Alessia Cara talks Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and having hits of her own
Singer songwriter Alessia Cara of Brampton, Ont. is interviewed at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Mike Ridewood / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Friend, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, April 1, 2016 10:46AM EDT
CALGARY -- Alessia Cara is having a big year in music by any measure.
The 19-year-old singer from Brampton, Ont. -- a suburb outside Toronto -- is among the small faction of Canadian pop stars who dominated the upper echelons of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart last year.
The songstress quietly climbed her way up the U.S. charts with "Here," an ode to house party wallflowers, which peaked at No. 5, putting her in the company of megastars like Drake, Justin Bieber and the Weeknd.
She also received the coveted seal of approval from Taylor Swift, who invited her on stage for a duet of "Here" during a stop on her "1989" tour last fall.
Things don't seem to be slowing either. Her latest single "Wild Things" is already making its way up the charts.
Cara takes a victory lap on Sunday night by opening the Juno Awards. She talked to The Canadian Press about Swift and her dreams of hosting one particular late night show.
CP: Taylor Swift's support of "Here" put you on another level of visibility, but now a lot of articles imply you're close friends. Are you part of Swift's so-called squad of celebrities?
Cara: It's weird to be seen as that. Every headline now has been like ... "in Taylor Swift's squad" and I think that's very exaggerated because I've only met Taylor Swift once.... People have this perception of what the "inside" is like, but they also have this perception I'm overly shy or antisocial. I don't think I'm either of those things, I think I have a happy medium in between.
CP: You've been touring extensively over the past few months playing for mostly teenage crowds. Do you remember your first concert?
Cara: The only concert I've ever really been to was (to see) a prepubescent Justin Bieber many years ago. I remember looking into the crowd. It felt like every girl wanted to be on stage because they wanted to just touch Justin Bieber.... All the girls wanted to be with him, I feel, but I just wanted to be him in that moment.
CP: Now that you have a couple of hit singles under your belt what do you want to do next?
Cara: As far as music goes, I would love to start working with really cool producers -- a bunch of my favourite producers like Diplo, Skrillex, or "40" (Drake's longtime Toronto-based producer Noah "40" Shebib) or Pharrell. I've been really into this sound I created in my head that I really want to execute.
CP: Is there anything outside of music you want to do?
Cara: I would love to host Saturday Night Live. That's one of my goals in life -- just putting that out there. I don't know if I'm funny enough, but we'll see.
This interview has been edited and condensed