Alessia Cara Debuts 'Not Today,' Shares the Lesson She Learned From John Mayer

Alessia Cara
Brick Howze

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara premiered her new song "Not Today" Tuesday (Nov. 13) on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show on Apple Music and spoke of the it's-okay-to-throw-a-pity-party message behind it. The song is taken from The Pains of Growing, due Nov. 30, the long-awaited follow-up to her 2015 breakthrough debut, Know-It-All. The Canadian singer will also take over Lowe's show on Nov. 19.

"'Not Today' was one of the last songs I actually wrote for the record. Something happened to me that made me write a lot of new songs. I went through the end of a relationship, and just really, really bad terms. So the song to me was like that grieving period in the middle of healing, I guess, or the moment or the period of time before you actually get to the healing stage," she told Lowe of her breakup.

"There's a stage that we don't often talk about a lot or try to rush through, which is not very good, where you need to kind of grieve whatever you lost or whatever's going on and you have to just go through the period where you feel miserable and that's what this song is about. It's about like in between phase and reminding myself that things do get better, of course, but it's okay to just say, 'You know what, not today. Today I need to be in bed. I need to be sad and just throw myself a pity party.'"

Cara, now 22, also told Lowe that something John Mayer said got her to change her mindset somewhat and think about the world a little differently. When the world's troubles seem so large and overwhelming, it's okay to take pleasure in your own life and friends.

"I was watching John Mayer's live, he has a little live show that he does on Instagram yesterday, and he said something about, 'Our big world and our small world.' I thought that was so interesting, 'cause we have our small world, which is our personal life, and then we have the big world, which is everything that's going on in the world," Cara explained.

"He's made a great point about remembering that it's okay to just live in the small world, and manage your small world little by little. And be like, 'Yes, all this stuff is going on around us, and that's ... a lot of it is horrible,' but, you can say, 'Okay, but I had a good day with my friends today.' It's just about seeing light in your own small world sometimes.

"I think it is ultimately good to be aware, but it's also just kind of jarring to realize that this is the world that we live in, and we have to find ways to cope. But I think, it's just important to find some way, I don't know how, to see light in whatever's going on, and to know that we're going be okay."

When Cara takes over Lowe's show on No. 19, she will apparently be playing Anderson .Paak's "Who R U?" and an artist she just met called Rosalía.

"Isn't she the 'up next' artist right now?" Cara asked.

"Look at you," said Lowe, "being all tapped into Apple Music! Stop being such a pro!"

Cara: "Come on, I was going to say, if you were gone a little bit longer, I would've taken over the whole thing. You wouldn't have been able to come back."