Andra Day Bared Her R&B Soul at Granada Theater on Friday

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Andra Day
With Desi Valentine
Granada Theater, Dallas
Friday, March 4, 2016

Andra Day is on a major roll. The San Diego singer had a stellar performance last month at the Grammys with Ellie Goulding, where she was nominated for Best R&B Performance for her single "Rise Up" and Best R&B Album for Cheers to the Fall — her first-ever album. On Friday, that momentum brought Day to Granada Theater for her debut appearance in Dallas, where she left her entire soul on the stage and proved why she's having such a breakout year.

When the crowd saw Day’s black boots hit the stage, they couldn’t contain themselves from screaming her name. When the curtain rose, she was sitting on a pair of vintage suitcases wearing a black silky pajama set with a fur cheetah scarf. Once she belted out the first line of her hit “Forever Mine,” everyone went wild and sang along. When she'd finished that opening number, Day stood up, took off the jacket and let loose.
Day channels the late Amy Winehouse with her powerful, soulful voice, which is the key to her tremendous surge in popularity in recent months. During her set, she not only performed the vast majority of songs off her album, including crowd favorites like "Gin & Juice (Let Go My Hand)" and "Honey Or Fire," she also gave fans a special treat with a few nods to her inspirations. There was a pair of Michael Jackson covers, “Rock With You” and “Thriller,” a Queen tribute and she even sang something sweet for the late Nina Simone.

After the Simone tribute, Day got a bit intimate by removing her make-up with some cleansing cloth wipes. "Make up used to be really bad for me," she admitted, "but I've come a long way," before launching into a cover of Kendrick Lamar's "No Make Up." This wasn’t the only thing she shared, because she gave a lucky fan a ring that she was wearing.  Of course, Day couldn’t leave the stage without singing “Rise Up,” which she dutifully saved for late in the set. There was a moment where she stopped singing and just listened to the room full of her fans singing the lyrics back to her. She paused, looked out at everyone in the theater and, clearly affected by what she was seeing, said, “Y’all are a beautiful crowd!"

After "Rise Up," Day left the stage and, for a full minute, the crowd started chanted: “Andra! Andra! Andra!” Finally she came back out and gave an encore performance of Queen's "I Want It All" that ended with her laid out on the floor.  

Opening for Day was UK artist Desi Valentine, who was the perfect warmup for the headliner. Wearing a black tailored suit with a slick hairstyle and black framed glasses, he sang a few original songs that left the audience in shock. If Day wasn't already anxious about the performance, Valentine's performance should certainly have been enough to leave her on edge; it was just that impressive.

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