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The introduction of R&B singer Mya into popular consciousness has been a gradual and deliberate effort. She entered as an R&B pop confection at age 18, appealed to dancehall and hip-hop heads with her cover of Beenie Man's "Girls Dem Sugar." She sang the national anthem for the 2001 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Seattle. Those who only casually have followed the R&B singer found it hard to miss her as part of the colorful fearsome foursome that was part of the Moulin Rouge crew. On the famed breakdown of "Lady Marmalade," it was Christina Aguilera who belted, while Pink and Mya crooned admirably (L'il Kim merely grunted).

Many most recently heard her singing on an update of the R&B classic "Compared to What" that backed a Coke commercial. Her version featured Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson on drums, bassist Pino Palladino and James Poyser and is a bonus track on her third and latest album, 2003's Moodring.

The D.C. native got her start as a dancer and was a favorite of tap-dancing wunderkind Savion Glover, with whom she studied at the Dance Theater of Harlem. She released her self-titled debut album in 1998 at age 18. It featured songs by adult-pop master crafters Diane Warren and Babyface--hardly typical source material for fledgling teen divas.

On Moodring, she further ventures into musical maturity through mostly smart song choices. The tougher "My Love is Like ..." displays a lyrical and vocal confidence, while the electro-flavored "Whatever Bitch" boasts the effortless flow necessary for a song with that title. The most curious selection is a version of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," which includes piano, strings and bouncy synth bass. From teen upstart to young lady, Mya's artistic profile is marked by impressive natural growth. (Yoshi Kato)

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Winter Music Guide 2003
The Fingerbangerz
The Faction
David Bowie
The Matches
The Ataris
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Good Charlotte
Hot Water Music
The Polyphonic Spree
Ticketmaster's new bid-for-tickets system
Winter music listings

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From the October 30-November 5, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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