After delivering her self-titled debut album in 2018, Ella Mai returns with her follow-up, Heart On My Sleeve.
“The last four years have definitely been a roller coaster,” Mai told Apple Music’s Nadeska. “I feel like debut album came out late 2018. I was 23 turning 24. So 2019 kick started my tour. January 2019, I started in Europe. Finished in Australia, January 2020. So literally, the whole year I went on tour. So 2020 was always supposed to be a recording year for me.But then obviously we went into the pandemic and stuff was really stop, start. And I’m not really a work at home studio girl or the zoom sessions that everyone was doing. I just couldn’t. It worked for some people. I wish it did work for me but I just feel like, I need to be in a room with energy and feeding off of people. I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to sound like, what I wanted to say. But the difference with this one, as opposed to recording my debut album, the studio was still really, really new to me. And I was going in with writers and they were leading the way, almost. And I was taking what I could or putting in where I could but I felt like I didn’t know enough, if you get what I mean. So I let them take the way. Whereas this time, I felt like I was pretty sure of myself as an artist and once I figured out what I wanted to say, I went in. And I work with a lot of the same people. So I feel like it’s a comfortable environment. Yeah, I was working on Heart On My Sleeve for two years. And then just it being a pandemic, so stuff being closed… But being away from my family for two years, not being able to see them, going through different relationship stuff, just growing as, also, an artist but as a woman, I think it’s just been some pivotal years in my life.”
The 15-song album is led by “Leave You Alone” and comes with guest appearances from Roddy Ricch, Latto and Lucky Daye.
Listen to the album below.