Courtesy of ESPN ImagesElla Mai idolizes Alicia Keys, so when the “Girl on Fire” star performed Mai’s breakout hit “Boo’d’ Up” at the Grammys this year, Mai admits she cried in her seat.
“I used to want to be Alicia Keys so bad,” Mai told SportsCenter anchor Cari Champion Monday at the 2019 espnW: Women + Sports Summit in Newport Beach, California.
The singer from London, who hopes to one day collaborate with Keys, performed at the event, including “Boo’d Up” and “Trip,” the second single from her self-titled platinum debut album.
Stevie Wonder is another of Mai’s favorite artists, and she remembered the shock of a surprise phone call from the Motown legend.
“He actually called me. I was in the middle of a photo shoot and thought it was too good to be true,” she recalled. “I recognized his voice right way…I was alike, ‘What is going on?’ I was so caught off guard.”
The 24-year old vocalist says that later, Wonder told her that he was so touched by “Boo’d Up” that it made him want to be in love again.
Mai participated in the ESPN summit because of her love for soccer, which she played for nine years until she decided to focus on music.
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