Andra Day: A primer on the singer-turned-Golden Globe-nominated actress who plays Billie Holiday

George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

Andra Day had two 2016 Grammy Award nominations and another in 2018 to her credit before being cast in the lead role in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," the provocative new film by Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels.

For those catching up with this rising star, here's a look at her artistic evolution.

Andra Day

Born: Cassandra Monique "Andra" Batie (Day is her stage name) in Edmonds, Washington.

Age: 36

SoCal migration: Day was 3 when she moved to San Diego with her family, including her sister and two brothers.


First steps: She began studying dance at age 5 and sang in the choir at First United Methodist Church in Chula Vista.

First concert: NSYNC, when she was a teenager.

Early influences: At 12, Day became a fan of the music of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington. "Hearing those voices, I was like: 'Wow! I want to do stuff like this, stuff with that impact'," she said in a February 2016 Union-Tribune interview.

School days: She attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts for six years and graduated in 2003. "I don't remember her not excelling," says SDSCPA vice principal Roxann Hatfield, who was Day's biology teacher. "She was fabulous the first time she was one of the leads in a school play. You just sat back, and thought: 'Wow!' "


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