Andra Day lost nearly 40 lbs to get into character as Billie Holiday for Hulu ...

Andra Day is already earning buzz for her upcoming feature debut in The United States vs Billie Holiday.

And the two-time Grammy nominee went to great lengths to make her first leading performance a great one.

She lost nearly 40 pounds to get into character as Billie Holiday for the Lee Daniels-directed Hulu biopic, detailing her process to Leslie Odom Jr during Variety's Actors on Actors.

Physically daunting: Andra Day 'abused' her body and lost nearly 40 pounds to get into character as Billie Holiday for the Lee Daniels-directed Hulu biopic The United States vs Billie Holiday

Physically daunting: Andra Day 'abused' her body and lost nearly 40 pounds to get into character as Billie Holiday for the Lee Daniels-directed Hulu biopic The United States vs Billie Holiday

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The 36-year-old said: 'I basically abused my body for a long time. I'm joking and not really joking. I got the role at the very top of 2018. Reading everything I could get my hands on. Listening to every interview. 

'Apparently, I exhausted the internet of Billie Holiday photos. Apparently, the internet will tell you that you've reached the end.'

She added: 'I put my family through it; I put myself through it. I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds. I would talk like her and I don't drink or smoke, but I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. 

'Not that I recommend people do this; I just was desperate because this is my first role. I just asked God to give me all of the pain and trauma. I asked him to give me her pain and give me her trauma.'

Abusing her body: The 36-year-old said: 'I basically abused my body for a long time. I'm joking and not really joking. I got the role at the very top of 2018. Reading everything I could get my hands on. Listening to every interview' (pictured in November, 2020)

Abusing her body: The 36-year-old said: 'I basically abused my body for a long time. I'm joking and not really joking. I got the role at the very top of 2018. Reading everything I could get my hands on. Listening to every interview' (pictured in November, 2020)

Cigarettes and alcohol: She added: 'I put my family through it; I put myself through it. I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds. I would talk like her and I don't drink or smoke, but I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol' (pictured in February, 2019)

Cigarettes and alcohol: She added: 'I put my family through it; I put myself through it. I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds. I would talk like her and I don't drink or smoke, but I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol' (pictured in February, 2019)

Famous voice: Day also detailed why it was important for her to change her voice in order to sing as the iconic jazz songstress: 'There's victory and there is pain in her voice. So to me it was just like we've got to get it, we have to get it, you know what I mean?' (pictured in January, 2021)

Famous voice: Day also detailed why it was important for her to change her voice in order to sing as the iconic jazz songstress: 'There's victory and there is pain in her voice. So to me it was just like we've got to get it, we have to get it, you know what I mean?' (pictured in January, 2021)

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Day also detailed why it was important for her to change her voice in order to sing as the iconic jazz songstress.

She said: 'That was an early decision that we made right away to do the singing. Every time I would sing a song I'd go, OK, Lee's going to hear this and he's going to fire me. But I wouldn't have done it if they'd been, "Do it in your voice." 

'That for me would have probably been a no. There's victory and there is pain in her voice. So to me it was just like we've got to get it, we have to get it, you know what I mean? It'll have to be my interpretation of it, but it has to be there.'     

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