Diminutive singer/songwriter 19-year-old Alessia Cara rocked up at Powderham Castle just three days after supporting supergroup Coldplay at a sell-out Barcelona gig.
She was cool, calm and relaxed – albeit, she admitted, a little jet-lagged – as she chatted before performing at the same venue as Christ Martin and his band for the second time in a week during Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
Hard to believe that she used to be ‘too shy’ to sing, yet she has worked hard and applied herself to overcome her fears.
‘I was not a singer initially because I was very shy, I would not sing at school but loved acting and drama instead.’
Her confidence grew from friends’ endorsements of her Youtube efforts and she encourages others to overcome their fears whatever they may be.
‘If you’re shy like me you can still do it! There must be other kids like me, but just get out there and throw yourself into the situation until you are not scared anymore.’
Her biggest audience to date was at Wembley Stadium in front of more than 80,000 people and she manages her pre-performance nerves with nothing more than deep breathing and focusing her thoughts.
‘Same regular friends, its not like anything’s differen, I do love that time I just wish I had more of it’
When she gets the chance to return to her Canadian home she’s keen to point out that she just slots back in to having a regular life – she loves her mum’s home-cooked pasta with tomato sauce and hanging our with friends. A self proclaimed ‘anti-social pessimist’ as described in her hit ‘Here’ (with 95million Youtube views) her soulful delivery of heart-felt lyrics against a gentle rocking rhythm oozes melancholy. You really believe her when she sings ‘ideally I’d be at home by myself not with all these people’.
Childhood friends may struggle to relate to and really appreciate her jet-set lifestyle and she admitted that sometimes it’s hard for her to understand too.
She’s not sure what made her pick up guitar in the first place but new she always wanted to learn. After a month of lessons she soon developed her own style, picking skills up as she went.
Modest about her Youtube success, she said she was inspired by comedian and online personality Jenna Marbles who talks about cultural issues in a humorous way. Alessia aspires to have the same connection with her audience by using music and melody as her tools of connectivity.