Published Dec 09, 2015"It's definitely like a crazy thought process right now," allows 19-year-old Alessia Cara, letting us into her mental state following the success of hit summer single "Here" and reception of her remarkable debut album, Know-It-All. "I barely have time to think. But the best way to stay grounded is to take it one day at a time. Just remember how much you wanted this and where you were before all this."
Before all this, life for Cara (real name Alessia Caracciolo) was about dutifully practicing guitar and faithfully going to the studio to record after long high school days in her hometown of Brampton, ON. Having taught herself the guitar at age ten, it was that and posting performance videos of cover songs to YouTube that translated to a major record deal. The singer-songwriter's disciplined, modest approach served her well, connecting her to a like-minded youthful fan base and enabling one of the most well-conceptualized pop records of the year.
"I call it alternative pop," she says of the album's distinct blend of raspy vocals, acoustic rock-driven outsider anthems, R&B-soul rhythms and pop-infused instrumentation. "I just wanted to make an album that was sonically and conceptually cohesive. I wanted it to be a story of youth, being a teen and what that's like — love, life, things like that."
The ten-track Know-It-All is grounded in a rebellious, non-conformist, "awkward outsider" slant. It fully acknowledges real life in that not everyone can be — or wants to be — the cool kid. And even with being under the intense mainstream spotlight lately, it's a mentality Cara still identifies with.
"We all act like we know everything in life, but nobody really does. That's what I want people to realize. For me, I know that I'm the same person. Nothing has changed. My family and friends know that," she says thoughtfully.
"It's always good to keep at a regular level."