THIS IS ANDRA DAY By Sandra Castillo
There is a photograph of Stevie Wonder featured in a promo shot for an Apple holiday commercial, which aired last December. The expression on his face is jubilant, as he is looking in the direction of the one, whose dulcet, simmering voice fills up the room. Wonder’s emotional response to what he is hearing is more than evident enough to note that he realizes, without a shadow of a doubt, the gift this woman possesses is the real thing.
It was this very performance of Stevie Wonder and Andra Day, delivering a soulful rendition of “Someday At Christmas,” the song Wonder first introduced to radio listeners in 1967, which showcased the singing sensation’s talents. By the looks of it, it’s just a matter of time before Day finds herself firmly entrenched in the pantheon of those legends who are regaled and forever remembered for their musical contributions to the world.
Day is a contemporary Jazz and R & B singer whose retro-class style harkens back to an era steeped in the aural persuasions of such luminaries as Etta James and Dinah Washington. Not only does she croon like nobody’s business, she wears her beauty as accoutrement, deftly uniting her sassy, chic sense of personal style with flair and élan.
Cassandra Monique “Andra” Batie, who now goes by Andra Day, was born in 1984, in Seattle, Washington. When she was three years old, she and her family relocated to San Diego, California. She showed a propensity for music at a very young age, further honing her talents in the church choir. Day attended the prestigious School of Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni include actress Sara Ramirez, star of “Grey’s Anatomy” and Tony Award© winner James Maslow. Being enrolled there gave her an upper advantage to sculpt her vocal prowess under the guidance of various teachers and mentors, who recognized their student had a musical gift.
When Day graduated from high school, she pursued contemporary R & B and Pop but then changed musical gears to eventually embrace a more suitable approach for her style of vocals. She began performing classic Jazz standards first made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, adding her own interpretative musings. As she developed the confidence she needed to showcase her singing, she did what so many of her peers do to get their talents out to a wider audience. Day posted videos of herself singing on YouTube.
The person who caught one of Day’s clips on the channel was Kai Millard Morris, the former wife of Stevie Wonder. She was so taken with the young woman’s singing that she immediately got in touch with the legendary Wonder so he could take a listen to Day. He needed no further convincing that Day had what it took to be a part of something bigger than what she could only imagine; before it was all said and done, she was connected with the right people and was signed to Warner Bros.
Day went on to record several albums, including Someday At Christmas, Winter Wonderland and the Grammy-nominated Cheers to the Fall, which features “Rise Up,” the song that earned her high watermarks for her performance of it at the 2016 Grammy Awards. She has also packed her suitcases for an extensive world tour, here in America and across Europe. To the delight of her ever-expanding fan base, Day is also touring with another stand-out artist, R & B singer-guitarist Leon Bridges, who is rapidly carving out a name for himself in music.
It’s an exciting time for music lovers everywhere as one of the most exciting talents in the business today has it her way. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Andra Day…