By Jordan Yeager
The Commodore Ballroom
February 12, 2019
Ella Mai took a little break from her Debut Tour schedule between Oslo and Vancouver for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, where her single “Boo’d Up” was nominated for both Best R&B Song and Song of the Year. And it’s a good thing she wasn’t still in Norway, because the track won the Grammy for Best R&B Song. With Vancouver being her first stop after the award show, the newly minted Grammy Award-Winning 24-year-old was clearly energized and ready to take on the second lap of her tour.
Flanked by two backup singers, Mai’s stage presence was enormous, punctuated by bouncy choreography and repeated affirmations of her love for Vancouver and everyone there in the room with her. Blue, purple, and pink lights surrounded her from intro “Good Bad” all the way through to some of the last songs of the night, “Everything,” “10,000 Hours,” and “Own It.” The DJ Mustard-produced beats are easy to dance to while maintaining the slow sultriness of Mai’s vocals.
Mai’s excitement was radiant when she took a little interlude to talk with the crowd. “I just won a fucking Grammy!” she exclaimed to the sold out Commodore in an ecstatic British accent. The self-titled album that is home to “Boo’d Up” is only her first studio album and has a throwback, nostalgic R&B vibe. Before that, she released a string of three EPs between February 2016 and February 2017, followed by a tour supporting Kehlani.
Despite being something of a breakthrough act, Mai has already amassed a huge body of work and an equally impressive following. And she’s only just getting started.