Alessia Cara Becomes The Life Of The Party A reluctant party-goer, the 19-year old Ontario singer turns an anti-party hit into a celebration of her talents. "Nothing is unrealistic anymore," Cara says of her success.
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Alessia Cara Becomes The Life Of The Party

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Alessia Cara Becomes The Life Of The Party

Alessia Cara Becomes The Life Of The Party

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Singer Alessia Cara was never one for the party scene. So it's fitting that her song "Here" became a popular anti-party anthem. The song is on Cara's debut album called "Know-It-All." She spoke to NPR's Daniel Hajek about the record and the song that has everyone talking.

DANIEL HAJEK, BYLINE: It may have been written as an anti-party anthem, but this song entitled "Here" is exactly what you'd want at the top of your party mix playlist.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE")

ALESSIA CARA: (Singing) I'm sorry if I seem uninterested. I'm not listening. No, I'm indifferent.

HAJEK: It all started when Cara was stuck at a lame teenage house party.

CARA: It just felt so uncomfortable. And I just realized that I'm not good with parties because there's nothing for me there. And I feel like there's just no point. Like, what are we celebrating? What are we doing here, you know?

HAJEK: It was so bad, she had to call her mom to pick her up.

CARA: I just went home, and then made the song the day after.

HAJEK: The people that threw that party, did they realize they inspired this song?

CARA: Yeah, they do. The guy knows - he knows. And he says, like, I'm happy for your success, but, like, my party wasn't that bad.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE")

CARA: (Singing) Why am I here, oh, here, oh, here? Oh, I ask myself what am I doing here?

HAJEK: Before her Def Jam record deal and performance alongside The Roots on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," Cara was a shy high school kid who spent most of her time in her room. She'd hide away in her closet to record songs that she'd post on YouTube, and that's how she got discovered.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOUR PINK WALLS")

CARA: (Singing) I grew up memorizing all the cracks in the wall, staring up at the ceiling watching particles fall. See, I prayed every day for a change...

HAJEK: She's 19 now, and Cara already feels nostalgic for those days. This song, "Four Pink Walls," is an ode to her very first studio - her bedroom back home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOUR PINK WALLS")

CARA: (Singing) I knew there was a life behind those four pink walls.

You know how you make up scenarios in your head of how things are going to go? That's all I had. So I just remember, like, having fake interviews with myself about albums that didn't exist, like selling out huge stadiums and doing things that were completely seemingly unrealistic. But now I realize that nothing is unrealistic anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOUR PINK WALLS")

CARA: (Singing) Those four pink walls.

HAJEK: Alessia Cara, her new album is called "Know-It-All." Daniel Hajek, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M YOURS")

CARA: (Singing) Some nerve you have to break up my lonely...

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