Ella Mai: The Rising Star of R&B
Ella Mai is a British singer and songwriter who has taken the world by storm with her soulful and catchy R&B songs. She rose to fame in 2018 with her hit single “Boo’d Up”, which earned her two Grammy nominations and a Billboard Music Award. Since then, she has released her self-titled debut album, which topped the R&B charts and featured collaborations with artists like Chris Brown, John Legend, and H.E.R. She has also toured with Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande, and performed at major festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza.
But who is Ella Mai behind the music? How did she go from posting covers on Instagram to becoming one of the most popular R&B artists of today? In this article, we will explore her journey, her influences, and her style.
Ella Mai was born on November 3, 1994, in London, England. She grew up listening to classic R&B and soul artists like Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys, who inspired her to pursue music. She started singing in a local choir when she was 12 years old, and later attended the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in London, where she formed a girl group called Arize. The group auditioned for The X Factor UK in 2014, but did not make it past the initial stage.
Undeterred by the setback, Ella Mai decided to move to Los Angeles in 2015 to pursue a solo career. She signed with DJ Mustard’s label 10 Summers Records, and released three EPs: Time, Change, and Ready. The EPs showcased her smooth vocals and catchy hooks over DJ Mustard’s signature beats. Her breakthrough came in 2018, when her song “Boo’d Up” went viral on social media and radio. The song became a summer anthem and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also earned her two Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best R&B Song, and won her a Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Song.
In October 2018, Ella Mai released her debut album, Ella Mai, which debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart and number one on the Top R&B Albums chart. The album received critical acclaim and featured guest appearances from Chris Brown, John Legend, H.E.R., and Ty Dolla $ign. The album spawned three more singles: “Trip”, “Shot Clock”, and “Whatchamacallit”. Ella Mai also embarked on her own headlining tour, The Debut Tour, which sold out across North America and Europe. She also supported Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour and Ariana Grande on her Sweetener World Tour.
Ella Mai has cited many artists as her influences, but she has a special admiration for Lauryn Hill. She has said that Hill’s album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was the first album she ever listened to, and that it taught her about love, life, and music. She has also said that Hill’s song “Ex-Factor” is her favorite song of all time.
Other artists that have influenced Ella Mai include Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah, Usher, BeyoncÃ©, Drake, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, JhenÃ© Aiko, SZA, Kehlani, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., and Summer Walker.
Ella Mai’s style is a blend of contemporary R&B and pop with influences from classic soul and hip-hop. She is known for her smooth vocals that can range from sultry to sweet, and her catchy hooks that stick in your head. She sings about love, relationships, empowerment, and self-confidence with honesty and vulnerability. She also incorporates elements of British slang and culture into her lyrics.
Ella Mai’s style is also reflected in her fashion choices. She likes to wear colorful outfits that mix streetwear with glamour. She often wears sneakers or boots with dresses or skirts. She also likes to accessorize with hoop earrings, sunglasses, hats, or bandanas.
Ella Mai is one of the most exciting