After starting her leap into the music industry back in 2015 posting covers on Instagram leading to her being discovered by hip-hop hype-man producer DJ Mustard. The British songstress found her place in the industry and introduces an insight into the future of R and B following the release of her self-titled debut album ‘Ella Mai’.
Following the unprecedented rise in success for her first single, ‘Boo’d Up’ which took off in the states and the album embodies an American R and B album on many occasions except when her distinctly British accent shines through her monologues.
The album kicks off with ‘Emotion’ a spoken dictionary definition, the first of many interweaved across the duration of the project conclusively spelling out her name ‘Ella Mai’ when you collate the first word of each definition (For example: E is Emotion, L is lust and so forth). Some could say it a risk-worthy gimmick, however, we think it adds a level of cohesiveness in a creative way adding a deeper level to her narrative.
Amongst the album, there are variations of emotions, vocal range and energies which conspire to an interesting experience. She mixes sparkly throwback R and B energy on the likes of oxymoronic ‘Good/Bad,’ as she oozes confidence stating she’s the perfect amount of bad for it to be good, with surprising acoustic guitar-heavy melodies found on ‘Cheap Shot’.
Furthermore, Mai puts aside her tame ways with the (incredibly produced) attention demanding confident and sexy ‘Shot Clock’ as she exudes a sensual liveliness.
Despite all the good the album has to offer, there are some lacklustre elements on the extensive 16 track album. The Chris Brown-assisted ‘Whatchamacallit’, despite the infectious beat, has a repetitive nature proving to be easily forgotten as it sounds homogenous to much of Brown’s discography failing to hit the mark.
Additionally, the slow-burning love song ‘Easy’ affixes a dreary element to the album rather than a touching moment providing the listener to embrace her emotions.
Key highlights to note on the album are the magic H.E.R assisted slow jam ‘Gut Feeling’. With twinkling keys enhancing both R and B rising stars mesmerising vocals and a cinematic punchier vibe on the chorus a sultry energy curates a soul fulfilling celebration of pure R and B. Not to mention the sass fuelled ‘Sauce’ boasting a funk edge with silky vocals inevitably causing your head to bop forming an undeniable feel-good anthem.
With many people apprehensive about this album after the similarly formulated two singles Mai proved the best was yet to come.as she shimmers with diversity across the LP leaving an incredible mark on the industry and creating an impressive start to what will be a successfully sustainable career.