats Movie soundtrack, which also featured guest raps from Ma$e and Blinky Blink.
On April 25, 2000, Myareleased her second album, Fear of Flying. The album debut at number 15 on the Billboard 200 album charts with first week sales of 72,000 copies. Its first single, "Best of Me", was an urban R&B song that featured rapper Jadakiss and had an even more urban hip hop remix which featured rapper Jay-Z. The song and its remix were hits at urban radio but did not crossover to mainstream radio. Mýa's biggest pop hit came with the second single, "Case of the Ex". The song reached #2 in the U.S. and its music video performed well on MTV's TRL.