Mýa Shares the Surprise Birthday Gift Michael Jackson Gave Her When She Turned 22

The “Lady Marmalade” singer was part of Jackson’s mega group who recorded “What More Can I Give” in response to the 9/11 attacks

MYA visits the SiriusXM Studios on July 11, 2019 in New York City
Mýa

Mýa had a very memorable 22nd birthday thanks to Michael Jackson.

The “Lady Marmalade” singer recalled being invited to join a group of artists to record Jackson’s post-9/11 song “What More Can I Give” in an interview with People out Saturday.

While the song was ultimately release in October 2001, the recording date happened to be the same day she turned 22 — Oct. 10 (she’s now 44).

“Lots of artists were invited to record at a specific studio in New York City, and the only day in between touring that I had available was the day I had marked off my calendar as off, which was my birthday,” Mýa said. She had previously performed for Jackson at his 30th Anniversary Celebration in early September 2001.

“I went back up to New York City for the first time since, very scary, because when Michael calls, you go,” she continued. She further recalled bumping into Luther Vandross at the studio, noting it was the last time she saw him before his death.

After she headed in to record, “Michael called the studio. There was a hard line, a hard phone there with a cord, and it was at the left of the console. I was told that I had a call and no one told me who it was. He just started by singing ‘Happy Birthday.’ It was so nice of him. Of course, he’s a busy guy. I’ll never forget that moment. It means a lot.”

Jackson wrote “What More Can I Give” following the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York. In addition to Mýa, the song features Mariah Carey, Reba McEntire, Nick Carter, Celine Dion, Beyoncé and more.

Though the song was performed live at the 9/11 benefit concert “United We Stand: What More Can I Give” on Oct. 21, 2001, it failed to gain an official release. The song was played on the radio one year after it was recorded when WKTU-FM aired it without permission.

Jackson himself died June 25, 2009, at age 50.

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