Cassandra Monique Batie was born December 30, 1984 and is known by her stage name Andra Day.
Her stage name was inspired by Billie Holiday, whose nickname was “Lady Day”.
She is an American singer, songwriter, and actress from San Diego, California.
She was born in Edmonds, Washington. She moved to Southern California at age three, and grew up in and around San Diego, California, with her family. 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.
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.
Her debut album, Cheers to the Fall, was released in 2015.
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.
Her first national tour took place in August and September 2015 when she opened up for Lenny Kravitz. In October 2015, she sang “Rise Up” at The White House and again performed the song for A&E’s live special, Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.
In May 2016, Day entered into an agreement with McDonald’s and Coca-Cola that saw her image on around 50 million cups at McDonald’s. The partnership was part of the “Share a Cup” lyrics program and featured lyrics from Day’s “Rise Up”. Purchasers of the cups at McDonald’s could enter a sweepstakes that would have allowed them to see Day perform at the Essence Music Festival in June 2016.
Day performed on the second day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to rousing applause. She followed immediately after a moving address by Mothers of the Movement, a group of black mothers who had lost a child through encounters with police and gun violence.
Day performed with the Baltimore Children’s Choir for the opening musical performance at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on March 2018.
In her first major film role, Day starred as the iconic singer Billie Holiday in the biographical drama The United States vs. Billie Holiday, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress In A Drama.