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Ask Alessia Cara who her musical role models are, and you’ll get an answer you might not expect from the 20-year-old singer. “I loved Amy Winehouse, Pink, and Lauryn Hill,” she tells Teen Vogue, adding that the powerhouses didn’t care “about their image, they just cared about making music.”
It’s an outlook that may seem surprising in today’s social media-driven world, but it resonates perfectly with what Alessia is all about. The singer-songwriter shot to fame with the anthem “Here,” and her current single, “Scars To Your Beautiful,” has just as impactful a message: that beauty is subjective, and all that matters is how you view yourself.
“They weren’t really the conventional type of beauty, especially Amy,” Alessia explains about the icons who came before her. “It was just so different, and people learned to love her for her music because of that. That’s what I hope people do with me, and see me for the artist I am, rather than what I’m wearing or what I look like.”
She’s well on her way to achieving that goal, as “Scars To Your Beautiful” also features a powerful music video that showcases the beauty of so many different people (including fellow singer JoJo). The track also falls in line with a number of songs that directly address the antiquated beauty standards that so many women and men face every day. When asked how it felt to have her own work compared to the likes of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and TLC’s “Unpretty,” she says it’s something like a full-circle moment. “I listened to those songs growing up,” Alessia explains. “They helped me, it was therapy for me, so it’s really amazing to have my music in that category.
We have a feeling Alessia will be sticking around for a while. A voice like that can’t be silenced — and hers is definitely necessary in this world. As for the moment she first realized she was beautiful? We’ll let Alessia explain it herself in the video below.
Alessia Cara is going to take over the world. The Canadian singer went from playing acoustic covers on her YouTube channel to being signed with Def Jam. Since then, the 20-year-old’s single “Here” climbed the charts and won over fans and critics alike.
But she’s not just an impressive musician, she’s an inspiring advocate for self-love, too. Alessia has suffered her own insecurities, opening up about her hair-loss and getting bullied, but has used music to turn her experience into something beautiful. Alessia’s encouraging song “Scars To Your Beautiful” promotes and advocates for loving your true self, reminding us we’re beautiful just the way we are.
Alessia has now teamed up with I AM THAT GIRL, the awesome organization that aims to support and inspire young women to love themselves and each other for who they are naturally. The perfect duo has now collaborated on a video set to the song “Scars To Your Beautiful.”
We could talk about how cool Alessia is forever, but we should probably let her speak for herself. Read on for Teen Vogue’s exclusive interview with Alessia on beauty standards, body image, and how she learned to love herself.
Teen Vogue: What inspired “Scars To Your Beautiful?”
Alessia Cara: I was finding it really hard to be a girl in this world today. With all these expectations being thrown at us, I wanted to make women forget, and remind everyone that you don’t have to conform to these standards or molds that we’re expected to fit into. There are so many different kinds of beautiful, and it’s about time that we start embracing all of them.
TV: Did you expect the reaction the song got?
AC: I really didn’t. I made it for young women like myself, because I think the media’s beauty standards affect us the most. But it wasn’t until I released the song that I realized how many other people were affected and connected to it, whether it was older men or women. But that’s the beauty of it. It proves that so many people, regardless of if we think so or not, are affected by that kind of message.
TV: You made the pact to not wear makeup when you perform the song? Why is that?
AC: I’m not anti-makeup or anything, it’s because the song is about embracing yourself and your natural qualities, and loving yourself for who you are. I could never preach that when I have a whole face of makeup on, my hair all done up, and clothes that aren’t even mine. I just made it a point, every time I sing it, to be natural, to show people you don’t need to be all done up. People think that to be a pop star you have to look a certain way. I want to show people that there’s an alternative.
TV: What do you hope people who listen to the song realize about their own inner beauty?
AC: It’s the world that’s messed up, and it’s the world’s twisted view of what beauty should be. They need to change, it’s never you.
TV: Do you have any advice for those who feel insecure about their appearance?
AC: You don’t have to impress anyone. And the people we think we have to impress, are probably thinking they should impress you. We all have insecurities and you’re not alone. If anything, it’s the most universal thing in the world. But I think that, hopefully with the help of music and the help of people speaking out, that will eventually change.
TV: How did you decide to work with I AM THAT GIRL? What do you hope this partnership will achieve in the long run?
AC: The second I saw it I was like, this is awesome. It perfectly aligns with not only my song, but with everything I’ve been trying to speak about, and everything I believe in. It’s a great community that girls can join and talk about everything. Nothing is taboo. It’s very open and I’m glad, because a lot of the time girls feel embarrassed about certain topics, and they feel like they’re alone in all these things.
TV: What would you tell your younger self about body image?
AC: To just chill out and not worry. Growing up, I worried about every little thing. I was like, “oh I’m not good enough, I’m not confident enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not this and that.” I would cry about my appearance, and cry about a bunch of things that don’t matter to me now. I would just say, the stuff that matters now won’t matter in a few years, and just chill out and enjoy your life.
Alessia attended the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards, yesterday (August 28) in New York City, New York. High quality photos from her appearance and rehearsal the day before have been added to the photo galley. Make sure to check them out!
Not many people in this world can say they got to record a song with their favorite artist, but Samantha — an Alessia Cara superfan — can. We teamed up with Applebee’s to give this Ultimate Fan Experience sweepstakes winner the chance to not only hop into the studio with her fave, but to give back to the community as well. Talk about having the best day ever.
First, Samantha met with Stan, a student and musician at Dreamyard Art Center in New York City, where kids in the community can develop their voice through the arts. While working on remixing Alessia’s latest single, “Scars to Your Beautiful,” the singer herself showed up as the duo was deep at work, surprising our winner who turned around to find herself face to face with her idol (!!!). Turns out, they’d chosen the perfect song to work on as Samantha reveals what “Scars” means to her and the two were able to connect on similar experiences. To see why Samantha was a fitting choice for this Ultimate Fan Experience and to watch Alessia’s performance for the super talented kids at Dreamyard, watch the video below!
Famous singer JoJo is back stronger than ever and Alessia Cara will be joining her for a song in her upcoming album, which is titled “Mad Love”. Details of their duet has yet to be revealed, there’s no doubt they can both keep up with one another’s powerhouse vocals.
Excited to announce the amazing & gorg @alessiacara is one of the features on my new album ?❤️ MadLove.
In Alessia Cara’s latest single “Scars to Your Beautiful,” the 20-year-old singer and songwriter promotes a message of self-acceptance that challenges the beautify standards we see every day. Now, the budding Canadian pop star has opened up about her personal struggles that inspired the song.
Speaking with Lipstick.com, Cara described how she loved growing up the daughter of a hairdresser and experimenting with different styles but said she was self-conscious and always struggled with her do in one way or another. Eventually, she began straightening her hair, which — she said — possible caused her to begin losing her hair in elementary school and middle school.
“I started losing my hair in chunks in the shower,” she said. “It was one of the scariest things. It got to the point where it was visibly gone. I struggled with that a lot, especially going into high school. You have so many pressures—what people are going to think of you—and I was going into it losing all my hair. I had, like, nothing left. It was patches of missing hair that people would point out, because people are mean in high school.”
Cara said she would try to hide her bald spots with different hair styles, unsure why she had to deal with this at such a young age.
“I didn’t want people to look at me, I didn’t want people to get too close,” she said. “Even now, I struggle with it; sometimes, you can see that my hair is missing in some spots. I have just learned how to accept it. Being in the public eye, you’re always worried about what angle people are going to take pictures of you at. I don’t really care anymore. I just let my hair dry naturally; I don’t hide it.”
Alessia also spoke about her pledge to appear makeup-free for every performance of and interview about “Scars to Your Beautiful.”
“How could I be preaching a song about being yourself and being beautiful and perfect the way you are—and have a full face of makeup?” she said. “I want to show people that I am comfortable enough to go on national television and just be myself. It would only feel right if I am 100 percent me.”
As: Featured Artist Type: Song Release Date: June 23, 2016 Label: EMI Australia/Universal Music Status: Released Alessia collaborated with Troye Sivan to write and record a new verse for his hit single, "Wild"
As: Opening/Supporting Act Type: Tour Duration: May 24 - September 3, 2016 Status: In Progress Alessia joins Coldplay on their seventh concert tour as a opening/supporting act. She performs songs from her album, "Know-It-All".
As: Artist Type: Album Release Date: November 13, 2015 Label: Def Jams Status: Released The debut album by the Canadian singer. It Follows her EP, "Four Pink Walls" which served as a preview for the album.
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