Canada’s Alessia Cara, who rose from making YouTube videos in her bedroom to becoming a socially conscious pop singer, on Jan 28 won the Grammy for Best New Artiste.The 21-year-old from suburban Toronto won the closely watched award in a field that included fellow young singer Khalid, with whom she collaborated on the suicide prevention song 1-800-273-8255.
“I’ve been pretend-winning Grammys since I was a kid in my shower,” Cara told the audience at Madison Square Garden in New York, thanking her fans.“You are the reason I don’t have to win Grammys in my shower any more.”She urged the industry not to forget the many “incredible artistes making incredible music that need to be acknowledged, who don’t always get acknowledged because of popularity contests and numbers games.”“I just wanted to encourage everyone to support real music and real artists because everyone deserves the same shot,” Cara added.
Cara, who has a rich voice with a touch of soul, first came to prominence as a teenager recording YouTube videos with humorous but startlingly accurate impersonations of famous singers including Amy Winehouse and Taylor Swift.Since finding her own voice as a singer, she has spoken to young people struggling to fit in.
Her first single, Here – set to the same Isaac Hayes soul sample as English trip-hop band Portishead’s 1995 hit Glory Box – describes her dread at spending time at a party full of marijuana and overly loud music. Scars To Your Beautiful, which also entered the Top 10 on the US singles chart, focuses on body image as Cara sings of a young woman preoccupied by her appearance “You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are.”
Speaking to AFP when she released her debut album, Know-It-All, Cara said she wanted to avoid the “usual stupid comparisons” made about teen pop stars.“I wanted to steer away from that and show people that I’m real,” she said. Her Best New Artiste win didn’t sit well with some people who have gone online to bash the singer.
She took to Instagram to respond to online critics who slammed her victory and the show’s rules of eligibility.
“To address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto grammy.com and submit myself. That’s not how it works. I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artistes that deserve the acknowledgment. But I was nominated and won and I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for,” the singer said in the post on Jan 29.
Accompanying a black and white photo of Cara on her phone in a room full of balloons, she added: “I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday, I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. But I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have. I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck.”
During the Grammy ceremony, some questioned on Twitter why Cara was eligible for the Best New Artiste category, with her debut album Know-It-All having been released in November 2015. She beat out Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, SZA, and Julia Michaels for the award.
In the post, she also addressed the many insecurities she’s dealt with being in the music industry and expressed how much the award meant to her.
“All of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process,” Cara said.
“I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth. Thanks to everyone who’s shown me kindness and support along the way.”
Cara was also nominated for Song Of The Year and Best Music Video for her feature on Logic’s 1-800-273-8255, as well as Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Stay with Zedd. She was the only female winner in a major category at this year’s Grammys. – Agencies