Alessia Cara Premieres Her Powerful New Video for “Scars to Your Beautiful”
The singer explains why the song is so important to her.
On Monday, July 11th (which also happens to be her 20th birthday), Alessia Cara premiered the video for “Scars to Your Beautiful,” the third single from last year’s excellent Know-It-All. The song is more than just an empowering anthem; it’s an affirmation of self-love and acceptance. The video, conceived by Alessia herself, features cancer survivors, transgender people, and others telling their stories and embracing their own beauty. We’ve heard songs like this in the past, but as Alessia steps up to the podium as one of the more prominent pop voices of her generation, it’s a message that needs to be repeated again and again. Her fans will get that in real time once more, as Alessia, who is touring with Coldplay, preps her headlining “Know-It-All Part Two” tour for the fall. Alessia recently spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about the concept behind the video, and how the song’s theme is something everyone needs to hear — even those in the spotlight.
So the video for “Scars to Your Beautiful” made me cry.
Really? Oh, I’m glad! Well, I mean, I’m not glad that you cried, but I’m glad that it affected you. I think that was our goal — to make people feel something.
It was such a powerful video, but the song alone is powerful too. It’s kind of like a contemporary version of TLC’s “Unpretty.”
Yeah, yeah! Even like Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” A couple of female artists have done it in the past, and I wanted to put my own spin on it because I feel like you can never have too many reminders and too many songs talking about those things. It was important to put that in my own words and remind people that they are beautiful no matter what.
How did you come up with the concept for the video?
I wanted to do this kind of video for a very long time. Since we had this song — and since we knew it was going to be a single — I had this vision of many different cinematic shots of different kinds of people. I wanted all kinds of people — young, old, whatever their situation, whether it’s visible scars, non-visible scars — just a bunch of different women, and there are some men in there as well because it can reach out to guys too. But I wanted real shots of real people telling their stories, and showing the story through little vignettes.
JoJo is also in the video. How did she come to be a part of it?
Oh my gosh, she’s amazing. We have the same management team and we’ve known each other for a little bit now. She’s been supporting my music for a while and I’ve loved her since forever, so we just asked her to be in it and she was like, “Yeah!” It was really cool to have [her] too, because I felt like it was important to have a public figure in the video. A lot of the time, people don’t realize that public figures have these insecurities too. They’re always in the spotlight and they may seem like they have it all together, but they don’t always have it all together, you know? It’s actually very difficult to be in the public and to be a female and to feel confident every day with all the social media and all these opinions of people.
Did you have those feelings too coming right from high school into being a star?
Definitely a little bit, yeah, because you don’t really know what to expect, right? I started around 17, 18 when I really got into it all, and just being a teenager, [I wasn’t] really sure of myself anyway. When we’re that young, regardless if we’re in the industry or not, we’re still trying to figure ourselves out and we’re still trying to love ourselves in the best way. When you’re going into this world of the industry, it could add more stress and more confusion. There are so many opinions being thrown at you and it’s almost like you don’t know which ones to believe or if you should believe any of them, and you’re just trying to block out all the noise and figure yourself out. But it’s hard to do that when there are so many opinions of you and of what you should be. Once I learned to block that out, I sort of came into my own and found who I really am. I think I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was when I first started, for sure.
Have fans reached out about the message behind this song?
Yeah, all the time actually. The majority of the messages I get about my music are usually about that song, which is really impactful and amazing because, of course, that’s the point of the song. I’m just really glad that it’s resonating with people. It’s not only young women, it’s older women sometimes, and I’ll get messages from guys as well just saying that they appreciate the song and they feel it and they understand, which is a beautiful thing. Even when I perform it, I feel like people just get really emotional in the audience, which is beautiful to me because again, that’s why we made the song. I want people to feel something. I want people to feel like they’re not alone.