Andra Day: A primer on the singer-turned-Golden Globe-nominated actress who performs Billie Vacation


Andra Day had two 2016 Grammy Award nominations and one other in 2018 to her credit score earlier than being forged within the lead position in “The US vs. Billie Vacation,” the provocative new movie by Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels.

Day discusses the film and Holiday’s legacy in an in-depth interview in today’s Union-Tribune. For these catching up with this rising star, right here’s a take a look at her creative evolution.

Andra Day

Born: Cassandra Monique “Andra” Batie (Day is her stage title) in Edmonds, Wash.

Age: 36

SoCal migration: Day was 3 when she moved to San Diego along with her household, together with her sister and two brothers.

First steps: She started finding out dance at age 5 and sang within the choir at First United Methodist Church in Chula Vista.

First live performance: NSYNC, when she was a youngster.

Early influences: At 12, Day grew to become a fan of the music of Billie Vacation, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington. “Listening to these voices, I used to be like: ‘Wow! I need to do stuff like this, stuff with that affect’,” she said in a February 2016 Union-Tribune interview.

Faculty days: She attended the San Diego Faculty of Inventive and Performing Arts for six years and graduated in 2003. “I don’t keep in mind her not excelling,” says SDSCPA vice principal Roxann Hatfield, who was Day’s biology instructor. “She was fabulous the primary time she was one of many leads in a faculty play. You simply sat again, and thought: ‘Wow!’ ”

Singing within the streets: “Once we would stroll dwelling from college, Andra would make up songs and sing issues by Brandy, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston,” recollects Jessica Mays, Day’s shut buddy and former classmate. “She additionally listened to older music that our grandparents have been listening to. And he or she was made for the stage. She at all times had this factor that made you need to watch her.”

Day jobs: Earlier than pursuing music full time in Los Angeles, Day had about two dozen day jobs. “I’d clear residences that folks had moved out of, and that was actually gross,” she said in an October 2016 Union-Tribune interview. “I labored at Hollywood Video, at Rubio’s, and all the best way as much as being the accounts supervisor at American Specialty Well being. And I had a Union-Tribune paper route in Level Loma once I was 19. It began at midnight and ended at 6 a.m.”

On-line: Day first gained nationwide consideration when she started posting movies on YouTube of her principally acoustic variations of songs by Eminem, Muse, Florence + The Machine, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J and The Infamous B.I.G.

First break: A YouTube video of Day singing in a strip mall caught the eye of Stevie Surprise’s then-wife, Kai Millard Morris, in 2010 and she or he had Surprise hearken to it. Impressed, Surprise phoned Day to counsel they collaborate. “I used to be dwelling with my mother in a tiny condo in Chula Vista, close to Third and H Avenue behind the 7-Eleven,” Day recalled in her February 2016 Union-Tribune interview. “It was loopy to be on the telephone with Stevie Surprise. I felt like a meteor hit our condo!”

After which: A yr and a half later, Surprise launched Day to veteran producer Adrian Gurvitz, who helmed her acclaimed 2015 Warner Bros. debut album, “Cheers to the Fall.” Surprise performs harmonica on a music on the album. The identical yr noticed Surprise crew with Day to duet on “Sometime at Christmas” for an Apple TV industrial.

Common and Andra Day

Widespread and Andra Day carry out “Stand Up for One thing,” a music from the movie “Marshall,” in the course of the telecast of the ninetieth Academy Awards in 2018.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Instances)

First kudos: In 2016, Day earned a Grammy Award nomination for Greatest R&B Album, whereas “Rise Up” — the inspirational standout music from her album — earned a Greatest R&B Track nomination. In 2018, she and Common shared a Grammy nomination for Greatest Track Written for Visible Media for his or her duet on “Stand Up for One thing.” It was featured within the soundtrack to “Marshall,” the biopic about Thurgood Marshall, the primary Black U.S. Supreme Courtroom justice.

Drink up: As a part of “Share a Cup,” McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s joint sweepstakes, Day’s picture and lyrics from “Rise Up” appeared on roughly 50 million McDonalds tender drink cups.

Performances of word: In 2016, Day carried out “Rise Up” in the course of the Grammy Awards telecast and on the White Home and the Democratic Nationwide Conference. In 2018, Day and Widespread carried out “Stand Up for One thing” as a part of the Academy Awards telecast. The identical yr noticed Day be a part of Lauryn Hill in Cleveland to induct the late Nina Simone into the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame. On the 2019 Grammy Awards, Day paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin by singing “(You Make Me Really feel) Like a Pure Girl” with Fantasia and Yolanda Adams.

Subsequent album: The soundtrack to “The US vs. Billie Vacation,” which options Day singing an array of Vacation classics, was launched Friday by Warner Bros. It additionally options the unique music “Tigress and Tweed,” a Vacation-flavored collaboration by Day and Raphael Saadiq. Day’s second solo album is now nearing completion.

Newest kudos: On Feb. 3, Day’s titular efficiency in “The US vs. Billie Vacation” earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Greatest Actress in a Movement Image — Drama. She and Saadiq additionally earned a Greatest Authentic Track — Movement Image nomination for “Tigress and Tweed.”

What’s subsequent: “After my subsequent solo album comes out, I need to transfer into the sphere of manufacturing, performing, co-writing and co-directing movies with different individuals who have a want to inform the reality about Black folks and inform marginalized folks’s tales,” Day instructed the Union-Tribune. “As a result of these narratives have been suppressed, or modified, and it’s vital for our survival as a tradition to know the reality.”

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