As a singer, songwriter, and actress, Andra Day is the whole package. She rose to stardom in 2015 with the release of her debut album, Cheers to the Fall, which peaked at No. 48 on the Billboard 200 and earned Day her first two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. There's no doubt you've heard of her record's smash hit "Rise Up." The inspirational single has been used in countless TV shows, commercials, and movie trailers, so it's instantly recognizable. Day is definitely a star to watch, especially now that she's moving into acting territory. If you're interested in getting to know her better, these facts about Andra Day will teach you the basics.
1. Andra Day got her start with the help of Stevie Wonder.
According to Essence, Stevie Wonder helped launch Day's career. When she was just starting out in the music industry, Day's manager met with fashion designer Kai Millard Morris, who was married to Wonder at the time. Apparently, Morris showed Wonder one of Day's performances, and he loved her so much he connected her to a producer and even collaborated with her for their Christmas song, "Someday At Christmas," which you can watch below.
2. Andra Day's stage name pays homage to Billie Holiday.
Day, who's real name is Cassandra Monique Batie, was inspired to become a singer because of Billie Holiday. "All I knew was that whatever I was listening to was extremely powerful and I could hear the sacrifice. I was like, ‘Wow, she’s giving up something.’ It wasn’t until I was about 18 when I started to dive into who she is," Day told Deadline on Feb. 25 about listening to Holiday's music for the first time.
In fact, Holiday left such a big impression on Day she paid tribute to her with her stage name. Day comes from Holiday's nickname, Lady Day.
3. Andra Day made her acting debut in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
Day portrayed Holiday in the February 2021 Hulu biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday, marking her first major acting role. Since she's such a huge fan, the part was perfect for her. "I was excited as a fan of Billie Holiday’s to be able to vindicate her legacy," Day told USA Today in a Feb. 25 interview.
Catch a peek at Day's acting chops in the film's trailer below.
4. Andra Day isn't afraid to get political.
In 2016, Day performed "Rise Up" at the White House in front of the Obamas, as well as at a rally for then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. When President Joe Biden got inaugurated in January 2021, Day was also there to give an inspiring performance at his virtual inaugural parade.
5. Andra Day made history with her 2021 Golden Globes win.
On Feb. 28, Day made history by becoming only the second Black woman ever to win Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes. The first to win in the category was Whoopi Goldberg in 1985 for her performance in The Color Purple.
Day was overwhelmed with emotions when she heard she won. Unsurprisingly, she dedicated the achievement to her idol. "[Thank you] to the amazing, transformative, dynamic Billie Holiday, who just transformed me with this role and with her presence and spirit," Day said in tears during her acceptance speech. "Thank you so much to everybody who was part of this incredible project."
Watch Day make history with her Golden Globes win below.
Day's achievements so far have been incredible, and the best part is, this is still just the beginning!