ANDRA DAY - February 15, 2016
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
LISTEN to my chat with ANDRA DAY for
All Access Music
I had the honor of interviewing ANDRA DAY back in 2015 for All Access Music. Andra & I chatted between touring, opening for Lenny Kravitz & fresh from her performance at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas.
Retro-soul singer, songwriter & actress, ANDRA DAY is from San Diego, California, where she performed in church & enrolled at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. After she graduated from the school, she leaned toward contemporary R&B & pop, but was eventually drawn back to the classic jazz & soul vocalists she heard as a youngster.
A major break came when a performance of hers was caught by Kai Millard Morris, who subsequently took some of Day’s music to husband Stevie Wonder, who in turn connected Day with music industry veteran Adrian Gurvitz. Aligned with Gurvitz and Jeffrey Evans’ Buskin label, Day built up a YouTube following & eventually signed with Warner Bros.
After a few singles, as well as a version of “Mississippi Goddamn” contributed to Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone, Day released her debut album, Cheers To The Fall (2015), for which she collaborated extensively with the likes of Gurvitz & Raphael Saadiq, among others. “Only Love” alone featured bass from Pino Palladino, drums from Questlove, scratching from DJ Jazzy Jeff, & additional support from the Dap-Kings horn section.
In October 2015, Andra sang "Rise Up" at The White House & again performed the song for A&E's live special, Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America. Day performed on the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to rousing applause. She followed immediately after a moving address by Mothers of the Movement, a group of black mothers who had lost a child through encounters with police & gun violence.
In December 2016, Andra Day received the Powerhouse Award at the Billboard Women in Music event. When asked what makes a 'powerhouse' powerful to others, Day responded,
"I think you just remind them of their value, you remind them of their purpose. You remind them that you are not here just to exist, you're here to impact people in their lives...I think it just reinforces that."
In 2017, Day appeared on the song "Stand Up for Something" with rapper Common for the film, Marshall which features the late, great, actor, Chadwick Boseman. The single was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song; Day & Common performed the song at the 90th Academy Awards in March 2018.
Day performed with the Baltimore Children's Choir for the opening musical performance at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2018.
In her first major film role, Day stars as the iconic singer Billie Holiday in the biographical drama The United States vs. Billie Holiday on HULU. For the 2020 film The United States vs. Billie Holiday, at the Golden Globes, she received a nomination for Best Original Song for "Tigress and Tweed" & won Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama for her title performance as Billie Holiday. She also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the role.
Nicole DeRosa for All Access Music, February 15, 2016 https://music.allaccess.com/listen-to-a-qa-with-retro-soul-singer-and-songwriter-andra-day-life-is-beautiful-festival-edition/