The English R&B and hip hop musician Ella Mai released her self-titled debut studio album in October 2018 through 10 Summers and Interscope Records. This is predominantly an R&B album where her unique vocals, candid lyrics, dark synths, percussions and other instrumentation have been clearly visible that portrays Ella Mai’s potential as a R&B star. It portrays a lot of emotions and relationships, from finding a partner to ignorance and cheating. The album has a total of sixteen tracks that includes the digital bonus track “Naked” as well, with an overall time length of approximately fifty six minutes. However, another track "Boo'd Up (Remix)" that features Nicki Minaj and Quavo was included as a Japanese Bonus track. The pre-released singles “Boo’d Up” and “Trip” were included in the album as well. The album also features guest appearances from singer/songwriters like Chris Brown, John Legend and H.E.R. The album mostly received good reviews from the music critics and listeners. Albumism rated the album 4.5 out of 5 stars, while NME and The Guardian both rated it 4 out of 5 stars. Regarding the album, NME said, “It’s an impossibly confident debut, filled with slick production and choruses that’ll be caught in your head for weeks at a time. Confident, relevant and full of gorgeous instrumentation, Ella Mai’s debut proves that she is more than worth the hype”. The Rolling Stone magazine and the British newspaper The Observer both rated it 3 out of 5 stars, and Rolling Stone described the music in the album as “an ubiquitous, record-setting sing-along, from a previously unknown artist, no less”. Also, Pitchfork gave a decent rating of 6.6 out of 10 saying that “The perfectly fine debut from the London R&B singer offers a grip of retro, snappy jams without sounding like a pastiche”. It received a good overall rating of 73 out of 100 on Metacritic. The album debuted at number eighteen on the UK Albums (OCC) chart. Furthermore, it reached the fifth position on US Billboard 200 and fourth position on US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard) chart. Moreover, the album was featured on the music charts in several other countries as well. Overall, this debut album by the twenty four year old R&B artist is worth listening to.
8 albums, 35 tracks
Every summer has a theme song and “Boo’d Up” was the song for summer 2018. It launched the London born singers career and gained her several award nominations. Ella Mai Howell was born on the 3rd of November 1994 to a Jamaican mother and Irish father. She moved to New York at 12 but moved back to London after graduating from High school. In 2014, she started studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute London. She was later discovered on Instagram and later signed to Interscope records and DJ Mustard’s label, 10 summers. She released two EP’s in 2016, titled Time and Change respectively, her third EP Ready was released in February 2017. Little did she know that she was getting ready for the huge success she was going to have. “Boo’d Up” was a single off her third EP, it became increasingly popular over the months, due to social media and club DJs but it did not become a big hit until 2018. Radio DJs were also responsible for making the song a hit as they began playing the song on the radio in the Spring of 2018. Ella Mai toured with the singer Kehlani on the SweetSexySavage world tour, which enabled her to reach a wider audience thereby placing her on the right path to success. The year 2018 was definitely good to Ella as, “Boo’d Up” quickly rose to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the US Hot R&B songs. Rolling stone referred to the single as "one of the biggest singles by a breakout female R&B singer in the past 10 years." During an interview with 106 KMEL, Ella Mai said she received a phone call from Stevie Wonder saying he loved “Boo’d Up” and he would love to work with her. She said this is one of the highlights of her career so far and frankly speaking it is every singer’s dream to have a legend in the music industry validate them. In August 2018, she replaced Cardi B on the Bruno Mars on the 24K Magic World Tour, further expanding her fan base. The humble singer claims she is still surprised by the reaction she gets from fans while performing. She released her self titled debut album on the 12th of October 2018. It sold 69,000 album-equivalent units in the first week and debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200. The album was certified gold by the 23rd of October after selling over 500,000 copies. Ella’s style has been widely embraced. She mentioned Chris Brown, Brandy, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill as some of her earliest music inspirations, this is probably why she sings contemporary R&B with a 90s R&B vibe. Many people are quite shocked when they find out she is British or hear her talk in a British accent because she sounds American when she sings. Her low and crispy tone is very alluring, her vocal tone is so warm she can impress an audience without excessive vocal runs. The album was an introduction into the mind of Ella Mai and most importantly how she loves and how she wants to be loved. “Feelings, so deep in my feelings”, Ella sings on “Boo’d up” setting the tone for her next body of work. The young lady appears to love being in love and we love it because it inspires her to create good music. Though she has a team of writers she was very hands on with the writing on her album.
It is amazing how many things can be said of an artist who has such a short career, it is only a few years that they have passed and relatively few songs that she has published compared to the consecrated stars of the same genre and already captures the attention in many senses. What does this girl have? Is it really her undoubted capacity to sing the one that has made her sell all the locations of her tours? Is it the vision of DJ Mustard that has put her in everyone's eye? Is the great success of putting her to compose and sing with great figures on her debut album? Or is it the warrior spirit of a singer who does not surrender to adversity? We could say that it is all the above and end the text here, but it is very interesting to delve into each of the elements that have helped a star of these dimensions to emerge and that very soon will be placed among the greatest singers of R & B, for giving back to this musical genre a lot of what it has lost. That's what I like most about music, which I can investigate and go into the life of the artist to know in an integral way what surrounds his work. Because for me it is not only to appreciate what he did and how he did it but also to know why what happened has happened.
Sometimes in music, you find a song you really, really like, and you put it in a playlist that you replay millions of times. However, you may never hear another song by one of those artists or even realize who they are, but the more narratives I write, the more surprised I am that I have in fact listened to some of these artists. I didn’t think I had ever heard Ella Mai songs, I had heard of her for sure, but I didn’t think I heard of her until I realized while listening to a playlist that she has blessed me with a beautiful ballad “Naked.” So, today, I thought I would give her a shot and listen to her self-titled album Ella Mai, in a whole. The album is setup to show a narration of who she is by using her name as an acronym. E= emotion, L= Lust, L= Love, A= Assertive, M= Mystery, A= Aware, and I= Inner.
For anyone who’s paying even the slightest bit of attention the music industry, the R&B scene has been long overdue for a complete makeover. Back in the nineties & early-noughties, $&B music reigned supreme across the board, with even the weakest performances still generating thrilling soundscapes full of pure emotion, excellent musical theory & some of the most compelling dance grooves around – Once Alternative R&B hit the scene, the whole genre as a whole seemed to devolve into this lowest-common-denominator realm wherein everyone’s out to sell records instead of truly believing in the music they’re producing. Thankfully, Ella Mai aims to stir the pot, tapping into the teachings of her predecessors to create quite possibly the best R&B record of this decade, the Mary J. Blige of the new generation.
Official Music Videos
Featuring Version Videos
Remix Version Videos
Static Image Video
- Apr 10, 2019Here's Why People Think Ella Mai Is Shading Jacquees
- Mar 10, 2019For Ella Mai, ‘Boo’d Up’ brings cheers at Royale
- Mar 06, 2019Mo Pop lineup revealed: Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend to lead 2019 fest in Detroit
- Mar 05, 2019Ariana Grande enlists Ella Mai for European leg of Sweetener tour
- Feb 09, 2019Flying Through Grammy Week With Best Song Nominee Ella Mai
- Dec 12, 2018Ella Mai Signs Worldwide Deal With Sony/ATV Music Publishing
- Dec 07, 2018Grammy Nominations 2019: Best New Artist - Up-And-Coming Women Rule, While Ella Mai Is Denied Entry
- Dec 05, 2018Jacquees and Ella Mai Remain Friends After “Trip” Remix Incident
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