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Ella Mai - The Wiltern - 5/6

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

From 2016 to 2018, she released three EPs 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 charted in the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 5 and 11, 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. At the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, she won three awards, including the award for Top R&B Artist.

Ella Mai was born on 3 November 1994 to a Jamaican mother and an English-Irish father in London. According to the singer, her mother, a lover of American jazz music, named her after Ella Fitzgerald. Mai moved from London to New York City at the age of 12 when her mother took on a teaching job there. Mai's transition to life in New York City was difficult because she was often bullied for her accent. Mai graduated from Queens High School of Teaching in Glen Oaks, Queens, before returning to England aged 17. She is a fan of Arsenal F.C. and club's legend Thierry Henry.

In 2015, Mai uploaded a four-track solo EP of original recorded songs to SoundCloud titled Troubled which was produced by Ella’s high school friend Kyle Dj Kam1 McCullough.. Shortly after the release of Troubled, Mai was discovered on Instagram and signed to DJ Mustard's label, 10 Summers Records and Interscope Records. 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. "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. Ella Mai toured with Kehlani on her SweetSexySavage World Tour. 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.

Ella Mai in 2017.
On 26 April 2018, she released a music video for "Boo'd Up" after it started to gain popularity. The song became her first top ten song in the US in the following month, deeming it her "breakthrough hit." Rolling Stone wrote that the single is "one of the biggest singles by a breakout female R&B singer in the past 10 years." The single peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100, and broke the record for the most weeks at number one of any song by a woman on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. On 14 August, she joined Bruno Mars on the 24K Magic World Tour after Cardi B dropped out.