Andra Day has had quite the success story. The singer has gone from singing outside a strip mall to winning a Golden Globe, and she owes some thanks to Stevie Wonder.
After a successful jump into the world of R&B, the artist managed to convince Lee Daniels into letting her star in his feature film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Speaking to Deadline, Day recounted how Daniels didn’t want to work with her. He’s like, ‘I don’t want to work with her, she’s not an actress,'” said Day. “And I had a horrible idea that I would be a stain on her legacy. So, I was trying to convince him, like, ‘I’m so glad to meet you, but make sure you just get the right person and do what you need to do.'” But the two were wrong about their initial assumptions, as Day’s performance as Holiday led the actor to a Golden Globe win, as well as an Oscar nomination.
Day’s fans will remember when the R&B singer took over radio waves with her single “Rise Up” in 2015. The song came off of the singer’s debut studio album “Cheers to the Fall.” Both the album and single were nominated for Grammys in 2016, giving Day her first two Grammy nominations of her career. The artist even performed “Rise Up” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony in January 2021. But none of Day’s rapid success would’ve been possible without legendary singer Stevie Wonder. Keep reading to find out about the two singers’ surprising relationship.
Andra Day "was so nervous" to speak to Stevie Wonder
It’s rare for street performers to be discovered, and even more rare for an artist to be discovered by a 25-Grammy-winning, legendary singer like Stevie Wonder. Yet, Andra Day did just that.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Day revealed it was technically Stevie Wonder’s then-wife, Kai Millard Morris, who saw a video of her singing in front of a California strip mall. Morris showed her husband the video, and the “Overjoyed” artist gave Day the phone call of a lifetime. “I was so nervous,” remembered Day. “I kept saying to myself that he’s just a regular person. But in the same breath, I was saying, ‘He’s a legend.'” Wonder ended up introducing Day to producer Adrian Gurvitz, which led to her record deal with his label.
In an April 2021 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Day confessed that the interaction with Wonder was so out-of-this-world, she still finds it hard to believe. “I will never forget that moment because it felt like a meteor hit my…not even my house, like my whole world,” she said to Kimmel. The host then joked that Wonder “called to say I love you, I guess.” No biggie.
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