Misha Amber Bryan (born 10 February 1992), known by her stage name Misha B, is a British singer, songwriter and rapper. Born and raised in Greater Manchester. Misha B rose to notability as a semi-finalist on the eighth series of The X Factor. Several sources have noted her powerful vocals.
In April 2012, Misha B released a free mixtape entitled Why Hello World; it contained a sample of her debut single "Home Run", which charted at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart in July. Misha B released "Do You Think of Me" on 4 November 2012, which reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart. Autumn 2012, she supported American rapper Nicki Minaj on the United Kingdom leg of her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour and was nominated as Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards. In 2013, she released her second mixtape Knock Knock and her third single "Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)" which peaked at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart. Misha B is a joint patron of the UK's annual National Diversity Awards.
Misha B was born Misha Amber Bryan on 10 February 1992, to Florence Bryan (a former heroin addict) and an unknown father. She is of Jamaican heritage. From three months old Misha B and her elder sister (Monique) were raised by their maternal aunt Lily. Misha B spoke of her upbringing, "I will always look upon Lily as my mum, I've never had that relationship with my birth mum... we don't know each other. But I respect the fact she carried me for all those months, but when it comes to my mum Lil...she's a great role model in everything she does."
Misha B was raised in the economically deprived Longsight, Hulme and Moss Side districts of Greater Manchester. As a teenager Misha B attended Trinity C.E. High School in Hulme, where she played football for the Manchester United under-16s. She started by writing poetry, moved on to rapping and then progressed to singing. Misha B began to take her vocals abilities more seriously aged fourteen - describing music as her only outlet and that singing assisted her self-understanding.
Aged 18, in 2010 she joined a Vocal Artist course at the Manchester Music Base, at Trafford College in Manchester. There, she was coached by Leanne Brown, who as part of Sweet Female Attitude, had a hit in 2000 with "Flowers". Misha B entered the Manchester open mic circuit aged eighteen, and performed as a busker outside Manchester's Arndale Centre to tackle her stage fright.
The X Factor
Misha B's breakthrough into the music industry came in 2011, through her appearance on the eighth series of UK version of The X Factor. In her first audition, she sang Aretha Franklin's cover of "Respect". The Voice recounted her performance as being "confident" and "show-stopping", and as a promising sign of Misha B's future in the competition. Noted for her "Lauryn Hill-like rap-singing style", she was mentored by American recording artist Kelly Rowland and finished fourth. A variety of sources including The Daily Telegraph, Digital Spy and bluesandsoul.com have regarded Misha B as one of the more gifted and exciting acts ever to have come out of a talent competition. BBC 1xtra noting her "show-stopping performances", considered her to be one of the most credible artists to emerge from the show and a "break from the traditional X Factor contestant". In a review of the series, The Daily Telegraph picked her performance of "Rolling in the Deep"(Adele) as one of the highlights of the series, saying she "oozed star quality from the start... Like a 21st century Grace Jones or an urban Lady Gaga, the teenager seemed like a proper pop star already." Bryan was involved in a controversy during the third live show when Tulisa Contostavlos accused her of making "mean comments" and Louis Walsh accused her of being a "bully" backstage. No evidence was ever provided to support either allegation and both accusers apologised the next day. The other two judges and her fellow contestants defended Misha B during and after the show. Judge Gary Barlow later said he believed the wrongful allegations had ended Misha B's chances of winning the competition. Bryan asked about her experience on X Factor said "I one hundred percent appreciate the platform it gave me...but it's not for the faint-hearted lol. You have to remember that at the end of the day it’s an entertainment show for TV." "Things are said which are out of all of our hands as contestants. I wasn't asked any questions, I was just accused." Misha B spoke to grammy.com in 2013, "I experienced not only highs but my share of lows on The X Factor, but it has set me up with the thick skin needed for this industry... I will always be grateful for my time on the show. I mean, it got me to where I needed to be."
Misha B's performances during The X Factor
|Show||Song choice||Theme||Save Performance|
|Auditions||"Respect" (Aretha Franklin)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Bootcamp 1||"Born This Way" (Lady Gaga)||Bootcamp challenge||None (Advanced)|
|Bootcamp 2||"Survivor" (Destiny's Child)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Judges' houses||"Fly" (Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Live show 1||"Rolling in the Deep" (Adele)||Britain vs America||None (Safe)|
|Live show 2||"Would I Lie To You?" (Charles and Eddie)||Love and Heartbreak||None (Safe)|
|Live show 3||"Purple Rain" (Prince)||Rock||None (Safe)|
|Live show 4||"Tainted Love" (Soft Cell)||Halloween||"Use Somebody" (Kings of Leon)|
|Live show 5||"Proud Mary" (Creedence Clearwater Revival)||Floorfillers||None (Safe)|
|Live show 6||"Born this Way" (Lady Gaga)||Lady Gaga vs. Queen||"Who You Are" (Jessie J)|
|Live Show 7||"I Have Nothing" (Whitney Houston)||Movie Week||None (Safe)|
|Live Show 8||"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" (Cyndi Lauper)||Guilty pleasures||"Out Here on My Own" (Lesley Gore)|
|"Killing Me Softly With His Song" (Roberta Flack)||Heroes|
|Semi finals||"Dancing in the Street (Martha and the Vandellas)||Motown||Leaving Performance "Who You Are" (Jessie J)|
|"Perfect" (P!nk)||Songs to get you to the final|
Why Hello World
Shortly after Misha B left The X Factor, she performed a live freestyle F64 for SB.TV on 24 December 2011. In February 2012 it was announced that she had signed a record deal with the Relentless Records; Charlene Grant from Modest! Management was responsible for her management. She then began touring as part of The X Factor contestants from 25 February to 4 April. Whilst on the tour, Misha B spent time working on her first mixtape, Why Hello World, mixed by DJ Stylus and released for free download on 27 April. The following week it became BBC Radio 1Xtra's mixtape of the week. The mixtape features a collection of original material including samples of original songs – "Big Dreaming", "Last Forever" and "Home Run" (plus covers of "Rolling in the Deep", "Mirror", "Unpretty", "Run the World", "Crew Love" and "Climax"). The mixtape received positive reviews and gained over 16,000 downloads and 25,000 streams.
Her debut single "Home Run", co-written and produced by British songwriter MNEK, was released on 15 July by Relentless Records and charted at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video for the single which was directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat, premiered on 15 June. An accompanying EP was released, with remixes from artists including Kat Krazy and Zed Bias; and she recorded various performances of "Home Run", including an acoustic version for i-D magazine and for SB.TV on 11 July. Misha B performed "Home Run" at both the nominations and awards ceremony for the MOBO Awards. She also performed "Home Run" at the BBC 1Xtra Live 2012 concert at the Manchester Apollo, singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and a new song "Runway"; duetting with Daley on his single Remember Me covering for Jessie J.
Misha B headlined Manchester Pride on 27 August with crowds of 150,000 to celebrate LGBT culture. 21 October to 7 November 2012, Misha B toured as Nicki Minaj's support act on the United Kingdom leg of the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour.
Her second single, "Do You Think of Me", co-written by herself, Ayak Thiik and TMS and co-produced by herself and TMS, was released on 4 November, and the music video was released on 8 October. "Do You Think of Me" peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart on 11 November. The Official Charts Company recorded that the single reached numbers 3 and 2 on their 1Xtra Singles Top 40 chart and VH1 Urban Chart Top 20, respectively on 10 November. In October, performed an acoustic version for Trevor Nelson's 1Xtra Live Lounge, plus a cover of Labrinth and Emeli Sande's "Beneath Your Beautiful". Misha B also performed an acoustic cover for MSN, plus a Halloween-themed acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
"Ride or Die", the B-side to Angel's "Time After Time", featured Misha B and was released on 29 November, with a music video published a week later on 6 December. The track was composed by Misha B, Sirach Charles (Angel) and Kassa Alexander. 4music described their joint work as "pretty impressive, pretty soulful and pretty darn emotional too!”
In January 2013, Misha B headlined the half-time show for the American National Basketball Association (NBA) game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in London. "Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)" was premiered on The Hits Radio in February. A lyric video and an official video followed in February and March, respectively. On 12 February, she released her second mixtape, Knock Knock, which contained six snippets of original songs (including "Here’s To Everything", "Alien Avenue / I Need a Dollar", "Ugly Love" and "Silent Cry") and two covers Otis Redding's "Respect" and an a cappella version of American girl-group SWV's song "Weak".
During 2013, Misha B performed at various locations including Club Sauce in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, at the 2013 Young Scot Awards at the Glasgow Crowne Plaza and Clyde Auditorium, the 2013 Birmingham Pride Festival, the farewell party for Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson and the JLS Foundation and Cancer Research UK fundraiser in London. She also performed her first non-European gig at the NRJ Music Tour 2013 in Beirut, Lebanon. She continued performing, including at the Yahoo Wireless Festival, V Festival and Manchester Pride Festival. On 10 August, she sang the National Anthem at Wembley Stadium for the annual FA Community Shield fixture.
On 21 July, Misha B duetted with British singer Charlie Brown on "Floodgates Part 2" was released on to iTunes. On 21 August, she released a free freestyle rap called "MishStyle". that revisited her "fiery" rap roots, while "proudly showcasing her versatility". In September, Misha B supported Krept and Konan in an acoustic session for SBTV of their "disturbingly evocative" autobiographical rap "My Story" from their UK top ten album charting “Young Kingz” mixtape. On 25 July 2013, her second single "Do You Think of Me" was included in The X Factor's "ultimate mash-up" (a video trailer for the show's tenth series) of tracks by 13 former contestants chosen to represent a decade of The X Factor's influence on the UK charts, and her first two singles were included on The X Factor - The Greatest Hits compilation. Autumn 2013 she released a video of a jam session of herself and some of her 'BombSquad' performing "Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar, and in an interview with on BBC 1xtra Misha B informed CJ Beatz that intended to release her debut album after her fourth official single release. For the delayed album she has collaborated with Emeli Sandé, MNEK, Mr Hudson, TMS, Cutfather and Naughty Boy.
On 4 March 2014 Misha B announced that she had left her old label and that she had set up her own label and brand, Emboom, under which Misha B intends to release her EP entitled Room 303, and in the future sign other acts and diversify with a fashion clothing line. On 1 April 2014 Misha B released an original track called "Where Did We Go" from her forthcoming EP on SoundCloud. During the summer of 2014 Misha B has appeared at Rock Assembly 2014, Love Without Borders (UK Black Pride), and several UK and Irish city and regional festivals and LGBT Pride events.
Musical style and influences
Misha B's has been described by 4 Music as having "powerful and soulful vocals", and "powerhouse R&B vocals". BBC 1xtra said she had a "huge soulful voice". The N.M.E reviewing Do You Think of Me noted her "stupendous" vocals. The Redbrick student publication reviewing Misha B’s live performance on the Nicki Minaj tour said "It was great to hear that her voice, which sounds powerful on recordings and post-production, was just as good, if not even better, when performing live." Misha B has been compared to several female artists, grammy.com noted that her singing and rapping abilities were similar to Lauryn Hill. She has also been compared to Missy Elliott, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Nicki Minaj, Tina Turner, Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt. SoulBounce described her vocals as "stylistically speaking... falling in line somewhere between Missy Elliott's quirkiness and Lauryn Hill's raw soulfulness". Misha B has noted the comparisons to Missy Elliott, but considers them to be artistically different. Misha B has recognised the musical influences of growing up in Moss Side (especially during the local carnival and parade season) and the influence of Michael Jackson and other artists including Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill.
Misha B has said that her music style can best be described as "free", and that she does not want to be boxed in by any one style. SBTV considered Misha B capable of performing in any genre. Regarding her own releases Home Run is a fusion of multiple genres – R&B, hip-hop, grime, dance, pop, soul, reggae, drum and bass, combined with Misha's 'soulful vocals'. Do You Think of Me is an up-tempo R&B track that fuses urban and dance music, with its "90s club-meets-tribal-flavour". While her third release fused R&B with reggae, pop, drum & bass elements. In separate interviews she has said "one thing that's the same in all my songs is that drum beat, that kick" and "drums and rhythm are a real priority to me". Misha B frequently performs covers - amongst them in September 2012, she covered Alicia Keys' track "Girl on Fire" described by one critic as that "awkward moment when someone sings your new song better than you", the following month she covered "Diamonds" (Rihanna song). She also covered Hip Hop hits - Jay Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild", and in July 2014 Tupac’s 1998 hit Do for Love "breathing harmony into the song with a refreshingly unadorned approach that’s transcended by her relentless passion and drive for self-expression." Bryan has said that while soul was the 'foundation', she loved combining singing and rapping and is noted for adding her own raps to covers - "how do you make Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' even more sassy? with a rap, of course!" Bryan also included rap breaks in her covers of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Cyndi Lauper"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" while she was on The X Factor. and Drake's "Started from the Bottom", again Misha B "drops her own lyrics on the song" "reflecting on the harsh realities of her childhood" - she spits: ‘Mummy was a crack fiend, I was crack born, Daddy never has been Daddy at all’ and reflects on her musical career post X Factor.
Activism and charity work
Misha B, alongside Jody Cundy, Peter Norfolk, Peter Tatchell, is a joint patron of the UK's National Diversity Awards, an annual event which recognises positive role models and organisations who are connected to diversity in the United Kingdom (including race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion and/or age). In 2013 she was quoted as saying that the awards were a "great opportunity to recognise and celebrate diversity in all its glory" and that she looked forward to on the long term help raise the profile of this "awesome cause" and that "It's my honour to continue celebrating diversity in all its glory during 2014." Misha B also supports gay pride, stating "I’m so happy to be a part of a generation that is now standing for equality and I feel honoured to be in a position where I can inspire others."
In December 2012, Misha B appeared in "The Taking Care of Christmas" on 4Music (as part of a partnership with youth charity vinspired) which highlighted the benefits of volunteering for a good cause and how it can make job applicants more attractive to prospective employers. Noting that "busking played such an important part at the beginning" of her career, in 2013 Misha B helped London Mayor Boris Johnson launch Gigs, an annual busking competition which in March 2013 attracted 4,500 entrants. Later that year Misha B supported the launch of an initiative by The Children's Society on 19 November 2013, that seeks to tackle the high levels of poverty and neglect faced by an estimated 150,000 vulnerable children and young people living in the Greater Manchester area. "I can relate to what some of these young people are going through and now, I’m in a position to raise awareness of the issues behind problems." "I know that, like me, they can escape the poverty trap if they have the right support, and if services work together more so that less children slip through the net." In 2013 Misha B also designed a cushion for BBC Children in Need annual children's charity event.
She actively supports the BT Digital Champions initiative, a project set up by BT's Better Future programme and children’s charity the Transformation Trust, that encourages young people to share their internet knowledge to help others get on-line. As a reward for helping others, the pupils win the chance to attend the Rock Assembly concert at Wembley in which Misha B along with other artists performed in 2013 and 2014.
Misha B has received three nominations for her work in music, including Best Newcomer at the 2012 MOBO Awards.
|2012||MOBO Awards||Best Newcomer||Herself||Nominated|
|4music Video Honours||Best Breakthrough Artist||Nominated|
|2013||Official Mixtape Awards||Best Female Artist of 2012||Nominated|
|Why Hello World|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions|
|"Do You Think of Me"||9||1||57||11|
|"Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)"||2013||35||7||—||36|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or were not released.|
As featured artist
|Single||Year||Peak chart positions||Note|
|"Wishing on a Star"|
(as part of The X Factor finalists 2011 featuring JLS and One Direction)
|"Ride or Die"|
(Angel featuring Misha B)
|2012||—||—||—||Time After Time (Remixes) – EP|
|"Floodgates (Part 2)"|
(Charlie Brown featuring Misha B)
|2013||—||—||—||Floodgates (Remixes) – EP|
|The Ultimate X Factor Mash Up (featuring Misha B)||2013||—||—||—||–|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or were not released.|
|"Wishing on a Star"||2011|
|"Home Run"||2012||Rohan Blair-Mangat|
|"Do You Think of Me?"||Ben And Nicole|
|"Ride or Die" (Angel featuring Misha B)||Adam Deacon & Paul Akinrinlola|
|"Started From The Bottom (Drake Cover)"||2013||Joshua Reeves|
|"Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)"||Justin Dickel|