Alessia Cara isn’t “Here” for the criticism.
Taking to Instagram, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter addressed those who took issue with her winning the Best New Artist Grammy on Sunday (Jan. 28), despite the fact that her platinum-selling debut album Know-It-All dropped in 2015.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Last night, Cara beat out SZA, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, and Julia Michaels for the Best New Artist distinction. Critics complained about her qualifications due to the fact that she first emerged with 2015’s “Here,” which went 3x platinum in the U.S. alone, and peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100. Alessia directly addressed those complaints in her lengthy caption.
“I’m aware that my music wasn’t released yesterday,” she wrote. “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.”
Alessia has not released her sophomore album yet. However, she’s had massive success with collaborations like Zedd’s “Stay,” which peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 and Logic’s “1-800-273-8255,” which reached No. 3. She performed the latter single, a suicide prevention anthem, on Music’s Biggest Night.
Cara, who only won one of the four Grammys she was nominated for, said that she is proud of her win and that she won’t allow negativity to bring her down. “I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking [offense] to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck,” she added. “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.”
This isn’t the first time the Best New Artist category has led to confusion. In fact, the Grammys addressed the intricacies just last year, after Ed Sheeran won the award. “Essentially, a ‘new artist’ is defined for the Grammy process as any performing artist or established performing group who releases, during the eligibility year, the recording that first establishes the public identity of that artist or established group as a performer,” explained The Recording Academy. “A Grammy nomination in a performance category in a prior year disqualifies an artist from competing in this category, unless the nomination came from a single or a guest spot on another artist’s recording, and the artist hadn’t yet released a full album.”