Ella Mai (born 3 November 1994) is an English singer and songwriter from London, England. She is signed to DJ Mustard's label 10 Summers Records where she released three extended plays. Her most recent EP, Ready, was released in February 2017, where her biggest song "Boo'd Up" was released as a single in 2018.
Originally from London, Mai moved to New York City at the age of 12 before returning to England after graduating from high school. In 2014, she competed on series 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, Ella Mai uploaded a four-track solo EP of originals to SoundCloud. After being discovered on Instagram, she signed to DJ Mustard's label 10 Summers Records.
2016–present: Career beginnings and extended plays trilogy
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. She released her second EP, Change, in November 2016 and third, Ready, in February 2017. Ella Mai toured with Kehlani on her SweetSexySavage World Tour.
On April 26, 2018, she released a music video for "Boo'd Up" after it unexpectedly started to gain popularity. The single peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100, as the singer topped the Emerging Artists chart.
In multiple interviews, Ella Mai names Lauryn Hill, Chris Brown, Brandy, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey as her biggest influences. 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." Rolling Stone described her sound as "a British émigré full of self-confidence and an affinity for classic Nineties R&B."