Alessia Cara w/ Craig Cardiff @ The Danforth Music Hall 1/17/2016

I make it no secret here that I’m a big fan of popular music. Just because I write about indie music doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a pop song. Anyways, Alessia Cara played two sold out hometown shows at The Danforth Music Hall and I managed to snag tickets for the Sunday.

I arrived half an hour after doors and squeezed myself in between a bunch of tweens. I was probably the oldest person who wasn’t with a child. Most of the kids had never been to a show before and assumed that Alessia would be coming out immediately, but they were surprised by a much older singer-songwriter named Craig Stickland. He sang simple acoustic guitar pop songs about topics that might be too old for the audience like “Liquor Store Blues” and a song about breaking the rules to be with someone, which is super awkward when you’re in a room full of people under 19.

When Alessia Cara finally did come on she proved to already have outgrown the Danforth. Her vocals soared naturally above the band that was missing bassist Dean Jarvis who was out due to a family emergency. Everything about Cara seemed effortless, there was so much control in her voice for someone so young. There was only one time during “I’m Yours” that I thought she pushed a bit too hard but the rest of the set came through with such confidence, I can’t wait to see where she’s at a few years from now, when she’s even more confident with her vocals. The ballad “Stars” took our breaths away.

The moment that everyone was waiting for (“Here”) came pre-encore, but already she had proven to be much bigger than that one song.

During the encore we were treated with the cover song that started it all, The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather”. Her beginnings were humble, she literally started from a simple Youtube Channel where she would film herself singing in washrooms and closets. There was something very believable about Cara’s personal brand. She refused to let the industry dress her, sporting a simple black T-shirt which she drew the design herself, a different one every day. “If the world doesn’t like how you look it’s them that needs to change not you,” said Cara. This is one role model that makes me proud of future generations.