On her socials (@iammisha_b) she refers to herself as “the Melaninija from Manchestaaa,” typed out in punchy capital letters so it can’t be missed. The soulful singer, who first found fame on The X Factor, has come to a point in her life where she’s unapologetically Misha B. “I’ve come to a greater understanding that everything is as it should be and everything is happening for our greatest good,” says the 28-year-old, who is this month’s cover star.
It’s been nine years since Misha appeared on what was Britain’s biggest singing show. But it was only in summer last year that she recorded an Insta live detailing her harrowing experience backstage. Having been subjected to racism and bullying, she says she was left with suicidal thoughts. However, sharing her story online opened the floodgates to virtual support: “The response was really, really beautiful and empowering,” she says. “At the time I just wanted to get it off my heart and let people know my truth. I didn’t stop to think about what the response would be, but what I got back from our community nourished my soul. It made me understand that we all share the same story in different ways.”
With new music ready for release next month, Misha B’s sound and artistry has evolved. She explains: “I’m looking at life through different lenses and the things I’ve experienced has welcomed me into womanhood. I’m reflecting, giving thanks, manifesting, reaffirming and ultimately celebrating life by honouring each emotion. Hence why I’ve called this project Layers - I believe we all have many layers that we add and take away as we journey through life.”
Speaking of journeys, Misha has recently embarked on a natural hair journey by making the big chop. Unlike some artists who have a signature style, she isn’t afraid to step out the box and even describes her relationship with her mane as ‘sporadic.’ “My hair is one of the many ways that I express myself; it’s a massive part of who we are as black women. But like India Irie sang, ‘I am not my hair’. It’s not the be all or end all to everything.” She also admits returning to her natural curl pattern was in some ways a cathartic release: “It was a physical representation of me letting it all go and understanding it’s all part of moving forward.”
So, what’s her advice for newbie naturalistas? “Step boldly and confidently into the new chapter,” she says. “Social media has so much dope content you can now envision styles without going into it blindly.” As for her hair and beauty routine, it’s all about the basics for Misha. Deviating from ‘product junkie syndrome’, there’s an orderly bathroom shelf in her house: “I wash my hair using black soap and I mix my own conditioners using aloe vera and coconut oil,” she says. “That’s pretty much it.”
Given her reflective nature, Misha chooses ‘adventurous, challenging and strengthening’ to sum up her 2020. Now with new music on the horizon and more layers to unravel, we expect 2021 will no doubt be the year of The Queen B.
Hair: Faux locs made by Lauraine Bailey using X-pressions and Urban Water Wave | Fashion: Body, cargo pant & sneakers by Fila | Earrings: Endo² | Chain: Misha’s own