Born Alessia Caracciolo, this young musician (she’s only 19 years old!) was born in Brampton, Ontario. Graduating from Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, her parents are from Calabria, Italy. Her love for music sprouted through writing poetry and participating in theatre at a young age, though Cara began to play guitar and write her own music at the age of 13. Like many of the successful young artists of the time, she became a YouTube star, posting video covers of artists like Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, and even T.O.’s own The Weeknd and Drake.
With a career that took the Canadian music scene by surprise, Cara was soon signed to EP Entertainment with Def Jam Recordings, through whom she released her debut single, ‘Here’, which is about her attending a party only to realize how much she hates parties (we feel you, Alessia). The song found great commercial success and was picked up by some of the largest music-based magazines, with Rolling Stone ranking it on its top 50 song list of 2015. According to Spotify, the song was the most viral of the year, so chances are you’ve heard Alessia’s angsty anthem even if you didn’t know it. The single was later featured on her EP, Four Pink Walls, which was quickly followed by her debut album, Know-It-All.
Fast forward a year, after being awarded Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Juno’s, and Cara was later announced to be a supporting act on Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour, where you can currently find her rocking out.
Check out our ten-song guide to Alessia Cara’s music, featuring five originals as well as five of our fave covers she’s done, going all the way back to 2011 when her voice first graced the interwebs.
‘I don’t want to have one hit, one song of the summer, and then have me disappear forever. I really want my things to last, and I want my songs and my bodies of work to resonate with people. I want to hit people – at least make a dent in them. I want to make a mark somehow.’ – Alessia Cara
Originally performed at the TEDxTeen 2015 conference, ‘Scars To Your Beautiful’ was later confirmed to be on Cara’s debut album. The song talks about being beautiful just the way you are, serving as inspiration for the young girl who ‘praises an image’.
Taking viewers to a place they can each relate to, ‘Wild Things’ serves as a metaphor for a mind place of bliss. With the video having been filmed here in Toronto, Cara’s native land, with her real-life besties Chantel, Zippy, Robby and Olivia, the group wanders around in grocery carts, setting off fireworks. The song has been one of Cara’s most successful, blowing up in such a way that it has since been remixed several times, including by rapper G-Eazy.
Also off her album Know-It-All, ‘Stars’ is a little more lovey than usual for Cara. Co-produced by Sebastian Kole, (who’s worked with J-Lo in the past and has had a large helping hand in the writing of Cara’s album), ‘Stars’ talks about ‘taking the leap…to make believe in fairytales’.
Another chart-topping hit under Alessia’s belt, the aforementioned anti-party anthem resonates with many teens and young adults alike. As quoted by Alessia, the song, which she literally wrote the day after attending a party she hated, is for all the ‘antisocial, awkward, and miserable party-goers of the world’. The song sheds light on those ‘gossiping in the kitchen’, that ‘boy throwing up cause he can’t take what’s in his cup’ and, last but not least, that girl ‘talking about the haters’ she doesn’t have – all individuals you’ve surely encountered.
Finally, ‘Stone’ (this time, featuring Sebastian Kole) talks about finding your balance, whether it a person or place, metaphorically described as one’s ‘stone’ in a ‘world so uncertain’. A slower paced song than some of those mentioned, ‘Stone’ has a pleasant soulful vibe that showcases Alessia’s raw talent.