Alessia Cara’s messages of empowerment make her shows feel like communal celebrations of the self. The Canadian pop singer burst into the pop consciousness in 2015, when her outcast anthem “Here” reached the No. 5 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Since then, she’s notched multiple Top 10 hits, performed at festivals like Austin City Limits and Life Is Beautiful, headlined her own tours, won the Best New Artist Grammy, and released two critically acclaimed albums. The year 2019 sees her touring her home country as a headliner before joining fellow Canadian Shawn Mendes for the U.S. and European legs of his self-titled arena tour.
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“Here,” which Cara released when she was 19, was a rare pop song that also caught the ear of critics. It blended a killer sample (from Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Rap II”) with forthright lyrics about feeling alienated at a party, and it became an all-around sensation. Cara’s first album, ‘Know-It-All,’ followed in November 2015, and singles like “Wild Things” and “Scars to Your Beautiful” cemented her rep as a cheerleader for the outcasts. To craft her anthems, she drew on the raw vocals of soul music and the textures of modern pop. In 2017, she became a pop-radio fixture again thanks to her bouncy collaboration with EDM superstar Zedd. “Stay” reached No. 7 on the Hot 100 and went double-platinum in the U.S. The thoughtful mental-health–minded track “1-800-273-8255” – a collaboration with the rapper Logic and the crooner Khalid – was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2018 Grammys. Cara was nominated for four Grammys total that year, winning Best New Artist and performing “1-800-273-8255” in honor of the late Chris Cornell. In 2018, Cara released her second album, ‘The Pains of Growing,’ on which singles like the title track and the reggae-tinged “Trust My Lonely” take a close-up look at the challenges posed by adulthood.