Student feature: Mya Sherman expresses herself through song


Sherman said, “So my album cover, it’s me basically looking off into the distance which symbolizes like looking at everything I have overcome, everything I have learned, looking back at my past self and all of the things I have had to learn, and then half of it is black and white and half of it is in color because the black and white is supposed to symbolize the negativity and the hardships and the heartbreak and the color represents everything I have overcome and being more positive and having a better outlook on everything.” Photo from: Mya Sherman

Caroline Marsden

Junior Mya Sherman on music and her journey to create a self-made album

A high schooler writing, producing and recording her own solo album– in the midst of a pandemic? It may sound like a movie plot, but for junior Mya Sherman, this is reality. Mya Sherman released her first album, “Learning Curve,” across all digital streaming platforms on April 13, 2021. The album is thirty five minutes long and consists of ten songs. Prior to the album, Sherman also has released five singles, beginning release in 2020. Sherman calls her genre “acoustic pop”. 

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic people had new-found free time to take up new hobbies. Sherman focused on her passion for music during the pandemic and online school. She said,  “It (recording an album) was the perfect project because I was in quarantine; I had really nothing else to do. I was able to devote all of my time to it. It was such a learning experience– doing it all by myself and just really learning how to produce music and record it. I learned a lot and it was just a really fun activity to fill up my time.”

She described making music during lockdown as, “…exactly what I needed. I needed something that would get me out of bed in the morning, get me excited to wake up and have a project and during quarantine there were lots of lonely, sad emotions so my album helped me to work through those and have a healthy outlet for them. Music saves me. It helps me to release any negative feelings I have, plus when I’m performing or when I’m writing music, I feel happy, so it just makes me a better person.” 

Sherman had a specific writing process. She said, “Basically whenever I’m feeling a lot of strong emotions– whether it be positive emotions, negative emotions, angry, happy, sad, whatever it is– I just try and really articulate the feeling into words. I’m constantly practicing piano and guitar, so I just end up like combining music to lyrics and sometimes, a song will take me 30 minutes to write. Sometimes it will take me several days or several weeks; it just depends on how that feeling comes out.” Her favorite place to write songs is in her bedroom; “ I’ll have ideas late at night and I’ll just write them down and it’s so exciting because I’ll have these ideas and then I’ll fall asleep and then I’ll wake up the next day and be able to like put it to music and I get to see the process all the way through, which is rewarding and exciting.”

Sherman’s singing journey did not just begin when her album was released She said, “It (music) was something I always pursued, I’ve always had a passion for singing and music, and then as I grew older, it evolved into songwriting and composing music.” She has been singing  “as long as [she] can remember,” since she was five years old. Sherman shared her earliest musical memory; “I remember putting on after-dinner-concerts with my brother for my parents. That was my first casual show, but then I just remember being in like elementary school shows and stuff like that.” 

Sherman has gained inspiration from other musicians, mentors and family/friends. Fellow musical artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift offer songs from which she draws inspiration. “Taylor Swift is like my biggest inspiration. ‘All Too Well’ is just a lyrical masterpiece. And then, I mean, Olivia Rodrigo is just a huge inspiration just because she’s also younger and extremely talented,” Sherman said. Sherman has also gained inspiration from those in her personal life; “Ms. Rossiter has been a huge inspiration in my high school career. She’s always like encouraging me to put my best foot forward and get involved and she’s really broadened my horizons as far as acting. She just always is providing opportunities to do what I love. My brother inspires me because we are friends and he has always supported me. He’s always the first person I show my songs to and we are just super close friends. Also, just my friends who are really good at what they do in other hobbies, for example like dance and watching them pursue their hobbies makes me wanna pursue mine.”

The feeling of friendship and admiration is mutual. Sherman’s close friend, junior Emma Steiner, added her feelings regarding Sherman’s friendship and recent work; “I met Mya in kindergarten, but we became closer in sophomore year. I love how kind and creative Mya is; she’s the best! I think it’s super cool how she produced a self made album! I know she put a lot of time and effort into it, and you can really tell once you listen,” Steiner said. Close friend, junior Olivia Roman said, “I met Mya on the last day of preschool! We talked for the first time and then realized we were headed to the same elementary school and that’s when our friendship really began. I was so proud of Mya when she decided to make an album. Not only does she get to show off her creative roots but she also gets to express herself and her struggles through her voice and lyrics. In doing so, she lets go of others’ opinions and focuses on inspiring those who have gone through the same experiences as her.”

Sherman is proud to say that she worked on this album by herself. By recording, writing, producing and more all on her own she learned a lot and loved the process. She said, “I did it literally all by myself which was why it took so long and was so hard but it was so rewarding. Once it was finished, I could take a step back and be like wow I did that all by myself. It was absolutely a passion project.”

When asked if her writing is based on personal experience, she responded, “Absolutely. All of my music is something that either happened to me or that I witnessed in a close relationship. That makes it scary to release it because it’s very vulnerable to put my emotions and my stories out there but I think that’s when you get the best, most authentic songs.”

As well as recording Sherman also did all of the instrumental on her project. She said; “I play the guitar and the piano and the ukulele on the album and then digitally I included bass and electric guitar and drums… I just kind of learned as I went which took a really long time but it was really fun and I was just able to learn a bunch during the whole experience.”

Sherman gets vulnerable on her album. The song “You to Me” was the hardest for her to write. She said “because it’s the most personal and the most vulnerable that I had to be, which made it hard to write. It brought up a lot of emotion.” 

On the other hand, her “most fun” song to write was “Can’t Live Without You” because it’s “super happy and upbeat.” She said, “it’s a little love song so it was really fun to write. Plus, it’s the only song on the album that uses the ukulele which is just a super fun instrument.” She added that her favorite song to create has been “Myself My Heart.” “It is about being independent and being a strong female and going through a relationship. I think it’s just inspiring and a lesson everyone can take into their lives,” said Sherman. 

Despite her musical passion, Sherman also enjoys average teen activities; “I like to surf, and be with my friends, be social. I love to just go to the beach and relax, go for hikes and stuff.”

Sherman’s music plans are not isolated to isolation, she plans to continue writing music. She would like to change her style by, “writing some happier songs.” Sherman said, “A lot of my music is sad, just because it’s the most therapeutic to write about sad songs, but I hope that I can write some happy songs– some songs that people wanna roll down their windows and like, scream.” She added, “I’ve been very inspired lately so now I just have to hit the studio and get recording.”

Sherman aspires to go into a musical career; “I’m hoping to major in music management in college which is going to tie into the business side of music while I continue to sing and write songs. And then, I would love to have a professional career as a musician or a recording artist, but if that doesn’t work out, I just want to be involved in music somehow– business side, performance side– just something that has to do with music.”