Alessia Cara wrote a ton of songs for her upcoming fifth studio album. Like, 40. You’ll get to hear a fraction of those fresh tracks next week when the Grammy-winning singer drops two new singles, “Sweet Dream” and “Shapeshifter.” In interview with Billboard‘s Chelsea Briggs, Cara also reveals that the new album finds her “experimenting a lot sonically.”
Describing the songs that made the cut as “a lot more fun and a lot more experimental,” Cara explains that the project just feels more mature to her, kind of like Alessia 2.0, “like a newer version of me which I’m really excited to showcase.” The singles, the first new music from Cara in more than a year, will drop on July 15, with “Dream” taking on her real-life battle with insomnia.
“I’ve always struggled with falling asleep my whole life, and being in quarantine, being alone, I didn’t have a lot going on in my life, so I was like, ‘I need to write about this,'” she says. She adds that the other song, “Shapeshifter,” is even more personal for her, as she got to work with her idol Amy Winehouse’s producer, Salaam Remi Gibbs, on it.
“I got to write it in the room and house where she [Winehouse] wrote all of Back to Black — which was so crazy for me,” says Cara. “It was just one of those full circle, beautiful, magical moments. Working with Salaam was amazing because they were so close.”
The 24-year-old singer has been on a rocket ride to fame since gaining attention in her late teens, a disorienting journey that she says she sees mirrored in “Drivers License” singer Olivia Rodrigo’s seemingly overnight stardom. “It seems like she’s got it down, but I just guess … stay firm in your beliefs and in who you are,” she advises. “My manager always tells me that the things that you say no to are often more important than the things you say yes to. So I would say that. Stand your ground and don’t be afraid to say no. And ‘no’ is a full sentence.”
And in case you were wondering, for now, there are no collabs on the album, but Cara definitely has her sights set on one person she’d love to get in the booth with: Anderson .Paak. “I would love for him to get on a song, so who knows,” she shares. “Maybe if he’s watching this. I don’t know why he would watch an interview with me … but CALL ME!”