Being hyped by a pre-show playlist consisting of hits by Halsey, DNCE and Taylor Swift, a primarily teenage crowd waited for Alessia Cara to play her sold out show in Austin, TX last Saturday, February 06.
10 minutes before the show, genuine happiness could be seen on the faces of the predominantly female-skewed crowd. The front row — packed with teenage girls wearing beanies and the singer’s merch.
19 years young Alessia Cara carries herself with an enviable charisma and a relatable personality that most pop stars wish they had. That is what separates her from the rest of her contemporaries. Also the reason why she is where she is right now. In a world of polished and pictured-ready celebrities, Cara opts to just be herself, a choice that is reflected in her performance.
Cara’s live show does not include any theatrics, motion graphics projections or costume changes — but it is clear they are not required for her to make an impact. Her powerful, smoky voice was resonant enough to fill the entire sold out venue, even during the guitar-led, stripped down songs.
The Canadian musician opened up her set with the upbeat and fan-favorite “I’m Yours”, before transitioning to her now official second single, the tribal-sounding, percussion-heavy “Wild Things”. Before the empowering anthem “Scars To Your Beautiful”, Cara talked to the crowd about her insecurities. “We are constantly fed by the media. Every time I see a picture of me, I pinpoint every single thing I don’t like. Why is my hair so big? Why are my legs like that? Why am I so short? But it is not about how cool our hair is. It’s about what you do. Don’t ever thing you need to change”. A quite emotional moment.
The show’s climax happened during her breakout hit “Here”, where Cara opened up to the crowd about the song and how her label was not in favor of making it a single. “Thank you so much for supporting “Here”. I remember I was so excited about it but a lot of people around me were not. I am glad they decided to give it a shot” said the singer to a roaring crowd before performing the relatable anthem.
Cara ended the night with a cover of The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather”, the song that got her discovered by the A&R at Republic Records at the age of 16, and “Your Song”, the last track off her debut album Know-It-All.
Both in her persona and performance, Cara represents a breath of fresh air in a manufactured, pop-heavy market. Soulful and young, her confidence and drive to be no other than herself is something many could learn a lesson or two from. It is exciting to think about seeing Cara grow in terms of showmanship in the future, but for now, she is a force to be reckoned with.