If you were to turn on your radio right now, we bet it wouldn’t take long for an Alessia Cara song to come on. The 20-year-old singer, who wrapped up a headlining tour in November, is setting the world on fire. To be honest, Alessia seems like the epitome of ‘cool’ — she dares to go makeup-free on the red carpet, wears amazing clothes and writes the most empowering songs. But when we chatted with her, she told us a different story.
“I’ve never felt like the cool kid,” she confesses. “Growing up, I never really found a place to fit in.”
Even though she’s famous now, Alessia has dealt with insecurities — just like many teens. “I’ve always been self-conscious about my personality,” she opens up to us. “I was a really awkward person, even as a kid, I didn’t have many friends.”
Alessia felt like she didn’t have anything in common with her classmates, and that made it hard to find a place where she belonged. So instead of having a packed social calendar, the singer admits to spending a lot of time alone in her room drawing, journaling and playing music.
That may sound a little lonely, but Alessia believes everything happens for a reason — and she’s grateful for that me-time now. “I think that’s how I found music, played guitar and became interested in singing,” she says with a smile.
Alessia used her songwriting to help her express herself, and doing so helped her learn that it’s okay to be different. She hopes everyone listening to her music now gets that, too. “My songs are about being yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin,” she shares.
It can be hard to accept who you are, especially if it feels like nobody else does. But if you’re feeling left out in school or with your group of friends, take a cue from Alessia. “I’d say find something that you love and work at becoming great at it,” she says.
"It doesn’t matter if the thing you’re passionate about isn’t ‘cool.’ You don’t always have to be popular and do things everyone else is doing,” Alessia explains.
The truth of the matter is nobody — not the most popular girl in school or the famous singer — feels cool. “Realize that everyone that you think is perfect feels like they’re not good enough, too,” Alessia says. Instead of worrying so much about how you appear to others, focus on the important things. “We all just need to love ourselves and believe in ourselves,” she tells J-14.
Interview and story by Caitlin Murphy. "Alessia Cara reveals: 'I've never been the cool kid'" originally appeared in the March 2017 print issue of J-14.