It’s been quite a year for San Diego native Andra Day. From a breakout performance at the Grammys (where she was also a double nominee) to another at the White House, the singer is still racking up accolades centered on her 2015 debut album, “Cheers To The Fall.”
She’s been seen in commercials with Stevie Wonder, performed on “Good Morning America,” and will appear on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine’s June issue.
Day now adds the M. Night Shyamalan-directed video for her song “Rise Up” to the list.
Andra Day - Rise Up [Official Music Video]
Not only was their collaboration successful, McDonald’s will be putting the lyrics to the song onto 40 million Coca-Cola cups that also include a Shazam-powered portal to the short film, “I Rise,” starring the singer.
Discover SD was lucky enough to chat with the rising superstar by phone from New York on the day the video was released.
Q: How did you hook up with M. Night Shyamalan?
A: It was the craziest thing. We were thinking about the video and the story, and who was going to tell it. There were a lot of directors lining up, but something wasn’t right. The treatments weren’t right, and it just wasn’t connecting. So it became another situation where I prayed about it, asking “Who is supposed to tell this story?” And the next day, I started getting text messages from everyone saying that M. Night Shyamalan had tweeted that he wanted to produce the video for “Rise Up.” I was like, what? It was SO crazy. I wish I could remember it verbatim, but he said that he wanted to make the video and (closed with) #NightandDay. I loved it. So I sent him a direct message and left him my information. I told him that I’d be honored to have him on board. I got a call the next day.
Q: What did he say?
A: He said that his daughter Saleka, a great artist in her own right, had showed him my music and that he loved the song. He had to start shooting a movie, but the schedules ended up working out perfectly. We shot it in two days. It was a simple story that I knew I wanted to tell. It was one simple story of perseverance, but it speaks to the macro. It’s everybody’s story of perseverance, no matter what that is. And he tells it perfectly.
Q: Were you a fan of M. Night’s before this collaboration?
A: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. I love all of his movies. He’s such an incredible director. And not just with this music video. He’s so inspirational and passionate about what he does. If he wants to do something, he’s going to fund it and make it happen. I love, love, love his work.
Q: Well, with this video, along with all of the other million things from the White House to Stevie, I’d say this has been an absolute bonkers ride for you so far, no?
A: (laughs) That’s how I feel sometimes. People will ask me how I’m doing with all of this, and I tell them that I’m enjoying it but I don’t know if I’m actually dealing with it. I’m excited. But it’s a lot to process - in a good way. It feels like a ride. And I’m just holding on. It’s been amazing.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.