Andra Day
Warner Brothers
5 stars
Reviewed by Leita Hutchings

Billie Holiday revolutionised the art of singing, during an extraordinarily troubled and tragically short life. Listening to the album, you need to check that it isn’t Billie Holiday singing. Instead, it is Andra Day. She’s got an unnatural quality that she’s brought to the singing of Billie’s iconic songs: strangely throaty; humble. One wonders how Andra was able to not just replicate the sound, but also bring so much pathos to the recordings. Just listening to the tracks induces visuals of Billie Holiday, a gardenia tucked over an ear, junked up, snapping her fingers while she sings, doing the only thing she’s been good at; that voice that’ll retreat again to the rough hands of a dealer or brutal husband, once she’s done singing. The music is good. The performance amazing. There’s a nice piano accompanying all the favourites: All of Me; Strange Fruit; Lady Sings the Blues; Lover Man; God Bless the Child, and more. It is the soundtrack to the film The United States vs. Billie Holiday, originally released by Paramount Pictures and then Hulu, and is worth watching as well.