19-year-old Alessia Cara Wows at Webster Hall

Reeca Soriano, Contributing Writer

It’s amazing what one can achieve within a year.

Just nine months ago, 19-year-old R&B/Pop artist Alessia Cara released her first song “Here,” which, within a few months, made its way onto the Billboard Hot 100. After releasing her debut album “Know-It-All” in November, she began her first North American tour, which she is currently on today.

Cara kicked off her Know-It-All tour two weeks ago in her native country of Canada before heading to the United States. On Tuesday, Jan. 26, she sang for a sold-out crowd at Webster Hall.

The show, which took place in the Grand Ballroom, began with her two opening acts: Craig Stickland and NYU alum Kevin Garrett. Stickland, who is also Cara’s guitarist, played an acoustic set of his own songs before letting Garrett take the stage. Garrett, accompanied by a drummer and keyboardist, then performed a set of slow and ambient tunes, which he himself described as “sad and quiet” –– a style quite different from the more upbeat pop songs that were to be performed next by the headliner.

Opening with “I’m Yours” –– a catchy yet bittersweet song that captures the mixed emotions that come with the vulnerability of being in love –– Cara walked onto the stage dressed casually in all black, except for the pair of pink Converses she wore on her feet. From the first moment the crowd caught sight of her, they could tell she was not going to be like other young pop stars. She wouldn’t need to be flashy or be accompanied by backup dancers to grab people’s attention. Her naturally soulful voice and genuine, down-to-earth personality accomplished that for her.

Cara continued to play other songs from her album, including the soon-to-be hit, “Seventeen,” the groovy R&B track, “Four Pink Wall” and “Overdose,” which she played the guitar for as well.

Though most of her performances were upbeat and full of energy, Cara did slow things down with a few ballads. During “Stars,” the crowd simulated a starry night by raising their lit phone into the air. Following this song, Cara then flawlessly transitioned into a cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” during which she fell silent and let the crowd transform into her choir.

Before performing “Scars to Your Beautiful,” an anthem for those who should “know [they’re] beautiful just the way [they] are,” Cara also took the time to speak a little bit about body image. Much to her surprise, she was then greeted with hundreds of signs reaffirming that the crowd thought she was beautiful.

Cara, of course, ended the night with her hit, “Here” –– the anti-party theme song for wallflowers like her –– before coming out for an encore.

By the end of the show, though she’s just cracking the music scene, Cara proved to be a refreshingly humble new artist, already comfortable with performing and sharing her music with the world.

In April, she will conclude her tour, nearly a year after releasing the song that changed her life.


Email Reeca Soriano at [email protected].