Andra Day is a true artist. Obsessed with jazz, soul and rock, the 30-year-old Warner Brother Records signee various elements into her classically trained vocals to create a modern, yet vintage and powerful sound. Before she was signed to Warner Bros., through Buskin Records, the San Diego native made a name for herself on YouTube by creating mash-up compositions of various hit songs. Her most popular video, “Lose Yourself” (Eminem cover), garnered over 900,000 views.
Her voice and unique persona make it hard not to want to know more about the up and coming talent, so before her performance at ESSENCE Fest 2015, we gathered the top five things you should know about Andra Day to get you ready to see her in July.
1. Andra Day is a graduate of one of the nation’s most prestigious art programs, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. During her time in the high school’s vocal track, she began to perfect her powerful voice.
2. Stevie Wonder reached out to Andra after his wife introduced him to her music. Yes, Stevie Wonder is a fan of Andra Day. His wife heard one of her projects and asked him to listen. In a moment which she refers to as “surreal,” Wonder called her and asked her to work with him. Though the two never got a chance to make any music, Wonder did introduce her to the man who would give her a record deal and produce her first record– renowned singer, songwriter Adrian Gurvitz.
3. Luther Vandross’ version of “If This World Were Mine,” always brings a smile to her face. When she was growing up in San Diego, she and her dad would perform amatuer duets to the hit song at any chance they could. The nostalgia the song brings reminds her of some of the greatest moments of her life with her father, whose immense love for music inspired his daughter’s passion for it, too.
4. Her style, voice and energy are inspired by late, great singers Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Etta James. As you can see in the way she dresses, her perfectly-coiffed pompadour hair and the tone of her raspy, soulful voice, Day might have been born in the wrong time period. Whether she’s rocking a bright red bandana with a matching lip or simply rocking the mic, it’s evident that she loves all things vintage.
5. Day is a very passionate advocate for women’s rights and the fight to stop human trafficking. Following in the footsteps of a few of her favorite singers, she is very outspoken about various causes and calls herself, “A voice for the voiceless.” She works with two charity organizations called The Global Fund for Women (womens’ rights) and Unlikely Heroes (human trafficking) very closely.
Get ready to see her at ESSENCE Fest 2015. Purchase your discounted tickets for the full weekend experience today, for a limited time only.
To keep up with Andra Day, follow her on Twitter, @AndraDayMusic.