TIDAL Rising: Alessia Cara

[I’m quite proud of the work we do with the TIDAL Rising program, which gives us the opportunity to focus on niche and up-and-coming artists, despite our newfound mainstream profile. Of some of the many rising talents who’ve grown into formidable stars since we first highlighted them, Alessia Cara is easily one of the strongest and (even just in terms of her humanity) the most deserving.

A very cool affirmation of TIDAL Rising’s use as a platform for discovery came when, as he was introducing Cara’s performance on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon said on air that he discovered her on TIDAL (ie he read this article!). Find the original Q&A here. ]


Alessia Cara is on the rise.


The 19-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter is already making big waves behind the weight of her attention-grabbing single, “Here,” an anti-party anthem about the less-than-glamorous realities of the classic high-school party.

Lead by Cara’s soulful, belting voice, the Portishead-sampling track bemoans the relatable discomforts of being surrounded by wasted, obnoxious teens when you’d truly just rather just be at home.

First making her mark by uploading popular cover versions of songs by the likes of Drake, Justin Timberlake and The Neighborhood, Cara is already on her way to becoming the ultimate YouTube success story.

Her most recent (and prestigous) shout-out came from none other than Taylor Swift, who tweeted, “You’re AMAZING,” in response to a BBC Radio 1 cover of Swift’s “Bad Blood.” Cara, appropriately, freaked out.

We caught up with Cara to get to know the Rising artist a little better. Her as-yet-untitled debut album is expected to arrive later this year via Def Jam.

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Who is Alessia Cara? Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Alessia Caracciolo and I just turned 19 years old. I was born in a city called Mississauga, Ontario and then moved to Brampton, Ontario when I was four years old. I’ve been there ever since.

When did you first get into music?

I have early memories of me singing around the house, even when I was under 4 years old. It’s something that was always apart of my life, even before I really knew it.

Who were your musical heroes growing up?

I was obsessed with the Black Eyed Peas in their really early years (Elephunk and Monkey Business albums), then I got into artists like P!nk, Amy Winehouse, Michael Buble, Lauren Hill, etc. Amy was a huge one for me though. I fell in love with everything she did musically.

Name an album that changed your perspective on music.

I think Drake’s Take Care was an album that had a big impact on me because it was a sound that I had never heard before. I didn’t know music could have a new genre that was 100% tailored to the artist. That’s when I realized that music was changing and that genre was getting larger and larger.

Your singles “Here” suggest within your songwriting you’re something of a wallflower. Do you feel that’s true? How does your personality reflect in your songwriting?

I guess in situations like that one, where everything is loud and crowded, I can be a bit of a wallflower. I don’t know how to interact with people in that sort of environment so I tend to gravitate towards the corners of the walls, not saying or doing anything. I think all my songs reflect a different side of my personality because they’re my thoughts and experiences. Whether it’s a vulnerable side, an aggressive side, or, like in “Here,” a shy side, it’s still me.

You first gained attention for your cover songs on YouTube. What makes a good cover? What artist would you dream of having cover one of your own songs?

I think a good cover is when the cover artist can put the song in a whole new genre, or sing it in a way that the audience didn’t expect it to be sung. In other words, making the song your own is what catches people’s attention – well, at least mine.

And if Ed Sheeran covered “Here” I think my life would be over. I would never get over that. Ever.

And finally, if your music was a food what type would it be?

If my music was a food it would probably be soup with a whole bunch of random things in it. Probably because my music has little pieces of influences, inspiration, experiences, thoughts and feelings engraved in it, but together they make something that tastes (sounds, in this case) good – and it can be comforting to other people.

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