Get to know R&B’s hottest up-and-comer
British-born singer Ella Mai has been grinding for years, and her hard work is paying off. The 23-year-old auditioned for the X-Factor as part of a trio called Arize. The group didn’t make it past the audition phase.
The experience proved to be a stepping stone for Mai, who went solo and unleashed a flurry of original songs on SoundCloud as well as covers on Instagram, organically building a fanbase before catching the attention of superstar producer DJ Mustard. He signed Mai in 2016, and the pair worked together on a trilogy of EPs.
“I don’t think she has a ceiling,” Mustard said in an interview with Billboard. “I refer to her as ‘The GOAT,’ because people have yet to see what she can do and how talented she is. I think with me and her working closely together like we do and with her being signed to me, that’s like my prodigy. I think there’s no ceiling with what she’s going to do.”
Mai hit a breakthrough in 2018 when her single “Boo’d Up” off of her latest EP, Ready, tore up the radio charts, claiming its crown as one of the summer’s hottest songs. It’s reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and an official remix featuring rap royalty Nicki Minaj and Quavo of Migos will only continue to drive it up the charts.
Alongside her star-studded collaborations, including “She Don’t” with Ty Dolla $ign, Mai also had the honour of opening for Kehlani on her SweetSexySavage tour. With this experience under her belt, the singer is prepping to go on her first headlining tour, kicking off in August.
Along with a string of live shows, it looks like a debut album is on the horizon.
“I can’t wait for the world to hear her album and what we’ve been working on and what I’ve always seen in her from day one,” said DJ Mustard.
We can’t wait to see what this British starlet has in store. Excited to hear more from Ella Mai? Let us know over on Twitter @umusic.