Alessia Cara

Before She Knew It All

In the fall of 2014, I was introduced to a then 18-year-old Alessia thanks to a connection my former partner had made with her management team.  All I knew was that she was a young Canadian girl, known for her YouTube videos, singing in her bedroom, who had recently been signed to Def Jam.  She and her father were going to be in New York for a few weeks recording & we were able to tag along a couple times.

She was so sweet & down to earth & in certain ways, reminded me of myself at that age - a little bit shy & awkward, still figuring out how to style my curly hair & just generally obsessed with music.  I always loved singing, but knew by then that I didn't have it in me to perform or record & actually take it seriously.  But Alessia had a comfortable ease about her when she stepped in the booth & was fearlessly ready for the next steps.  

While they were still in NYC, we arranged to do a press & publicity style shoot out & about in the city & then later on in the studio where she was recording.   We had a quick breakfast together so we had time to chat & get to know both Alessia & her father before we started shooting.   There's something about most Canadians I've met that always remind me of the Minnesotans I was surrounded by growing up, so I felt right at home!  

The shoot wasn't a full on production by any means - no stylist or hair & makeup.  In fact, she ended up wearing the black zip up shirt I had on that day for a few of  the photos just so we had some more variety!  She wasn't regularly wearing makeup at that time, so she was completely fresh-faced & natural throughout the whole shoot, which felt like the appropriate way to capture that stage of her career that was just about to take off.

One year later in 2015, she released her debut album "Know It All" & it's been exciting to watch her success ever since!