On Friday at The Granada, Soul Singer Andra Day Proved Herself Worthy Of Her Considerable Hype.
On Friday night, dressed in black silk pajamas and heels, Andra Day addressed her sold-out Granada Theater crowd with a sincerity that anyone could adore.
“Y'all mind if I take my make-up off?” the fast-rising, Apple- and Stevie Wonder-approved soul and R&B singer asked her fans at one point before wiping her face and getting a little more comfortable. No, they didn't mind at all. If anything, they appreciated the informality of the moment. No, the “Love Yourself” mural above the Granada stage had never felt more appropriate.
From start to finish — beginning with London-based Desi Valentine's attention-grabbing opening act and moving on through Day's beautiful live take on a growing catalog of covers and originals — the audience was fully captivated at this show, singing along and ever-encouraging of the performers' efforts. Throughout the night, several audience members freely conversed from their position out in the crowd with the performers, encouraging show-offs and complimenting those on stage for their stylistic choices.
In the early hours of the night, the crowd seemed mostly anxious for Day's performance. Valentine quickly calmed any concerns, though, from the moment his curtain was drawn and he walked out on that stage. Dressed to the nines and smiling ear-to-ear, Valentine introduced himself and his band well to this crowd, his deep, soulful voice earning itself plenty of fans through the effort.
“Are you excited for Andra Day?” Valentine asked the crowd at one point only to hear one fan enthusiastically response “YES! But we can wait!”
Much of the night felt like a secret jam session, with everyone on hand lucky to be invited. It was one of those sessions where the band nailed every note, every solo take. The knowing smiles passed back and forth between them as those moments came and went was enough to charm even the coldest of hearts. It felt spiritual even if it wasn't overtly so — no surprise considering Day told VIBE last fall that she'd been “listening to a lot of gospel lately.”
“Y'all like Nina Simone?” she asked before covering “Mississippi Goddam.” Watching Day's swagger and smooth lyricism dripping with soul, folks may have been reminded of the likes of Erykah Badu, Aloe Blacc or Sam Cooke. In one moment, Day left the stage entirely to her band and an intensely quiet audience as keyboardist Charles Jones sang, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Day also had fun with major pop-culture hits like Michael Jackson's “Thriller,” 'Lil Kim's “Crush on You,” 2Pac's “California Love” and a special rendition of Grammy-winner Kendrick Lamar's “No Make-Up.”
After a full hour or so of solid execution, Day and her band left the stage only to be demanded back by a crowd about to stomp their way through the ground floor in appreciation.
It only makes sense for Day to soon be on a small national tour with one of Dallas' finest classical soul singers. That's a fine pairing, to be sure. In the hands of Day, Bridges and even Valentine, the future of soul music appears bright.