Release Date: Aug 28, 2015
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B
The teenage wallflower anthem "Here," Alessia Cara's debut for Def Jam, was released in May 2015 and sounded nothing like the hits -- such as the Weeknd's "Earned It," Omarion's "Post to Be," and Rihanna's "B**** Better Have My Money" -- that were at or around the top of Billboard's R&B chart. Even with instant recognition of the Isaac Hayes sample that drives it, "Here" sounded distinct, not only because its tracing of social anxieties was so palpable, but also because Cara sounded remarkably poised for her age. None of the other four songs on Four Pink Walls, the Canadian singer and songwriter's debut EP, eclipses that Top Ten R&B single, but each one of them is sturdy, fusing and switching between smart pop and R&B constructions as Cara sings about growing up and falling in love.
If any lyrics succinctly capture Alessia Cara's music industry experience so far, it's the very relatable refrain, "What am I doing here?" from the 18-year-old Brampton, ON singer's single "Here." Cara flipped YouTube covers into a Def Jam recording contract, and "Here" is a deserved hit with a well-paced walking melody and Winehouse-clever writing. The introvert's house party nightmare somehow begat an extroverted Tonight Show performance.Pop stars used to be cast according to a strict industry playbook. Cara's ascension reveals an industry better equipped to partner with someone who's already proven her popularity.
Alessia Cara struck an introvert’s pose on her April debut, "Here", and found herself famous. The single’s sound perfectly matched the attitude of its lyrics: a minor-key piano loop anchored a surprisingly powerful series of verses about a miserable party experience. "Really, I would rather be at home by myself," Cara sang, demonstrating a well-defined personality and no small amount of self-assuredness.
The R&B slow-burners and bouncy pop jams on 19-year-old Canadian singer Alessia Cara's debut EP feel more like a personal manifesto than a party playlist. On her excellent single "Here," she's an "anti-social pessimist" brooding over a Portishead sample; on the joyous "Seventeen," she provides a savvy update on Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Later on, Four Pink Walls takes a turn toward retro soul, successfully channeling the conversational style of Cara's hero Amy Winehouse. "Went from 'when boredom strikes' to 'Ms.