In 2001, three things were guaranteed at Limited Too stores: strawberry-kiwi Lip Smackers lip gloss, athletic shorts with words on the butt, and Myra's self-titled debut record. Myra was Walt Disney Records's first teen artist; the label went on to launch music careers for Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and countless others.
"It was honestly a dream come true. What little girl doesn't want to be a part of Disney?" Myra, now 30, told MTV News via phone. She started singing professionally at age 9, and Disney came knocking four years later, turning her into a "guinea pig" for its growing music business.
Her first Disney song, "Magic Carpet Ride," was featured on La Vida Mickey, a 2000 compilation album. A year later, Myra was released, on June 26, 2001, under the Buena Vista imprint of Disney. She also released a Spanish version, Milagros — her native language as a Mexican-American.
Myra included two standout singles — sadly, her only mainstream hits so far — which were played on loop on Radio Disney. The Princess Diaries appropriately adopted "Miracles Happen (When You Believe)" for its soundtrack. "Dancing in the Street," a Martha and the Vandellas cover, was featured in Recess: School’s Out and, like, every Disney Channel commercial segment ever.
Remember this childhood gem?
The two friends grew together under the same company. Back then, they were normal teens shopping at the mall and getting lunch with their parents. Duff hadn't broken into the music scene yet, but she admired Myra's career as a blossoming musician.
"I felt like her hanging out with me, coming to the rehearsals with the dancers getting ready for tour, or [seeing] me in the studio recording ... [that] inspired her a little bit," Myra said.
“If you’re already talented and you’re in the field, why not expand and basically reach another goal and another dream?”
While Duff later crossed over to singing, Myra also tried out acting: She played the small role of Chelsea in Max Keeble's Big Move but quickly realized it wasn't for her.
She disliked the downtime — "you have to wait around for your call for the scene" — and preferred the "fast lifestyle" of performing on stage in front of screaming fans.
So Myra stuck with music, releasing three more songs on Myra+more after a year of touring. Her killer vocals scored her a spot on the 2001 Radio Disney Live! show with Aaron Carter, A*Teens, and Baha Men.
“It’s a lot of work, especially as a kid," she revealed. To keep up with school, she traveled with a private tutor, her "mom away from home." Sometimes she woke up at four in the morning to squeeze in a lesson before interviews started.
"A lot of people don’t realize that behind all the cameras and the glitz and the glamor and the makeup and the shoes and the clothes, there’s so much work behind it. So, so much."
That's why today, Myra has nothing but "love and respect" for the Disney artists who came after her and achieved ridiculous levels of fame. "The pressure is so high, and the things that the industry can bring you around are not the nicest. It's all a matter of not losing yourself... It makes me that much more proud to come from the Disney family."
Miley Cyrus even reached out to Myra to thank her for "paving the way," a gesture that made her feel "so appreciated and so loved."
"I think for us women, we need that," Myra said. "We need to show each other power and support and love and [be] able to say, you know what, you're the bomb."
Now, after over a decade away from the spotlight, Myra's finally back in the recording studio. In the past five years, she attended college and had a beautiful daughter, Jadah, who's now 5. They live in sunny Santa Rosa, California.
"It's been lovely to have these five years to do nothing but be with my baby girl. That's been really rewarding," she said, joking that Jadah is "another little diva in the making."
Right now Myra's working on "finding the sound" for her next project, which will have a "pop R&B" feel to it. Another mariachi album is also in the works. (Years before her Disney days, she released mariachi music under the name Mayra Caról. She ultimately decided to drop the "a" because radio hosts kept mispronouncing her name.)
Speaking of names, Myra goes by Myra Sparkles on much of her social media, and her Instagram bio proudly reads, "Disney's first princess." Sparkles is a kindergarten nickname that stuck, but she gave herself the royal princess title.
Why? "I never took the time to appreciate, so today I am appreciating every single bit of what my life has been," she explained. "Being the first person to be signed to Disney is something to be proud of, and it makes me feel like one of their princesses. So hey, I'm gonna put the crown on it and call it what it is," she said, laughing. No miracles required. 👑