Andra Day is an American songwriter and actress from San Diego and the perfect singer you should be listening to during this pandemic.
Day was born on December 30, 1984 in Edmonds, Washington. She moved to Southern California at age three, and grew up in and around San Diego, California, with her family.
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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. On July 11, 2019, Day was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
After high school, Day worked about 20 different jobs including one as a children’s entertainer. 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. 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.
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. Her covers include Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best”, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, and Muse’s “Uprising” among others. 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)”.At the 2016 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Best R&B Album and the album’s main single, “Rise Up”, was nominated for Best R&B Performance. Day also appeared alongside Stevie Wonder, who is partially credited for her discovery, in an ad for Apple TV in late 2015. Her Cheers to the Fall Tour began in November 2016.
Photo Credit: Getty