There’s a first time for everything!
When it comes to the star power Ella Mai has exuded this last year following the release of her chart-climbing R&B tune, the newcomer is appropriately encountering a wave of “firsts” in the weeks leading up to music’s biggest night.
Gearing up to make her debut appearance at the 2019 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday — where she’s nominated for song of the year and best R&B song for her smash hit “Boo’d Up” off her self-titled debut album — the 24-year-old singer is flaunting her talents in the world’s first evolving music video, which was released by the Recording Academy on Thursday.
Setting the mood with a simple monochrome scene carried by heartfelt vocals, Mai’s “Boo’d Up” transforms from its emotional start to an electrifying ending as view counts increases.
“I’m super excited [to be a part of this project], especially to be the first and, secondly, to see it,” she told PEOPLE on the set of the video. “I’m super excited to be involved in it, creating it and seeing the process, but also seeing the finished product because I’m super intrigued.”
While leading a life as a Hollywood star is a special occasion in and of itself, Mai is ditching the usual suspect – her classic pantsuit – for something a little more formal because, well, “it’s the Grammys.”
“I really don’t have much inspiration for it — I just know I haven’t been seen in a dress because I’m always in suits on red carpets, so I’ll bring out a dress,” she hints about her look for the night. “I don’t know the last time I wore a dress! But it’s the Grammys.”
Growing up with the gift of sound, Mai felt it was only suitable to bring her right-hand woman and biggest supporter along for the ride, as getting to both attend and be nominated is “something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl.”
“I’m bringing my mom with me,” Mai tells PEOPLE. “She’s super excited and she’s stressing about what to wear too, so we’ve been doing it together.”
Speaking of nerves and excitement, those exact feelings that rushed through Mai’s bloodstream when buzz turned into reality in the midst of preparing to take the stage for a special performance on Good Morning, America on Dec. 7 — the same morning as the Grammy nominees announcement.
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.
“They announced [the nominees] as I was getting ready in my position to go on stage,” she recalls about the moment she learned she had been nominated. “Michael Strahan starts introducing me and says, ‘She’s had a great year and her year is about to get even better because she got nominated for not one, but two Grammys…’ I’m standing on stage like, ‘What?!'”
“I didn’t even have time to digest it because I was on stage. Two seconds later it was my introduction and then I started singing,” she adds. “I was so out of it because I was just thinking about these Grammy nominations. I called either my brother or my mom first [once I got off stage], but they knew already because they had been online and seen it.”
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Although the star-studded night is sure to be a pool full of famous faces, the “Trip” singer admits she has only “been starstruck once.”
“It was at the Roc Nation Christmas brunch because Beyoncé walked into the room,” she says. “It was so weird because the whole atmosphere in the room just changed.”
“There were huge names in the room already, but the moment Beyoncé walked in everyone didn’t care who else was in the room,” she continues, adding that she grew up a fan of Destiny’s Child. “It was like Jesus walked in! She walked past and I literally just stood there — and I didn’t even have a conversation with her!”
The 61st Grammy Awards will take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.