Rising soul singer Andra Day is making waves with her debut studio album Cheers to the Fall. A graduate of the School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego, she draws comparisons to the style of Billie Holiday, the raw emotion of Nina Simone, the confidence of Eartha Kitt, the versatility of Dinah Washington, the classic jazz intuition of Amy Winehouse and the range and pop sensibility of Adele. Not bad company.
What’s more, she’s found a fan in Stevie Wonder.
Riding high off the success of her debut album, which dropped in August via Warner Bros., Andra stopped by SiriusXM’s Heart & Soul (Ch. 48) to chat with Mike Shannon on The Morning Get Up, where — in addition to performances of Forever Mine, Rise Up, and Gold — she told the story of meeting the legendary musician.
“It was Kai [Millard Morris], his wife at the time — she heard a clip of me singing just in front of a strip mall. She played it for him, and he liked it. So, they reached out, and we just talked about music and talked about doing a song together,” she recalled. “He actually introduced me to the producer that I did the album with and his partner. They sent a limo down to San Diego to come pick me up. It was so surreal. I was sitting at a restaurant as Stevie Wonder is plugging his headphones into my iPod, and I was like what’s happening right now — pinching myself. Then he introduced me to Adrian [Gurvitz] and we started working on the record together. They changed my life. They did.”
Speaking of the album and its title track, she said that it is “basically saying, ‘Cheers to the possibility of failure.’ It’s not letting fear seize you up.”
Elsewhere in the interview, she spoke about her upbringing in Southern California, her beginnings as a church singer, her introduction to jazz at a young age, her admiration for Lauryn Hill and Janis Joplin, her biographical writing style, and her recording process for the album, among other topics.
Cheers to the Fall is available for purchase now. Don’t forget to catch her on the road with Leon Bridges in Spring 2016.