“Now keep in my mind Erykah Badu once said at the end of “Next Lifetime (Interlude)” from her only album Live, “I’m an artist, and I care about my sh*t.” When Erykah Badu said this, Ella Mai had just turned three, but it shows how she thought about her new album, Heart On My Sleeve, which is out now.
In the spring of 2020, the pandemic made it hard for artists of all kinds to do interviews, play live music, and even record music. Mai was one of a group of excited people who were almost ready to work on a new album in a studio.
But some artists had found good ways to make music from far away, like recording at home or using Zoom to hold remote sessions. Since Mai was already on her second album, that wasn’t a new way of making music that made her feel good.
Mai told Apple Music’s Nadeska in a recent interview, “I’m not a work-at-home studio girl or a Zoom session girl like everyone else. I just couldn’t. Some people were able to use it. I wish it worked for me, but I just need to be in a room full of people and get energy from them.”
Between all of that, Mai had become close with writers like Prince Charlez (Rihanna, Mary J. Blige) and Varren Wade (Givón, BJ the Chicago Kid), who had both worked on her previous releases, including her Grammy-nominated 2018 self-titled debut album. Mai thought that telling Charlez or Wade about her life in the studio felt less like work and more like therapy.
Mai seemed to be careful with the new people who were helping her write songs, especially about what she said that came from a personal place. But she had a good reason.
“Writing songs is very holy,” she said. “You can be going into the studio and feeling something, but you might not want to tell anyone what’s going on. But I told myself, “All of the music I listened to as a kid was very honest and put their feelings on the line, and I think that makes the best album.”
So, Heart On My Sleeve has deep, introspective songs that touch on sensitive love feelings that even her favorite artists could relate to.
The first single from the album, “Not Another Love Song,” has already done well. In the certified gold song, Mai doesn’t show her full hand to a new love interest, even though her heart tells her she does because she doesn’t want to slow things down.
At 3:35 in the album version, Mary J. Blige shows up as a guest without being credited. The famous singer, who was Mai’s childhood idol and a fan of hers, tells her stories from her own life to encourage her to protect her feelings when she loves someone who doesn’t love her back. In “Sink or Swim,” Blige plays the same role again.
“How,” which is catchy and features Roddy Rich, is one of the songs on Mai’s Heart On My Sleeve that Mustard helped her make. This collaboration went well with a lo-fi sound clip of a thinking Mai that was not edited.
Here, she asks her last man why he didn’t tell her before letting go of her hand at the worst possible time. Mai says, “No harm, no foul.” She picks up the pieces as best she can.
In the Lucky Daye duet “A Mess,” they keep telling each other “you’re the best,” but in the follow-up song “Feels Like,” Mai gets to decide how she wants to be pleased.
Heart On My Sleeve also has the songs “Leave Me Alone” and “DFMU,” which were popular at the time. The last one is Mai’s new song, which is near the top of the R&B charts. Mustard and J. Holt worked together to make “DFMU” Mai’s sixth top 10 single on the Adult R&B Airplay chart on Billboard.
At Blige’s Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit in Atlanta on May 7, Mai will be a special guest. She will also sing with Heart On My Sleeve at the Strawberries & Creem Festival in June.
You can listen to Ella Mai’s new album Heart On My Sleeve right here.
Ella Mai born details:-
Ella Mai was born on 3 November 1994 to a Jamaican mother and an Irish father in London. The singer says that her mother, who liked jazz music from the United States, named her after Ella Fitzgerald. When Mai was 12, her mother got a job as a teacher in New York City. This meant that Mai and her family had to move from London.