Credit: Instagram: @alessiacaramusic
Not since Taylor Swift invited Alessia Cara on stage to perform in front of 55 000 screaming teenagers has the Brampton native’s world become so loud. “I barely remember what it was like on stage,” recalls Cara, her youthful tone a little unsure. “I just remember getting off stage [with Swift] and being in my dressing room and crying because it was so overwhelming. I dramatically cried for ten seconds. It was a big moment. Thank god Taylor didn’t see me.”
Fingers crossed that that experience broke the (fame game) ice for the 19-year-old. For tonight, in a Gigi Hadid hosted event, Alessia Cara will be ejected into a bigger spotlight as she goes up against Drake with seven nominations in the rambunctious Much Music Video Awards in Toronto. Both artists are nominated for video of the year; Drake for Hotline Bling and Cara for Here.
It was the latter track, a sullen and catchy song about not wanting to be at a party which has clocked up 99 million views on YouTube, that got her to tonight’s red carpet. Posted to YouTube, it was championed by a slew of notable admirers like Lorde, Drake, Alicia Keys and Swift who even included Cara’s track I’m Yours on her playlist “New Songs That Will Make Your Life More Awesome”. “I don’t really know what it was that set me apart from other girls on YouTube,” says Cara. “I think maybe the thing that caught people’s attention was that I was singing about something that wasn’t typical. It was the opposite of party songs, I was singing about not wanting to be there and I think that’s a new perspective and people are interested in new perspectives. I’m young and I guess there’s not used to seeing a young girl talk about things lie that.”
Being young has presented a bit of a challenge for Cara. “There was some prejudice in the beginning because of my age and even my size,” the singer recalls. “I’m very small so I look even younger.
“I feel like I have to prove myself every time I’m singing for a new crowd in a new room as if I always have to win them over.”
“I guess that’s not necessarily true but in my head, I just feel like I have to all the time because I’m so small and of course nobody ever takes me seriously initially. But I think I’ve proven myself at this point and I think people understand I’m serious about what I do.”
Growing up in a traditional Italian family setting, tonight will no doubt be a world away from the safety net of Cara’s bedroom; a place she would study music and watch documentaries from. She didn’t get tell her friends why she was missing school so much until she was signed by Def Jam records in 2014. “I never anticipated the extent that all the crazy would get to,” says Cara. “I never thought I’d be a teenager living out my dreams.”
Hotling Bling has 795 million views so make no mistake, Video Of The Year, will be a hard award to win. However, we’re tipping Cara can take away more awards than Toronto’s king. Regardless though, Cara smiles when I ask how she feels about Drake complimenting her music. “I’d love to record with him,” she said. “He’s my favourite.” And imagine the YouTube count on that track.
Need more proof?