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With 'Boo'd Up,' Ella Mai brings rising star-power to AFRAM

With 'Boo'd Up,' Ella Mai brings rising star-power to AFRAM

The year’s song of the summer took time to thaw.

Performed by Los Angeles-via-London R&B singer/songwriter Ella Mai, “Boo’d Up” was released in February 2017 — a frigid backdrop for such a delightfully breezy song about unrequited love. In the 18 months since, it has become Mai’s breakthrough hit, a ubiquitous presence on radio and the reason the rising 23-year-old will headline the AFRAM festival — Baltimore’s annual celebration of black life, music and culture — Saturday night at Druid Hill Park.

During a tour rehearsal break in Los Angeles last week, Mai said that while it took three EPs since 2016 to find her star-making turn, she remained patient.

“It was...

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