It took just moments into “I’m Yours”, to see why the Juno award winning Alessia Cara was so heavily sought after by Def Jam Recordings.
The 19 year old’s sultry voice electrified the Vogue Theatre audience, practically leaping off of the stage and into the largely 16-24 year old female crowd.
The Canadian phenom’s swagger is already leaps and bounds beyond the meek artist that graced the Squamish Festival stage some eight months ago. Using the age-old technique of altering a lyric from “Baby, I’m yours”, to “Vancouver, I’m yours” only cemented and exacerbated the now all standing crowd’s adulation and high pitched screams of support.
In what proved to be the only glitch of the night, the band was forced to take an unscheduled break between the first and second song. After the usual salutations and welcoming banter Cara revealed “we’re just gonna have to wait a second while they fix somethin’… Anybody got any jokes?” she asked with a nervous laugh. “What do you call a fish with one eye? A fshhhh, get it? Fshhh.”
Upon no sign of the unspecified technical glitch having been resolved, Cara’s nervousness became apparent as she went on to introduce her band including Craig Strickland, who doubled that night as opener, for Cara as well as guitar player in the headliner’s accompaniment.
After introducing her father and manager, Cara introduced the crowd to itself. Seemingly at a loss for what else to say, her age and experience presented itself for only the briefest of moments.
With nothing but compassion and love for the Brampton, Ontario talent, the crowd erupted into cheers and screams of support as a visibly relieved Cara exclaimed through a charming smile “Alright we’re good…This next song is called “Wild Things”, if you know it? Sing it”.
Free from any other hindrances on the evening, Alessia Cara went on to perform an inspiring hour-long set. Playing her debut album “Know-It-All” in its entirety, as well as harkening back to her YouTube singer songwriter days covering one of her professed personal favourite tracks “Sweater Weather”, originally performed by California’s, The Neighbourhood.
Alessia Cara’s uncontrived sonic mix of Norah Jones meets Lauryn Hill with just a dash of Amy Winehouse (for good measure), somehow proves to be the rising star’s second best quality as a performer and artist. It’s in her genuine care and wholesome perspective that should give parents of any Cara fan solace. Often going out of her way to express gratitude and empowering messages through anecdotes of having felt doubt, both in herself as well as cast on her by others, Alessia’s messages almost always come back to the importance of a belief in oneself and emphasizing the importance of recognizing the value of inner beauty over that of fleeting outer aesthetics.
Seamlessly weaving her vocal styles through contemporary rhythm & blues to pop, light jazz and even tapping into the Def Jam family roots by dabbling in the hip/hop genre, Cara is a true ‘leader by example’.
Humbly dressed, emotionally mature, and rich in creativity, drive and raw talent, Alessia Cara adds to the growing list of talented musicians coming out of Canada, most notably Ontario.
Missing the ‘Know-It-All’ artist at The Vogue Theatre may have cost any recent Cara-convert (to her music) a few extra loonies. The modest asking price of this past go-around is not likely to be duplicated anytime soon. Nor the comforts and acoustics that the sixty plus year old Vogue Theatre so humbly provide. Larger venues and larger ticket prices are inevitable with this ascending Canadian star.