Why rising star Ella Mai is one to watch in 2019

Rising star Ella Mai

Rising star Ella Mai had a bumper 2018, scoring a hit single and Grammy nominations.

She may not be a household name yet, but Ella Mai is well on her way to conquering the music industry.

For an indication of how red hot the South Londoner’s career is right now, ponder the events of last week: Mai was nominated for two Grammys, Billboard named her single Boo’d Up the third best song of year and she was longlisted for BBC Music’s Sound Of 2019 award.

Not bad considering that back in 2014, while studying at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM), she auditioned as part of a girl group for the X Factor – and didn’t make it past the first audition.

Her failure to impress Simon Cowell proved fortuitous; rapper, DJ and producer Mustard saw Mai singing on Instagram and signed her to his label 10 Summers Records.

The pair worked together on three EPs including Ready which featured the slow burner Boo’d Up, a feelgood number showcasing Mai’s silky vocals. The song wasn’t an instant hit, it took a year for it to break through in the US charts. It was certified platinum in June.


Proving she’s no one hit wonder, Mai followed up with the single Trip, a hit that has been viewed more than 50 million times on YouTube. She released her self-titled album in October and then things got even better – Stevie Wonder called saying he wanted to work with her.

Of her whirlwind 2018 the artist told radio station Real 92.3: “I still feel like little old Ella from a very small place in London.”

Look out for the rising star in 2019. She kicks off the year with a UK tour.

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