Photo courtesy of Universal Music
Alessia Cara’s voice is surprising. In person, the five-foot-nothing teenager is sweet, fast-talking and endearingly nervous. But when she starts to sing, that voice is transformed into something else entirely – soulful, strong and way beyond her 19 years.
Her debut single, ‘Here’ (released in April) already has more than 31 million views on YouTube, and is steadily climbing the charts. Not to mention the fact it caught the attention of Jimmy Fallon, who personally requested that she perform it on The Tonight Show back in July, in what was one of her first big live performances.
In anticipation of her name exploding around the world, we spent some time with Alessia when she came to Sydney recently and captured some snippets of her youthful wisdom.
“It was actually easier than I thought, I think because I have the spoken word background,” explains Alessia. “You just have to take those words and put them into a melody, and Sebastian [Kole] taught me the proper structure and way to do that.
“He gave me his email address when I first met him and told me to use it as a journal and write to him whenever I felt like it, whether it was thoughts or feeling or lyrics. So I did, I’d just write random lyrics to him, and we turned those into songs,” she explains.
“There are a lot of themes of self-acceptance in my songs, whether that’s your personality or the way you look. I really wanted to get that message across in this album specifically, because I know the fans I’m talking to are very young,” she explains.
“It’s always a good reminder, especially as a young person, to love yourself no matter what. You don’t have to be like other people.”
“I kind of got lucky because when I started looking for a label, I already had the majority of my songs done, so there wasn’t a lot they could try to mould,” says Alessia. “It was like, ‘This is what I have, take it or not.’”
“They’ve been really understanding and they’ve embraced my style,” says Alessia. “It’s cool because I don’t have to spend an hour in hair and make-up every morning because they accept that I just look like me.”
THE PHENOMENON OF FAME
“It’s something I’m always thinking about in the back of my mind. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s really scary, especially going into it so young and with my personality – I’m not the type to want the spotlight,”
“I don’t think you can ever really prepare yourself for what this is like; people try to warn you but it’s different when it actually happens.”
“I want to do more, use more guitar, write more things. I just get better as I go,” says Alessia. “And I’ll be a better songwriter by the next album and hopefully a better guitar player.”
“I just want to keep creating and keep the growth going…”
We’re pretty sure Alessia can be confident about that trajectory… just have a listen for yourself
Read the full interview in Issue 28 of Collective Hub, on sale now