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Heart On My Sleeve- Ella Mai

Shem Villacarlos February 22, 2023

By: Shem Villacarlos


Having more than 20 songs and counting from Ella Mai, she has to be one of my personal top 10 RnB artists with an emotional transparency in every song she has released. She continues to rise in the R&B community as a singer/songwriter since 2016 with her second album, Heart On My Sleeve released in 2022. 

Recently in 2023, she released a Deluxe Edition of the album consisting of 18 songs with 3 additional songs from the 2022 version. As the title of the album entails, she says for herself; “I poured my whole heart into this album more than ever before,” on GENIUS. She bounces between expressions of independence and love, not just with partners but love for self. The album starts off with “Trying” and ends with “Our Song,” with the sense of taking a chance on love and filling the album with various spatial audio and instrumentation to outline her lovestruck journey. This is not to indicate that the songs in between the beginning and ending are fillers, because each song closely reflects Mai’s emotions.

As the album title entails, it is clear how much of her heart she pours into every song. She is very expressive as heard with her lyricism and vocal delivery with each song encompassing a different meaning and sound. For instance, her 3rd track, “Didn’t Say (feat. Latto),” consists of spatial audio with the melodic vocal runs and rap segments to create the tension of being in love with someone. In tracks 4 to 9, the struggles and broken parts of love are unveiled to which leads to the song, “Power Of A Woman.” The repetition of “power of a woman” is similar to a chant that is empowering of the love women have. From tracks 13 to 17,  the use of dialogue samples and harmonies make the feelings of love all the more real for listeners. This conveys much of the emotional transparency with intimate lyricism into a masterpiece of tension between love and self-love. 

Her soulful vocals and creative work makes her discography all the more real, raw, and intimate for many of her audience members to feel less alone with their experiences. Ella Mai continues to display growth as an R&B artist and shines in the public as a caring individual. 

This album allows that space for her audience to experience Mai’s journey of self and love on a personal level, for love is an emotion many can relate with. I can never get enough of this album and it can really put an individual in tune with their emotions. It goes to show how it is okay to sit with your emotions. The songwriting process and depth of production beautifully brought life into the album and the singer. I can’t wait to tune in to more of her music and see how she continues to grow while staying true to her songwriting process. 

Favorite Songs: “Not Another Love Song” “How (feat. Roddy Ricch,” “A Mess (feat. Lucky Daye),” “Feels Like,” “Sink or Swim” and “This Is.”  

Rate of Album: 9/10