Alessia Cara insists she doesn’t want to sound ungrateful, but coming to terms with stardom hasn’t been easy.
The 21-year-old Canadian singer didn’t anticipate her precipitous rise to success three years ago before it started — not the Grammy Award for best new artist, nor the two Juno Awards. Not even the breakout radio popularity of “Scars to Your Beautiful,” “Here” and “Stay” with Zedd seemed like a sure thing.
She also didn’t expect the inexplicable feelings of sadness that began to wash over her life as fame took hold.
“There was a void I didn’t know how to fill,” she recalled ahead of the June 15 release of her single, “Growing Pains.”
“When you’re going through something that is really beautiful, like my job, you almost feel guilty for feeling sad sometimes. You think, ‘People are going to think I’m ungrateful if I talk about this,’ so I just suppressed it, thinking that it would go away.”
Instead, the feelings of sadness and loneliness persisted until Cara decided to seek professional support earlier this year.
“I go to therapy, which is really helpful,” she said, emphasizing that she hasn’t been diagnosed with depression.
“I’m still figuring it out, and right now I think they’re just feelings of growing. If there’s a name for it eventually that’ll be something I can talk about freely, I’m sure, but right now I really just don’t know.”
Prioritizing herself wasn’t always on the top of the list, Cara said, partly because she felt a responsibility to stand as a voice for others.
The singer, born Alessia Caracciolo, started out as a teen YouTuber in Brampton, covering artists she admired, like Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey. Her work caught the attention of label executives at Def Jam and she was signed before her 18th birthday.