Soul, R&B, jazz, and blues singer Andra Day began singing at Chula Vista's First United Methodist Church and studied music at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. In October 2012, she released a cover of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” that peaked at #2 on the YouTube Music Charts that resulted in her signing to Warner Bros. Records.
Her debut album Cheers to the Fall, released in August 2015, was produced by Adrian Gurvitz (who previously collaborated on album projects with Cream drummer Ginger Baker and Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge) and Raphael Saadiq, and featured Questlove, James Poyser of the Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the Dap-Kings. She next appeared with Stevie Wonder in an Apple commercial that aired over Thanksgiving 2015.
Cheers to the Fall earned a Best R&B Album nomination at the 2016 Grammy Awards, where she was also up for Best R&B Performance for the song “Rise Up.” Spike Lee directed the video for the first single from the album, “Forever Mine.”
Day's "The Light That Never Fails," recorded for the award-winning documentary Meru, was nominated for Best Song/Recording Created for a Film at the 2016 Guild of Music Supervisor Awards. She received the Powerhouse Award at Billboard's Women in Music ceremony on December 9, 2016, where she performed her hit single "Rise Up."
Her 2017 single "Stand Up For Something" (featuring Common), from the Marshall film soundtrack, was nominated for an Academy Award. The two stars performed the song during the 90th annual Academy Awards gala in March 2017.
At the end of 2017, Day was chosen to announce the Grammy Award nominees on CBS This Morning. In April 2018, she performed at the 33rd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and then in August at the Newport Jazz Festival.
In 2018, her song “Amen” (released via Warner Bros. Records) was heard in an ad campaign for Genesis G80.
As a followup to her 2020 Covid-19 benefit single "Make Your Troubles Go Away," Day released a cover of Billie Holiday’s “All of Me,” in advance of her starring role in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a 2021 Hulu biopic about the late singer. Another single from the film followed, “Tigress & Tweed,” an original song co-written with Raphael Saadiq.
Day's acting debut concerns the FBI's attempt to imprison Holiday on drug charges, mainly in retaliation for singing politicized songs like “Strange Fruit” and her efforts to integrate her audiences. The film, directed by Lee Daniels and written by Suzan-Lori Parks, co-stars Moonlight's Trevante Rhodes.
Day was honored February 2, 2021, at the Critics Choice Association’s third annual Celebration of Black Cinema, and she appeared on the cover of Time magazine, which cited the film on its list of Most Anticipated Movies of 2021. She was also mentioned in Variety magazine’s 2021 Oscars predictions as a solid bet for Best Actress.
Her April 2021 single “Phone Dies” was produced by Anderson .Paak, with a documentary-style music video filmed for the track.
On January 4, 2022, Day took part in Eggs Over Easy, a Discovery+ streaming special that "investigates the often taboo subject of infertility in the black community and brings black women together for an enlightening and empowering dialogue about the sometimes unpredictable path to motherhood." Keshia Knight Pulliam narrates the program, which also features black women, doctors, and fertility advocates who share their personal experiences including miscarriage, IVF, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and other reproductive issues.
(Photo: Takashi Seida, provided by Warner Records)