The cut — written by Joelle James, Mai, Mustard and Larrance Dopson — is from Mai’s third EP, Ready, which was released on Mustard’s 10 Summers label via Interscope Records. Mustard signed Mai to his label in 2016, after discovering her on Instagram, where she had posted snippets of her singing covers of songs by acts like Adele, Drake, Kehlani and Michael Jackson.
“It’s just been really crazy but amazing at the same time,” the 23-year-old Mai tells Billboard of the whirlwind success she’s experienced with “Boo’d Up.” “I always say this is the stuff that you dream about. Like I’ve dreamed about having a No. 1.”
The title “Boo’d Up” comes from the song’s lyrics in its chorus, which describe the sound of the heartbeat of a person deep in love. “Listen to my heart go bah-doo, boo’d up. Bee-dee dah doo, boo’d up. Hear my heart go bah-doo, boo’d up. Bee-dee dah doo, it just won’t stop…”
“It’s funny… I had someone tweet me, ‘if that’s how your heart sounds, then you have an issue,’” she says, laughing. “Like you need to go to the hospital.”
“We wanted to make the song really fun, which I think we succeeded in. And we wanted to make it just like an innocent, puppy love (song). It’s clean, there’s no cursing in it or anything, so every age can appreciate that.”
As for Mustard finding her on Instagram, Mai says he sent her a direct message (a private message that only the account holder can see) and basically asked her “what’s your situation?”
“I definitely had to go on his page and make sure that he had the verified tick,” she says, “because I was like 'this could be anyone.' But it was definitely him.”
Since that connection, the pair of collaborated on three EPs and of course “Boo’d Up.”
Mai says she was influenced by the likes of Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé.
Speaking of Beyoncé, “I actually got word the other day,” Mai says, “because you know she's on tour right now (with JAY-Z), that (at a show)… before she went into ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ she was like 'Oh, who in here is ‘Boo'd Up?’’ or something like that. And I was like 'Oh my...'. Yeah, I died. So I was like 'wait, does Beyoncé know this song?!' It's really crazy.”
In addition to the interview with Mai, the Pop Shop team discusses the death of XXXTentacion, Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s surprise collaborative album, Dave Matthews Band’s new No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the return of Louis Prima and George Benson to the charts.
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