Ella Mai caught up with Billboard’s Tetris Kelly on the red carpet at the 2019 American Music Awards on Sunday, chatting about how she ended up collaborating with Usher, what fans can expect from her new album, and what it was like to join Ariana Grande on tour.
Asked how she ended up joining forces with Usher on their new track “Don’t Waste My Time,” Mai tells Billboard, “Listen, I’m still trying to take it in…It was amazing. I was on tour when they reached out…they wanted me to get in the studio….I was like…can we wait until I’m back? And the day after I got back from tour, I went into the studio with him.
“It was great energy,” she adds. “He was super excited. It made no sense because he was super excited for me to be there. And I’m like, ‘You know you’re Usher, right? Why are you excited for me to be here?’ I love the song….The producers, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox — it’s like people I grew up with. It’s insane. I’m so excited.”
As for what fans can expect from her next album, Mai says she is very excited about it. “I’ve been on tour all year, and I have a lot to talk about,” she explains. “Everything on my debut album was pretty much about love…I just turned 25, I’m growing up, I’m maturing, I’m turning into a new woman…Just the new chapter and everything that I’ve been experiencing in this last year, it’s been crazy.”
Speaking of her recent tour, Mai is also asked what it was like to hit the road with Ariana Grande, to which she replies that Grande’s fanbase is “so ride or die” and that she had so much fun.
“She’s such a sweetheart,” notes Mai. “She treated me so well. Her team were really nice to me. And I toured Europe with her. So it was quite different for me even though I’m from Europe because R&B is not as big in Europe. So it was definitely a different vibe for me, but I loved it. I had a great time.”
You can watch the full interview above.
dick clark productions, producer of the American Music Awards, is owned by Valence Media, which also owns Billboard.