2015 Artist of the Year: Alessia Cara

(Def Jam Recordings)

Alessia Cara is Roman’s Rap-Up’s ‘Artist of the Year’ for 2015. Her hit "Here" off her EP Four Pink Walls can be heard on any mainstream radio station. What made this hit unique, however, is its content and message. Instead of discussing relationships or partying like many of the popular songs on the radio, Cara's "Here" is based on a true story of being over the typical, shallow party scene. She explains that she'd rather be with her real friends having deep conversations than in a crowded room. It's candid, brutally honest, and so agreeable. This is how Cara dove onto the musical radar. Since the song exploded, she released her debut album Know-It-All that includes "Here" in addition to "Here (2 AM Version)," a brilliant title for a pianistic rendition of the song. For these reasons and more, Cara has rightfully earned Artist of the Year.

One main reason Cara has made huge strides in her career was touched on in regards to the success of "Here:" she writes openly about her life and her career start at a young age. Honesty is hard to come by and therefore valued in an artist's craft. Cara's song "Four Pink Walls" that inspired the name of her EP is about maturing quickly due to her early success. The listener assumes the walls are of her bedroom in the house she's grown up in; Cara explains the process of gaining fame and leaving behind her childhood. Cara used to complain about her simple life and now that her life has become busy due to her career, "those four pink walls, now I kinda miss them, man." It is a mixture of happiness that her dreams have come true but also an understanding of where she came from.

“Seventeen” is another song that demonstrates her maturity as a songwriter. This song holds a tone of nostalgia instead of excitement over her current rising star. Cara explains that she disregarded her parents’ advice to embrace her childhood while she still could, and now that her fame has risen, she realizes they were right. All Cara wanted to do was grow older and have a big career, but she failed to understand that she could miss the innocence of being seventeen. It unveils another side to Cara's journey. Even though she is still young for the music industry, her lyrical commentary demonstrates the reflection that huge talents like Adele didn't even provide in her early albums.

Cara excels to a lyrical and talent level that many young artists don’t achieve. She is beginning to tour since the album release, and we will definitely see more of Cara as she continues to grow and develop. It is difficult to be unique in an industry that has seen almost everything, but Cara has brought honesty to mainstream in a refreshing manner. Her vocal and instrumental talent, as she demonstrates in songs with piano, is to be noted due to its raw skill. She not only deserves breakout artist but also general Artist of the Year due because of her early successes rightfully earned.