Andra Day discusses living authentically and facing her fears head-on

Cari Champion interviews singer Andra Day (34:17)

Day shares the inspiration behind her instant hit song, "Rise Up," sticking to what she wanted to do and growing up in Southeast San Diego at the espnW: Women + Sports Summit. (34:17)

Step into yourself. Live authentically. Face your fears head-on.

These are a few buzzy phrases that seem to trickle into our vernacular when we discuss women living their lives for themselves. It's almost a novelty to see women outwardly claim their personal agendas.

Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day talked to espnW's "Be Honest" host, Cari Champion, about the inspiration behind Day's hit song "Rise Up" and owning her voice and dreams at the 2018 espnW: Women + Sports Summit. Here are a few highlights from their intimate conversation:

Walking in her purpose

As long as I'm walking in my purpose and living at my [full] potential in whatever that looks like, I'm fine. As long as I'm doing it with purpose and I'm serving God, I'm good. There was a moment of surrender when I realized, "Oh, that's the reason why I'm doing this."

Emotional wealth

I grew up in Southeast San Diego, and there was a lot of gang violence. There was a lot of sex trafficking. It's so profound when you watch a young person begin to realize that they have the potential to do something other than what their neighborhood, or what the environment, tells them they have to do to survive. Once they get out of the need to survive, and they get into the place of thriving and see that they have potential, see that they have opportunities, it's incredible.

That's what brings me back to my roots -- who are the people that helped me? I want to do that.

Artistic integrity

I've always been a performer. I've done it since elementary school. I've always danced, and I was doing theater. I sang as well, too. But I don't think I found my voice until middle school, so I was like 11-12 years old discovering it. [Initially], I wanted to do pop music, I wanted to do what was on the radio.

Then I had the revelation to just be true to myself. I realized that would make me stand out. Don't try to be like other people, because then you're just gonna be like ... other people; there's nothing that will stand out or be different.

Fear is deceitful

It's one thing to have peace about the places you go. But I've never gotten comfortable since I've started this journey. I've always stepped out on a limb. I want to be more of a leader. I do the things that might scare me. Go to the places in life or in your heart that are the scariest. We have to face those things, because I think fear is deceiving, right? The other side of fear is your potential, it's your purpose.