Welcome to Heartbreak Country. Canada’s Jade Mya is country’s new sweetheart.
Raised in rural Quebec, with chicken coops and crops of corn to pick, this blonde bombshell says she always loved Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. And she’s obsessed with the show, Nashville, having watched all of the seasons several times.
There was no question that she would follow her musical talents into country and western—that’s just what happened when she opened her mouth to sing.
Her debut Heartbreak Country last year featured some wonderful songs seamlessly blending her unique voice with traditional country and western themes and sounds. “Lies of the Lonely,” “Stronger Than Me,” and “Whiskey Lullaby” are all songs I like to play on repeat half a dozen times.
Now she’s about to release a new single, “Dirt Covered Rhinestone.”
Jade Mya has coyly tagged herself on her website as “Not Your Girl Next Door,” and has raised more than a few eyebrows prancing across the prairies and Canada’s other country music hotspots in sky-high stilettos, and skin-tight little white lacy dresses, wielding a massive guitar.
Whether teetering in knee-high cowgirl boots and painted on white jeans at Toronto’s Dundas Square, or singing her heart out at various ribfests, no one who has seen her perform has forgotten her.
Now Jade Mya is back in the news for coming out transgender. This wasn’t a big surprise to anyone who knew her and loved her, but not something she talked about officially very often.
“It was not a secret,” Jade told David Friend of the Canadian Press. “It just wasn’t something I wanted to talk about. It was not something I wanted to make the music about.”
May was born intersex, a medical condition when someone has both male and female genes, chromosomes, hormones, or body parts. Usually doctors will assign what they predict to be the dominant gender, and wait to see how development and personality play out to see if treatment for changes is advisable or necessary. Jade was assigned and raised as a boy, but later underwent transition.
Many transgender rights advocates and experts believe intersex conditions are an important part of the puzzle of transgenderism. Others actively campaign to encourage doctors and intersex people to let people born that way stay as they are, defining themselves as complete without competing to be one gender or another. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual, how each person feels most comfortable.
Though Mya has certainly received some hateful commentary from transphobic bigots, a lot of the questions about her being trans are more about how she faces the challenge of the country and music scene, which has often been either rough-hewn and booze soaked, and at others, conservative and focused on traditional gender roles.
Mya wants to focus on her music, not her medical narrative, but she recognizes that she can play a positive role in the spotlight by being comfortable with who she is. “I’m proud,” she told her audience.
She won’t let her past be an obstacle. “You’ve just got to stick to your guns,” she told David Friend. “They’ve gotta see that you’re not going anywhere.”
Watch and listen to “Telescope” by Jade Mya: