DUBAI, – Quotes from Andra Day, speaking ahead of the Opening Ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza. Grammy-nominated, Golden-Globe-winning actress, singer, and songwriter Andra Day performed Rise Up at Expo 2020’s Opening Ceremony.
Is this your first time in Dubai?
“I’ve always wanted to visit. I hear a lot about it. This is my first time and I’ve really loved it. I just love the people, I love the culture, I love the convergence of all these different peoples and cultures here and then the rich Arabic culture, it’s beautiful.”
We’re next to Al Wasl dome. It’s a spectacular building and home to the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen. This is obviously a huge night for Dubai, the region, the world. How do you feel to be performing here in the Opening Ceremony?
“First, just speaking about the venue is really, really beautiful. It’s something to behold when you walk in and you realize you are part of something special.”
The theme of Expo 2020 is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. What does that mean for you and what do you hope this message will mean in terms of legacy?
“I think the message … is service. I think that’s at the core of who we are. I don’t know about you but most of the time I feel most rested and most fed when I am serving … I feel that people will see from this event that if you commit yourself to that, as cliché as it sounds, be the change you want to see. It’s a cliché, but it’s very true.
Music has the power to tackle social and global issues. How has music personally inspired you in this regard?
“Well, first of all, music has turned me into the musician, the singer, helped to really craft me into the person that I am today. It has been a gift I think particularly – you know I’ll quote, not verbatim … ‘music is healing’. That’s the really beautiful part. Even if it’s not intended to be. When you hear something you like or can relate to, or certain chord structures, the vibrations get into the body. We are made up of the same material. And so I think it is healing. There was a scripture I read one time where there was a village, their water was sacred and there was a drought and they asked to bring a prophet in. And when the prophet came, the first thing he said was: ‘Bring me someone to play the lyre’ …. And it wasn’t until when he started playing that someone could touch the water and heal the water. So for me, that was very revelatory years ago that [music] is meant to heal, that’s the goal, it’s meant to being about healing and health and wellness for people.
What are the themes of this performance and what do you think people will think when they see it?
What do I hope? The first word that came to mind was resilience … because of the year, the two years really, that we’ve been through. I think this has probably been some of the hardest times for a lot of people. And this is not just the pandemic. We see things going on everywhere right now. People going through a lot of things right now and I think resilience is huge. To not give up, to not quit, because the mountain can seem so big you can’t see the horizon on the other side. I think that for this summit and for the performance I would just like reliance and hope to be the theme.