15 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Three years after Know-It-All introduced her as pop’s rebellious newcomer—an introvert with power pipes who was skeptical about fame—Alessia Cara returns with a fresh perspective. Rather than run away from her problems, the 22-year-old Toronto-area singer opts, instead, to run toward them. Her autobiographical sophomore album tells her journey of heartbreak, growth, and self-acceptance with cautious optimism. “I guess the bad can get better/Gotta be wrong before it’s right,” she sings on “Growing Pains,” an introspective, chin-up ballad about the trials of adolescence and stardom. Cara, who often talks openly about therapy, works through a wide range of emotions here—vulnerability (“I Don’t Want To”), disappointment (“All We Know”), and determination (“Wherever I Live”)—and each song feels like an outstretched hand. On “Not Today,” she simply lets herself feel low, offering the gentle reminder that healing takes time. “One day I won’t need a PhD to sit me down/And tell me what it all means,” she sings. “Maybe one day it’ll be a breeze/But surely not today.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Three years after Know-It-All introduced her as pop’s rebellious newcomer—an introvert with power pipes who was skeptical about fame—Alessia Cara returns with a fresh perspective. Rather than run away from her problems, the 22-year-old Toronto-area singer opts, instead, to run toward them. Her autobiographical sophomore album tells her journey of heartbreak, growth, and self-acceptance with cautious optimism. “I guess the bad can get better/Gotta be wrong before it’s right,” she sings on “Growing Pains,” an introspective, chin-up ballad about the trials of adolescence and stardom. Cara, who often talks openly about therapy, works through a wide range of emotions here—vulnerability (“I Don’t Want To”), disappointment (“All We Know”), and determination (“Wherever I Live”)—and each song feels like an outstretched hand. On “Not Today,” she simply lets herself feel low, offering the gentle reminder that healing takes time. “One day I won’t need a PhD to sit me down/And tell me what it all means,” she sings. “Maybe one day it’ll be a breeze/But surely not today.”

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About Alessia Cara

Canadian pop-R&B singer and songwriter Alessia Cara (full last name: Caracciolo) made her recorded debut in 2015, though she started racking up YouTube views -- with acoustic covers of popular songs across several genres -- four years earlier. Upon graduating from high school in her native Brampton (a suburb of Toronto, Ontario), Cara opted to devote a year to music rather than go straight to college. She continued to upload YouTube clips regularly and landed a major-label recording contract with Def Jam. Matched up with Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Warren "Oak" Felder, and Coleridge Tillman, a trio of songwriters and producers with dozens of R&B and pop hits between them, Cara co-wrote and recorded the distinctive wallflower anthem "Here" and released it as a single in May 2015. Featuring a sample of Isaac Hayes' "Ike's Rap II," previously utilized by Portishead for "Glory Box" and by Tricky for "Hell Is Round the Corner," its streams numbered in the millions prior to the premiere of its official video. A five-track EP, Four Pink Walls, arrived that August, and the full-length Know It All followed three months later. "Here" eventually went on to crack the Top Five of Billboard's Hot 100 list, and rose to the number one position on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop and Pop charts in early 2016. Her exposure increased that year when she was handpicked by Coldplay as tour opener for their Head Full of Dreams stadium world tour. In 2017, as Know It All's third single, "Scars to Your Beautiful," climbed into the Top Ten of the Hot 100 and topped the U.S. pop chart, Cara scored another hit with the Oscar-nominated song "How Far I'll Go," written by Lin-Manuel Miranda for Disney's animated film Moana. ~ Andy Kellman

HOMETOWN
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
GENRE
Pop
BORN
July 11, 1996

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