It has been a few short months since singer, Mykel “Miss Mykie” Gray was last seen co-hosting on BET’s 106 & Park, the network’s most popular countdown music show. Since her official termination from BET this past summer, Miss Mykie has been hosting The Tea— the first ever Instagram show. Miss Mykie talks with me about her experience at BET, her new show and crediting social media for building her brand.
When you first started doing music, was it a hobby or did you want to pursue it as a career?
Music was and still is a huge passion of mine. When I graduated from Howard University I linked up with producer and song writer, “Chill” from Houston. I really went full blast and that was the first time we took it seriously as far as shooting videos, recording in professional studios, getting a logo and my artist name. Really branding and taking my image as an artist to the next level, that’s when things really got serious. That was my main focus and everything pretty much came from that.
You were known with the Mohawk for many years. How crucial was that hairstyle in branding yourself and the Miss Mykie brand?
I think that was almost everything. My music was good and my team moved in a great way as well. Sometimes it’s not about the artist but about the team and rolling in, looking ‘A1’ and professional. It did help that I have great music and a signature look. All the girls right now have the curly or long weave or the short hair with the bang. How does it make me different? Let me try to figure out something that will make people talk… whether they like it or not. When we went out of town, the Mohawk was something that people would say, “Who is that chick?” It wasn’t something I really liked and after a couple of months, I was begging my team to take it off and switch it up, but they told me I couldn’t do it. I used to tell them it wasn’t that serious, and they told me it was that serious. When Nicki Minaj first came into the game she had her hair with the pink strip and Justin Beber had his swoop. You have to rock your hairstyle for a long time until people are able to identify you. I’m just now able to change my hairstyle and people are still able to recognize me, you have to keep it consistent. I understand more now than what I did back then.
How has the experience and connections made with and through BET helped you to continue to pursue your dreams and build your brand?
The experience was great and I learned a lot. I was blessed because I was able to practice my craft everyday on live television and was able to critique myself to see what I did right or wrong. That will help me a long way when I am able to dive into movies and films, which I am doing right now. I am able to be more comfortable on camera, and it took me outside of being a recording artist, because that was all I was aspiring to be. It put me in the mindset of learning how to interview because I was always being interviewed. I also met and worked with a lot of great talent at BET and I still have relationships with them. It’s all still love. It was a huge blessing; it was unexpected and I am just very thankful they believed and saw something in me; it is what it is.
Are you still in touch with former hosts, Shorty and Paigion?
Yea, me and Paigion hosted a party together a few weeks ago in St. Louis and Shorty was there. We all had a good time, we still talk and I miss them because we were like family, nothing but love for Shorty and P.
What kind of reactions do you get when you go on the street about your daily life? Do people still notice you?
People definitely still notice me. It’s kind of flattering. I am in Houston right now and I went out to eat with some friends last night and people will ask to take pictures. It’s a little weird because I am a regular person but I do love to be able to take pictures and interact with my supporters.
What was the motivation behind The Tea?
The motivation was: you have to keep working. Since I started music I never had a dull moment or a time where I fell off the scene for a long time. We all are trying to figure out ways to be innovative and take things over, that is just the whole name of the game. People look to those who are creative, innovative and draw different things in, and that is just exactly what we decided to do. I’ve grown a passion for television and hosting from being at 106. It was something my team came and presented to me and at the time I was wondering how this was going to work. It’s 15 seconds and it’s on Instagram. But, they showed me and I fell in love with it; I think it’s different. I’m not going to say any names, but I’ve seen a lot of people who have tried to immolate. I don’t feel any kind of way about it, but it motivates me that people look and try to form a path and do the same thing. It’s all about being different and standing out.
How long was The Tea in works before it premiered on instagram?
We discussed it two to three months before, but when it finally clicked to us, it was shot within a week. I went in to go see and really scope it out to get writers, editors, build a set and shoot a commercial on instagram. My team didn’t play. They were on it.
How do you come up with the content for your show? Will it only be about entertainment?
It is mostly entertainment based for sure. We want to keep people aware of different things that are going on in the entertainment industry as well as certain topics that I find interesting or very important— like the Zimmerman verdict. We like to take different situations and make it funny and bring light to it. It’s like a cross between Americas Funniest Home Videos and E! News.
Though it is only 15 seconds, will it be open to having guests on the show?
That is our next plan, to begin to spotlight upcoming talent, Houston owners, or different people I am interested in. I want to help support independent artists because that is how I came into the game and it’s something I am doing right now. I really respect people who have a vision, who are professional and who are trying to put their stuff out there. I would love to support and help with that.
The Tea isn’t some hold up the I-phone show. Please explain the professionalism behind The Tea.
Not at all, it definitely is professional. We hired an entire staff, makeup, wardrobe, and people who shoot, etc. We went in with it.
How is it uploaded to Instagram after editing?
That is something we can’t disclose, because that is something that makes us different. If we told, then everyone would be on it. But, I will say Instagram did make it an option to upload videos from your phone, which is something new they have done and they are evolving. But, sooner or later I’m sure people will find out, but we will all know who did it first.
What were some reactions from your fans and others when they heard about your new Instagram show?
My supporters really missed me. They say they miss my face, swag and the energy that I brought to 106. That was another reason why we did The Tea because it was another way to interact with my supporters and give them what they’re used to seeing. I have a lot of cool stuff going down on Instagram and a nice little following, so people like to keep up with what is going down.
You give your opinion at the end of the clip and respond to some viewer comments on your Instagram, how important is the dialogue for the show?
I think it’s really important to draw people in. It’s not just a video, I really research. The clip is only 15 seconds and I am really able to explain myself with the dialogue and we are in the process of hiring writers to see what the best fit is for The Tea. I want something for people to comment about.
How much do you credit social media with your success and your entire brand thus far?
Almost everything. Everything started out with social media; some do not know how to use it correctly. I believe social media has had a huge impact on my career for sure with me putting out videos, gaining a following on YouTube, people wanting me to go to different cities and perform, which turned into BET and now me hosting The Tea.
You started out initially as an artist; will you continue to pursue music?
Of course. I’m still working on music now. I have a single coming out with Future this fall. I have a lot of great surprises with my music. I am getting ready to release another project and I am working on that right now as we speak. I almost have my project done but I am traveling around and working with some big heavy hitters to make this one memorable.
You can watch The Tea weekdays exclusively on Miss Mykie’s Instagram page.
Instagram: Miss Mykie
Twitter: Miss Mykie
*Mykie can now be seen hosting “The Drop” on Russell Simmons, All Def Digital’s (ADD) YouTube channel.
Copy Edited By: Courtney L. Branch