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Alessia Cara Continues To Be A Role Model Amid Grammy Backlash

On Sunday night, we cheered with the rest of Canada and music fans around the world when Alessia Cara was named Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards. Embracing her mother before taking the stage to accept the award, Cara looked shocked and ecstatic as she became the first Canadian to ever win the Grammy for Best New Artist. Not only that, but Cara was also the sole female winner in a major category during Sunday night’s show.

What should have been a crowning achievement in a career that has already boasted so many well-deserved high moments for Cara was unfortunately shot down online by bullies who tweeted the singer, accusing her of not being a deserving winner. The validity of Cara being considered a ‘new’ artist was questioned, while others demanded that her fellow nominees SZA, Julia Michaels, Khalid, and Lil Uzi Vert take home the Grammy instead.

Cara responded to the backlash on her Instagram account on Monday following the award show, with a post that acts as a stark reminder that bullying affects everyone. Reminding her fans and Internet trolls that Cara did not nominate herself for Best New Artist, the singer wrote, “I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for. I meant everything I said about everyone deserving the same shot. there is a big issue in the industry that perpetuates the idea that an artist’s talent and hard work should take a back seat to popularity and numbers.”

Noting her success over the past year, Cara continues, writing “I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. but I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have.”

Continue to be a role model all fans can look up to, Cara admitted her own insecurities in the post, while at the same time refusing to let the words of others bring her down. “I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offence to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck. here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me. despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a shit. all of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process.”

to address the apparent backlash regarding winning something I had no control over: I didn’t log onto grammy.com and submit myself. that’s not how it works. I didn’t ask to be submitted either because there are other artists that deserve the acknowledgment. but I was nominated and won and I am not going to be upset about something I’ve wanted since I was a kid, not to mention have worked really hard for. I meant everything I said about everyone deserving the same shot. there is a big issue in the industry that perpetuates the idea that an artist’s talent and hard work should take a back seat to popularity and numbers. and I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday, I’m aware that, yes, my music has become fairly popular in the last year. but I’m trying very hard to use the platform I’ve been given to talk about these things and bring light to issues that aren’t fair, all while trying to make the most of the weird, amazing success I’ve been lucky enough to have. I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offence to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck. here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat u to it. And that’s why this means a lot to me. despite my 183625 insecurities, I’ve been shown that what I’ve created is worth something and that people actually give a shit. all of the years feeling like I wasn’t good at anything or that I was naive for dreaming about something improbable have paid off in a way that I have yet to process. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but it’s the honest truth. thanks to everyone who’s shown me kindness and support along the way. I’ll stop talking now.

A post shared by ALESSIA CARA (@alessiasmusic) on

What constitutes an artist as ‘new’ has always been open to interpretation. Cara’s debut single “Here” dropped in 2015, but fellow nominee SZA has been releasing music since 2012. Julia Michaels released her first solo single “Issues” in 2017, but she’s been writing music for other Grammy winning artists for years. Khalid’s “Location” was released in 2016 and charted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists Chart. As for Lil Uzi Vert, the rapper has been dropping mixtapes since 2015.

Looking back on the Best New Artist award at the Grammys, clarity on what is defined as new becomes even murkier. Lauryn Hill took home the award in 1999 as a solo artist, though she had already been successful for years as part of The Fugees. Alanis Morissette was nominated in 1996 following the release of Jagged Little Pill, but many in Canada already knew the grunge rock queen as a pop princess from her earlier years. So, what’s truly new?

Semantics aside, Cara’s win is an achievement that should not be diminished in any way. In only a short time, the 21-year-old singer has provided her young fan base with anthems of non-conformity (“Here,”), self love (“Scars To Your Beautiful”), and mental health advocacy (“1-800-273-8255”) and has continued to be a role model worthy of a podium at every award show she’s ever attended.