Between starting debates of who had more hits: Jodeci or Tony, Toni, Tone; VH1 Soul is the last of a dying breed of music channels to showcases new talent. On a particular day this Summer, I was treated to a video by a singer I had never seen or heard of before. Andra Day’s music video for “Forever Mine” didn’t feature her in a sexually suggestive manner or in any expensive or exotic location. The entire video takes place in a bar and our star is hanging out in a glass box behind the bartender catching up on her homework. I’m not making this up! There’s even a scene of her sleeping in this box. She had a traditional look from the past, but sounded like she could be contemporaries with anyone playing on “Old School” and “Today’s R&B” stations, but she somehow attracts me to her music.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Andra Day had the aspirations to make her hobby of singing in the choir and school to be her profession. Ms Day’s music gained Kai Millard Morris as a fan. Stevie Wonder’s wife became a fan of her music after a performance; this led to a meeting with the legend himself who put her career in the hands of music veteran, Adrian Gurvitz. Gurvitz signed her to a deal with his and partner, Jeffrey Evans’ Buskin Records label. Her covers of Biggie/Marvin Gaye, Florence and the Machine, Amy Winehouse/Lauryn Hill, Jessie J, Muse, and Eminem began her early fan base and earned her a deal with Warner Bros. Records.
Her Nina Simone tribute performance at Sundance Film Festival this year had Spike Lee in attendance. He became another one of her fans and directed her debut video, “Forever Mine”. That same performance lead to her final cover, “Mississippi Damned” from NINA REVISITED… A Tribute To Nina Simone. (What Happened, Miss Simone? Is on my Netflix Watch List) Her BET Awards performance of “Rise Up” (Now known as the song from the Serena Williams Beats By Dre commercial) brought her onto the radar of many as she was the alternate performer for doubters that believe the channel no longer knows good music. They do one at least once per every hour of an overlong awards show. Over the course of two years of great promotion that is continuing with opening for Lenny Kravitz on tour and performing at the Apple Music Festival with Ellie Goulding, we finally get her debut album.
Cheers To The Fall is in stores now, available on iTunes and Google Play. Cheers To The Fall is produced by Adrian Gurvitz and Raphael Saadiq, and features Questlove and James Poyser of The Roots, as well as DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Dap-Kings of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. “Only Love,” which could definitely play in a James Bond film, “Gold,” “Mistakes,” “Rearview,” (If I don’t hear “Rearview” on the season finale of any VH1 reality show, the music supervisor should be fired.) “Red Flags,” “City Burns,” “Honey or Fire,” and of course the title track, “Cheers To The Fall” are my favorites from the 13 track offering.