Andra Day, star of the new film The United States vs. Billie Holiday, delivered a medley of Holiday’s classic “Strange Fruit” and the soundtrack’s “Tigress & Tweed” during a virtual performance on Tuesday’s Tonight Show.
Filmed in Los Angeles, the “Strange Fruit” half of the medley was more music video than live performance: The song soundtracks Day’s walk from a chauffeured car to a smoky bar, where the seated Day sings the Golden Globes-nominated “Tigress & Tweed” — a Raphael Saddiq-produced, Holiday-inspired original from the film’s soundtrack — in one long take.
Day recently told Rolling Stone that she lost nearly 40 pounds and started drinking and smoking to step into the role of Holiday, the Grammy-nominated singer’s first starring role.
“‘Intimidating’ is not the appropriate word — ‘fear of God’ is appropriate,” Day said of the role. “It was the scariest shit I’ve ever done in my life. Every day I just woke up being like, ‘Today’s the day I’m going to suck and they’re going to fire me.’”
Although the Lee Daniels-directed The United States of Billie Holiday premieres Friday on Hulu, Day has already earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her performance.