19-year-old Alessia Cara (Caracciolo is her full surname by the way) has managed to turn an uncomfortable party into an overnight sensation. The Brampton, Canada native is currently enjoying a run of success with her debut single 'Here', which somehow manages to sum up the feelings of every awkward teenager around the world.

Lyrically, the autobiographical track talks of a party that Cara went to but wasn't having as much fun as her peers. Gossipy girls, vomiting boys... in all fairness, it does sound a little like the party from hell. But out of the bad comes good as The FADER (who premiered 'Here' back in May) immediately labelled her "Alt-pop's new Sweetheart." A very bold statement indeed.

Since the release of 'Here', Cara's life has been a bit of a whirlwind. As we sit down over a Charcoal Lemonade in trendy Shoreditch, she tells me this particular trip to London is her third in a number of months, which is quite remarkable given only a few months earlier she hadn't ventured too far out from her home country, and just last year completed High School.

She's short, sweet and like your typical teenager, talks at rapid speed and way beyond her years. Her recently announced debut headline show has sold out as we sit down, and understandably she's really excited about it...

Your single 'Here' seems to have really captured a lot of other people's feelings and emotions. How does it feel to know that you're almost expressing someone else's emotions as well as yours, especially knowing that it's coming from real life experiences?

It's really strange but amazing and yet surprising. When we made the song, it was way before I was even signed so I wasn't even sure if anyone was going to hear it, I didn't know where the song was going to end up; I was literally ranting and I made a song about it. I didn't expect people to relate to it because I guess in that situation you think "I'm the only one that feels this way, nobody else gets it, I'm the weird one, I'm the problem" etc. Seeing the reaction has been so amazing because I didn't realise how many people felt the same way and I didn't expect that many people to hear it either so it's really great.

The video echoes the situation you were in at the time. Was it weird revisiting that for the video and putting yourself back in that position?

It was very strange and I actually got the people from the party to be in the video so I literally recreated it so it was kind of awkward seeing the people again. A lot of them were acquaintances and people from school that I know so they were really cool and they were supportive of it, they were like "Yeah, I'll do it!" The actual guy throwing up in the video was the guy throwing up in the party and the people smoking were the real people smoking. They played their real life roles so I was worried they would get mad at me! It was a cool way to revisit it but it was still weird.

How do you feel in those situations now? Do you feel the same way when you go to parties or are you taking a different approach?

It's funny because I think people stopped inviting me to parties! [Laughs]. I haven't been to one since the release at all so I think they just stopped inviting me to be honest. There's no industry parties I'm invited to yet, I don't think I'm at that level yet; I'm not A-List, I'm not into the details of all these parties so I don't know. I'll let you know once I go to one! [Laughs]

You were signed to Def Jam off the back of your YouTube covers. Was it ever your intention to get signed from your covers? Or was it because you just loved the songs?

I definitely loved the songs but I think the main purpose really was to get used to the idea of people hearing me sing without having to sing in front of them yet because I was really insecure and shy to do it in front of people. I wanted to do this. I was always aspiring to be a musician and an artist but it was my mother who told me "how can you be an aspiring musician if you can't sing in front of people yet? You have to find a way to slowly ease into it." So I thought the internet would be a cool way to do I because I just sing in front of a camera alone yet people can still hear me and ease me into the idea. My friends and family would watch them and they would know I can sing so it would be easier for me to sing in front of them because they had already heard me. It was the cheat's way of doing things really. [Laughs]

You recently graduated from High School. Were you a music student? What was school like for you?

I never really took music at school, which is really strange. There were courses but not like, vocal courses or anything like that but there was always band, music and choir but I never really got involved with that; probably because I was probably shy but I mainly did theatre and drama class so I did improv and lots of drama stuff in school so I was definitely a drama geek. Those weird drama theatre kids? That was me. I didn't really do any sports or things like that so I guess when other people were missing school for sports, I was missing it for drama class. I did a lot of writers craft English courses, poetry writing, things like that. I was really into that along with Art. But for Maths and Science I was really, really horrible. I would get like, 30s and 40s. I did very badly so I would have to do tutoring. Overall I was pretty average, I was just interested in the artsy stuff over the logic or sports stuff.

If you weren't doing music, what would you be doing? Have you ever thought about that?

I have! I think whatever I'd be doing, I'd still be an aspiring musician. There's other interests I have but I think this will always be the go-to thing; the big dream that I had. I'm interested in philosophy and psychology. I love the way the brain works or learning about that kind of stuff. I just like questioning things so I think philosophy would be an interesting thing to take but those are just hobbies for me.

You're originally from Canada and there appears to be a lot of successdul musicians coming out of Canada at the moment. Is there something of a music scene in Canada?

As much as I'd like to think there is, I really don't know! I don't think that there really is a huge one; maybe in the city in Toronto there are a lot of cafes and things that you can go to where you see cool underground artists, musicians, etc. I think when the rest of the world finds out about them I think we kind of do as well, which is very strange. I'm sure Drake came out in Canada before he came out anywhere else but to us, when we hear these people on the radio, it's like they pop out of nowhere to us too; well for me anyway. When I first heard The Weeknd or Drake, it was just on the radio and I was like "Oh, he's from here? I didn't even know!" I feel like it's the same for me, a lot of people from my city probably had no idea what I was doing. I guess it might be a coincidence that we're all from the same place.

I think in Hip-Hop, there's definitely a sound now, like, Drake, The Weeknd, PartyNextDoor - they've definitely established that sound. As far as the big scene, I don't really know if there is one. I think it's just a mixture of different things. Canada, especially Toronto and Brampton where I'm from, is a big, giant melting pot; there's culture everywhere! I went to school with like, a thousand different races of people. Races I didn't even know existed. That bleeds into the music and everything, there's packs of Jazz, Hip-Hop. It's everywhere. It's not just one thing.

Would you say your hometown has influenced and inspired your music?

I guess maybe more so the people that I've met, people that I've interacted with and things that have caused me to experience certain things like the party from 'Here'. I know there's definitely a scene of parties; they have these Brampton Jams and I think these things have influenced my writing because I'm experiencing things.

Coming from such a small suburban town, what was it like going to New York and meeting the people at Def Jam?

It was really amazing! It was strange because I just didn't expect it and I didn't know what to expect when going there and meeting with these people. It was my first time ever being involved in anything to do with music, like a music meeting and the fact that it was in New York was amazing because... it's New York! I got to see all these places and it's so different from where I'm from. Even in Toronto. Of course I've been to Toronto many times but it's on such a smaller scale compared to New York City. I feel like New York is Toronto x10. It just has this culture that's so gritty... I don't know, I just love going there.

What prompted your decision to call the album Know It All?

I think because the album conceptually is very opinionated; it's very much my experiences, my thoughts and I guess my views on the world and views on things or certain messages I want to get across to people. There's a song called 'Scars' where I talk about body image in young women. I'm trying to get this message across and I'm talking to these young woman and saying "You're beautiful, you don't have to do this, this or this." I'm talking and I'm trying to give these people advice and give myself advice like I know everything but at the end of the day I'm just a kid who really doesn't know much and I'm trying to figure it out. It's very much a sarcastic title.

Would you say that 'Here' and 'Wild Things' are accurate representations of the rest of the album?

I think every song stands out on their own but at the same time, it's all very much in the same vein. 'Wild Things' represents the more pop/alternative pop side of my album and 'Here' represents the more mellow, chilled side that I have on the album, so they represent different parts but at the same time, it's all my sound. My producers and everyone I've worked with have helped make this sound for me that I really love. Conceptually, they both represent what the rest of the album is. I have messages that I want to say to people that I hope they believe and I hope they understand. All I have are my experiences and what I think, so take it how you want it.

I know that you just announced a show in September, right?

Yes, September 12 and it's sold out already! I just found out that it's sold out, it's really cool!

Do you feel like an honorary member of the UK yet?

They've told me that I've been adopted by the UK now. It's nice to be adopted! I love it here, it's really cool.

It's probably a bit early to be considering this, what would you like your musical legacy to be?

Oh wow! As long as they remember me, first of all. That's my first goal! I don't want to be like "song of the summer" and then be like "Oh. What happened to that girl?" I've always been a huge fan of albums and classic albums so if I can leave behind at least one classic album that people always allude to or think that it's just really good and remembered as a body of work, that will be my biggest success I think. Just having an album that I created that left a mark on the world, that would be great.


Alessia Cara's Four Pink Walls EP is out on August 28th. Watch her perform 'Here' on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon by heading here.