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Ella Mai Howell (born 3 November 1994) is an English singer and songwriter. Her singing career began at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in London in 2014, during which time she auditioned as part of a trio on the 11th season of X Factor UK. In 2015 she uploaded a four-track solo EP of originals to SoundCloud titled Trouble, and was discovered on social media by American record producer Mustard and signed with his record label, 10 Summers Records.

Ella Mai
Ella Mai 2019 by Glenn Francis.jpg
Background information
Birth nameElla Mai Howell
Born (1994-11-03) 3 November 1994 (age 24)
London, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2014–present
Labels
Associated acts

From 2016 to 2018, she released 3 EP's on the label, including Time, Change, and Ready. Her self-titled debut studio album was released in October 2018 and featured the singles "Boo'd Up" and "Trip", which were released on 20 February 2018 and 3 August 2018, respectively. In 2019, "Boo'd Up" was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Song of the Year and Best R&B Song, winning for the latter, as well as Mai herself being nominated for British Breakthrough Act at the 2019 Brit Awards.[1] At the 2019 Billboard Music Awards she won three awards including for Top R&B Artist.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Ella Mai was born on 3 November 1994 to a Jamaican mother and an Irish father[3] in London. According to the singer, her mother, a lover of American jazz music, named her after Ella Fitzgerald.[4] Mai moved from London to New York City at the age of 12 and graduated from Queens High School of Teaching in Glen Oaks, Queens, before returning to England.[citation needed]

Musical careerEdit

2014–2017: Career beginnings and EP trilogyEdit

Ella Mai's singing career began studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute London (BIMM London) in 2014. During that time she competed on season 11 of The X Factor as part of a trio, Arize, but didn't advance beyond the initial audition for the judges. The group broke up shortly thereafter. The following year, Mai uploaded a four-track solo EP of originals to SoundCloud titled Trouble. After being discovered on Instagram, she signed to DJ Mustard's label, 10 Summers Records and Interscope Records.[5]

In February 2016, she released Time, the first in her EP trilogy. The six-track EP included the single "She Don't", which featured Ty Dolla Sign.[6] She released her second EP, Change, in November 2016 and third, Ready, in February 2017.[7] "Boo'd Up", which was featured on the EP, rose in popularity on social media as well as in nightclubs over the next few months.[8] Ella Mai toured with Kehlani on her SweetSexySavage World Tour.[9] After Mai served as the opening act on Kehlani's tour, her music reached a bigger audience and the song grew on radio airplay in the spring of 2018.[10]

2018–present: Self-titled debut albumEdit

On 26 April 2018, she released a music video for "Boo'd Up" after it started to gain popularity.[11] The song became her first top ten song in the US in the following month, deeming it her "breakthrough hit."[12] Rolling Stone wrote that the single is "one of the biggest singles by a breakout female R&B singer in the past 10 years."[13] The single peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100,[14] and broke the record for the most weeks at No. 1 of any song by a woman on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.[15] On 14 August, she joined Bruno Mars on the 24K Magic World Tour after Cardi B dropped out.[16] On 3 August, she released the single "Trip", with an accompanied music video releasing on 18 September.[17] The song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ella Mai released her self-titled debut album, a 16-track set featuring "Boo'd Up", on 12 October 2018, with guest appearances from Chris Brown, John Legend, and H.E.R.[18] The album sold 69,000 album-equivalent units with 17,000 coming from pure sales.[19] On 22 October 2018, Mai announced her debut tour set to begin in January 2019.[20][21]

In November she made two guest appearances on J.I.D's song "Tiiied" and Meek Mill's song "24/7". On 18 November, she performed on Saturday Night Live with Jezebel describing Mai as "Pure '90s R&B Heartthrob".[22][23] She was also nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best R&B Song and Song of the Year with "Boo'd Up", winning for the former.[24] "Boo'd up" would go onto to win the 2019 Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Song.[25] In 2019 Ella Mai won the Billboard Music Awards for Top R&B Artist and Top Female R&B Artist.[26]

ArtistryEdit

In multiple interviews, Ella Mai names Lauryn Hill, Chris Brown, Brandy, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey as her biggest influences.[27] Vibe said her "perception of the powerful emotion is kindred to R&B heartthrobs of the ‘90s, who flooded the radio airwaves with soulful ballads, baby-making tunes, and heart-wrenching break-up anthems."[28] Rolling Stone described her sound as "a British émigré full of self-confidence and an affinity for classic Nineties R&B."[29]

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

List of albums, with selected chart positions, sales, and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
[30]
AUS
[31]
BEL
(FL)

[32]
CAN
[33]
IRE
[34]
NLD
[35]
NZ
[36]
US
[37]
US
R&B/
HH

[38]
US
R&B

[39]
Ella Mai 18 19 94 16 55 31 7 5 4 1

EPsEdit

List of extended plays with selected details and chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
[43]
US
R&B
/HH

[44]
US
R&B

[45]
US
Heat.

[46]
CAN
[47]
Time[48]
  • Released: 15 February 2016
  • Label: 10 Summers
  • Format: Digital download
Change[49]
  • Released: 18 November 2016
  • Label: 10 Summers
  • Format: Digital download
35 20 6
Ready[50]
  • Released: 22 February 2017
  • Label: 10 Summers
  • Format: Digital download
29 15 3 25 86
"—" denotes items which failed to chart.

SinglesEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[30]
AUS
[51]
CAN
[52]
IRE
[53]
NZ
[54]
US
[55]
US
R&B
/HH

[56]
US
R&B

[57]
US
R&B/HH
Airplay

[58]
US
Adult
R&B

[59]
"She Don't"[60]
(featuring Ty Dolla Sign)
2016 Time
"10,000 Hours"[61] 2017 Change
"Lay Up"[62]
"Naked"[63] 17 Ella Mai
"Boo'd Up"
2018 52 46 43 85 8 5 4 1 1 1 Ready and Ella Mai
"Trip"[67] 47 77 78 22 11 6 1 1 1 Ella Mai
"Shot Clock"[70] 2019 [A] 62 27 3 5
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singlesEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[30]
AUS
[51]
NZ
[72]
US
Bub.

[73]
US
R&B
/HH
Bub.

[74]
US
R&B

[57]
"Whatchamacallit"
(featuring Chris Brown)
2018 84 66 21 3 1 7 Ella Mai

Other charted songsEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[30]
NZ
Hot

[75][76]
US
[55]
US
R&B
/HH

[56]
US
R&B

[57]
"Good Bad" 2018 18 Ella Mai
"Sauce" 20 23
"Everything"
(featuring John Legend)
23 14
"Gut Feeling"
(featuring H.E.R.)
31 [B] [C] 11
"24/7"
(Meek Mill featuring Ella Mai)
66 21 54 25 Championships
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Shot Clock" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 26 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[71]
  2. ^ "Gut Feeling" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 21 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[73]
  3. ^ "Gut Feeling" did not enter the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number nine on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[74]

Guest appearancesEdit

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"10,000 Hours"[77] 2016 DJ Mustard Cold Summer
"Hit Me Up"[78] 2017 Chip League of My Own II
"This X-Mas"[79] Chris Brown Heartbreak on a Full Moon (Deluxe Edition): Cuffing Season - 12 Days of Christmas
"Talk to Me, Pt. II"[80] 2018 Craig David The Time Is Now (Deluxe)
"Tiiied"[81] J.I.D, 6LACK DiCaprio 2
"24/7" [82] Meek Mill Championships
"Love Me Like That (Champion Love)" N/A Creed II: The Album
"Put It All on Me"[83] 2019 Ed Sheeran No.6 Collaborations Project
"What You Did" Mahalia Love and Compromise

ToursEdit

HeadliningEdit

  • The Debut Tour (2019)

Opening actEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Awards/organisation Category Nominated work Result
2018 MTV Video Music Awards Song of Summer "Boo'd Up" Nominated[84]
American Music Awards Favorite Song – Soul/R&B Nominated[85]
Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B Herself Nominated[85]
Soul Train Music Awards Best Song of the Year "Boo'd Up" Won[86]
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award Won[86]
Best Video of the Year Nominated[86]
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Won[86]
BBC Sound of 2019 Nominated[87]
Metro Ones To Watch 2019 Nominated[88]
2019 Grammy Awards Best R&B Song "Boo'd Up" Won[89]
Song of the Year Nominated[89]
Brit Awards Best Breakthrough Act Herself Nominated[90]
iHeartRadio Music Awards R&B Song of the Year "Boo'd Up" Won[91]
R&B Artist of the Year Herself Won[91]
Best New R&B Artist Won[91]
Billboard Music Awards[92] Top New Artist Nominated
Top Female Artist Nominated
Top R&B Artist Won
Top R&B Female Artist Won
Top R&B Album Ella Mai Nominated
Top R&B Song "Boo'd Up" Won
"Trip" Nominated
BET Awards Coca-Cola Viewers' Choice Award Won
MTV Video Music Awards Best R&B Nominated
BMI Award Most Performed R&B/Hip-Hop Songs "Boo'd Up" Won

ActingEdit

Apart from her music, Ella Mai also performed a sketch on Nickelodeon's All That (which aired on 27 July 2019) called "Boo'd Up", a paranormal parody of The Dating Game, in which she played herself as a contestant looking for a ghost to haunt her family home, but instead of choosing the three suitors offered, she chose her former ghost who came back and she forgave him.[93]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Lynch, Joe (1 May 2019). "2019 Billboard Music Awards Winners: The Complete List". Billboard.
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  4. ^ "Ella Mai Makes The Music That We Can't Stop Listening To". Nylon.com. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
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External linksEdit