Singer/songwriter Andra Day, perhaps best known for her debut single, 2015’s triple-platinum, Grammy-nominated Top 20 R&B hit “Rise Up,” is now a Golden Globe-nominated actor, earning raves for her portrayal of the title character in Lee Daniels’ much-anticipated The United States vs. Billie Holiday, due 2/26 on Hulu.

“Day’s own voice, not unlike Holiday’s, has a distinct swagger to it,” noted the Los Angeles Times. “Poised and confident, it carries with it an air that feels at once familiar and singular—the old soul of a matriarch, the casual cool of a homegirl. When she opens her mouth to sing, her voice spills out, regal and engrossing, capable of filling entire rooms with soul.”

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, the film was the opportunity of a lifetime for Day, born Cassandra Monique Batie, whose stage name is a reference to Holiday’s sobriquet “Lady Day.”

Holiday was targeted by the F.B.I. in an effort to curb her activism, which included performing for integrated audiences in the era of Jim Crow. Among her signatures was “Strange Fruit,” a searing protest of lynchings in the South. Recorded by Holiday in 1939, it starts, “Southern trees bear a strange fruit/ Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.” Day performs the song, as well as her original “Tigress & Tweed,” co-written with Raphael Saadiq, on The United States vs. Billie Holiday: Music From the Motion Picture (Warner Records). It bears the lyrics, “Strange fruit come down off the tree/ Cut it down under your feet.”

In fact, Day also has a history of activism. Among many other contributions, she partnered with the nonprofit GiveDirectly last year, releasing the song “Make Your Troubles Go Away,” proceeds from which benefited low-income families affected by Covid-19.

Born in Edmonds, Washington, Day moved with her family to San Diego when she was three. She sang in church and took dance lessons, later attending the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Much dues-paying—and a co-sign from Stevie Wonder—helped bring her to the attention of Warner, which signed her and in 2015 released her debut album, Cheers to the Fall. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. “Rise Up,” co-written with Jennifer Decilveo, made Day a contender for Best R&B Performance. It also made her a star. This success, coupled with her timeless sound and classic, retro look, suggested an artist who was here to stay.

Suddenly on fire, Day performed at the Grammy Awards, the Essence Music Festival, the BET Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, the Democratic National Convention and the Special Olympics. She is one of the very few artists to have performed at both The White House for President Barack Obama and the inauguration festivities for President Joe Biden.

Day headlined her first tour in 2016. Also that year, she partnered with McDonalds on its “Share a Cup” campaign, which saw the lyrics to “Rise Up” printed on several million cups worldwide.

She subsequently made news with her recording of “Stand Up for Something” for Reginald Hudlin’s 2017 biographical legal drama Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall.

Given this recognition and her recent Golden Globes nods, the nexus of movies and music seems to be a sweet spot for Day.

Warner Records will release the soundtrack to The United States vs. Billie Holiday on 2/19. On hearing of Day’s Golden Globe nominations—for Best Actress in a Motion Picture and Best Original Song—Warner Co-Chairman and COO Tom Corson offered congratulations and said: “Andra is a prolific songwriter and phenomenal singer with a gorgeous voice all her own. Now she takes that stardom from the stage to the screen as Billie Holiday and stuns us with her spellbinding performance. She's also just finished an incredible new album we can't wait for the world to hear. All of us at Warner Records are blessed to work with the incomparable Andra Day."