Andra Day

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Andra Day
Day in 2016
Day in 2016
Background information
Birth nameCassandra Monique Batie
Born (1984-12-30) December 30, 1984 (age 37)
Edmonds, Washington, U.S.
OriginSan Diego, California, U.S.[1]
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active2012–present
Labels
Websiteandraday.com

Cassandra Monique Batie[2] (born December 30, 1984), known professionally as Andra Day, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is the recipient of various accolades, including a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award, in addition to nominations for an Academy Award and a Daytime Emmy Award.

In 2015, she released her debut album, Cheers to the Fall.[3] At the 2016 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Best R&B Album and the single, "Rise Up", was nominated for Best R&B Performance.[4] To promote "Rise Up", she performed the song on The View, earning a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for the performance.[5] Day also appeared alongside Stevie Wonder, who is partially credited for her discovery, in an ad for Apple TV in late 2015.[6][7] In 2020, Day became one of the most-requested artists among Jazz Joy and Roy Global Radio listeners.

In 2021, Day made her acting debut with her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lee Daniel's biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Day received the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the film's accompanying soundtrack.

Early life and education[edit]

Day was born on December 30, 1984, in Edmonds, Washington.[7][8] She moved to Southern California at age three, and grew up in Southeast San Diego, California, with her family.[6][1] She began singing at a young age at the First United Methodist Church in Chula Vista, California. Day also began taking dance lessons at age 5 (a discipline she continued into her 20s). She attended Valencia Park Elementary School which she credits with fostering her interest in performing arts. At age 12, Day was introduced to the sounds of jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington, all of whom she counts as early influences on her sound. Day attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in Paradise Hills, where she graduated in 2003.[6] On July 11, 2019, Day was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.[9]

Career[edit]

After high school, Day worked about 20 different jobs, including one as a children's entertainer.[3] In 2010, Stevie Wonder's then-wife, Kai Millard, noticed Day performing at a strip mall and brought her to the attention of her husband.[10] Day received a call from Wonder himself soon after. No immediate partnership was formed, but the two reconnected around a year later. Wonder introduced Day to producer Adrian Gurvitz at that time. Gurvitz would eventually collaborate on Day's debut album a few years later.[3][4]

Day was signed in 2011 to a development deal with Buskin Records founded by Jeffrey Evans, who Day asked to be her manager in 2013. Later Day & Buskin earned a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in part because of the popularity of her numerous unplugged covers and mashups on her YouTube channel, most of which were filmed in her sister's bedroom in San Diego.[6][3][4] Her covers include Jessie J's "Mamma Knows Best",[11] Eminem's "Lose Yourself",[12] and Muse's "Uprising" among others.[13] She was also known for mashups including one that patched together The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa" with Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and another that combined Amy Winehouse's "He Can Only Hold Her" and Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)".[10]

During that time, Day was also working with Gurvitz on around 40 original songs. Other producers and contributors to what would eventually become her debut studio album included Raphael Saadiq, Questlove, James Poyser, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and The Dap-Kings. Day performed at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and caught the eye of director, Spike Lee. He volunteered to direct the video for her single, "Forever Mine".[4] Day has also performed at the 2015 BET Awards,[12] the closing ceremonies of the 2015 Special Olympics,[14] the Essence Music Festival,[15] and on television shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[16] Good Morning America, and numerous others.[17] She also performed Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam" for the soundtrack for the Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?.[18]

Andra Day performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, March 2016

Her first studio album, Cheers to the Fall, was released on August 28, 2015.[6] It was met with critical acclaim with NPR's Katie Presley saying Day's voice has "Eartha Kitt's unflappable confidence, Amy Winehouse's effortless grasp of classic jazz, Billie Holiday's access to raw emotion and Adele's range and pop sensibility".[19] The album was nominated for Best R&B Album and "Rise Up" was nominated for Best R&B Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards in 2016 (an event at which she also performed).[6] The album also peaked at number 48 on the Billboard 200 list.[20] In September 2015, "Rise Up" was used in an advertisement for Beats by Dre that featured tennis player Serena Williams.[13] In November and December 2015, Day appeared alongside Stevie Wonder in an Apple TV commercial in which the two sang Wonder's song "Someday at Christmas".[7]

Her first national tour took place in August and September 2015 when she opened for Lenny Kravitz. In October 2015, she sang "Rise Up" at The White House and again performed the song for A&E's live special, Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.[6]

In May 2016, Day entered into an agreement with McDonald's and Coca-Cola that saw her image on around 50 million cups at McDonald's. The partnership was part of the "Share a Cup" lyrics program and featured lyrics from Day's "Rise Up". Purchasers of the cups at McDonald's could enter a sweepstakes that would have allowed them to see Day perform at the Essence Music Festival in June 2016.[21] Her Cheers to the Fall Tour began in November 2016 in her hometown of San Diego.[22]

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 and 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."[23]

In 2017, Day appeared on the song "Stand Up for Something" with rapper Common for the film Marshall. The single was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song; Day and Common performed the song at the 90th Academy Awards in March 2018.[24]

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.[25][26] In her first major film role, Day starred as the iconic singer Billie Holiday in the biographical drama The United States vs. Billie Holiday,[27] for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Drama.

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2017 Marshall Nightclub singer
2017 Cars 3 Sweet Tea Voice
2021 The United States vs. Billie Holiday Billie Holiday Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress

Television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2022 RuPaul's Drag Race[28] Herself Special guest judge

Awards and nominations[edit]

Day has received three Grammy Award nominations for her R&B Album, Cheers to the Fall and her performance for "Rise Up" in 2016, and for Best Song Written for Visual Media for "Stand Up for Something" from Marshall. In 2018 she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her live performance of "Rise Up" on The View. 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," and 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cuttler, Andrea (February 8, 2021). "Andra Day Is Ready for a Different Kind of Spotlight". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  2. ^ Reese, Alexis (February 26, 2021). "Andra Day: 5 Things To Know About The Leading Lady From 'The United States Vs. Billie Holiday'". BET. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Phull, Hardeep (December 18, 2015). "This singer was shocked by Stevie Wonder's blind jokes". New York Post. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d McCarty, Sarah A. (December 2015). "Andra Day: The Best of What's Next". Paste. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  5. ^ "Andra Day". IMDb. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Varga, George (February 25, 2016). "Andra Day rises up to music stardom". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Johnson, Laura (December 21, 2015). "Spokane-born singer gets Christmassy with Stevie Wonder". The Inlander. Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  8. ^ "Mistakes Work ID No. 888648708 ISWC No. T9166826068". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2015. Work ID No. 888648708 ISWC T9166826068
  9. ^ "Delta Sigma Theta Inducts Grammy Nominated Singer/Songwriter Andra Day as an Honorary Member". Watchtheyard.com. July 13, 2019. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (March 14, 2016). "Andra Day: Rising star opens up about newfound fame". Newsday. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Goodman, William (October 17, 2012). "Listen to a stunning cover of "Mamma Knows Best"". CBS News. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "10 New Artists You Need to Know: July 2015 - Andra Day". Rolling Stone. July 13, 2015. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Horwitz, Josh (September 7, 2015). "Andra Day, the voice behind the Serena Williams Beats ad, is the latest born-on-YouTube star". Quartz. Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  14. ^ Kunthara, Sophia (August 3, 2015). "Special Olympics World Games Come to a Close". KNBC. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  15. ^ "San Diego native Andra Day to appear on 40 million Coke cups at McDonald's". San Diego Voice & Viewpoint. April 29, 2016. Archived from the original on May 27, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (October 2, 2015). "Andra Day Belts 'Rise Up' and 'Gold' on 'Kimmel'". Spin. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Robin Roberts (host), Andra Day (performer) (August 27, 2015). Andra Day Performs Live on 'GMA'. Good Morning America. Archived from the original on July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  18. ^ Dederko, Michelle (March 2, 2016). "Andra Day roars in pajamas at homecoming show". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  19. ^ Presley, Katie (August 11, 2015). "First Watch: Andra Day, 'Gold'". NPR. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  20. ^ "Andra Day Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  21. ^ Landrum, Jonathan Jr. (April 25, 2016). "Andra Day to appear on 50 million Coke cups at McDonald's". MSN. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  22. ^ Varga, George (June 21, 2016). "Andra Day sets new tour, will begin in San Diego". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on June 22, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  23. ^ Platon, Adelle (December 9, 2016). "Andra Day Receives Powerhouse Award & Delivers Soul-Stirring 'Rise Up' Performance at Billboard Women in Music 2016". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 11, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Halperin, Shirley (March 4, 2018). "Here Are the 10 Activists Who Shared the Oscars Stage With Common and Andra Day". Variety. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  25. ^ "Andra Day and Baltimore Children's Choir open up for March for Our Lives Rally" Archived December 15, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. YouTube, (March 24, 2018).
  26. ^ Cspan.org. "March for Our Lives Rally" Archived August 1, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. (March 24, 2018).
  27. ^ Shepard, Ryan (July 3, 2020). "Paramount Pictures Acquires The Rights To Lee Daniels' 'The United States Vs. Billie Holiday' Starring Andra Day". Def Pen. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  28. ^ Nolfi, Joey (December 9, 2021). "Jennifer Lopez finally joins RuPaul's Drag Race as season 14 trailer teases major twist". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 9, 2021.

External links[edit]