Alessia Cara | Photo by Morgan Smith for WXPN |

As much as Alessia Cara‘s songs might be about finding yourself, the singer-songwriter’s self-possessed nature betrays an old soul; as her drummer pounded out the intro to “I’m Yours” on Monday night, Cara took to the TLA’s stage with a presence that announced nothing less than that.

Unassumingly dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and her characteristic beanie, what drew the biggest reactions from the teenage crowd was less the soulfulness of her music, but rather her cathartic messages; she spoke to resonant issues that are so often drowned out by the industry’s preoccupation with bravado and lent her voice to the inward experiences of her fans. Judging by the signs waving in the crowd and her steady rise to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, the 19 year-old is certainly having an effect. She repeatedly thanked her audience for their role in propelling her to this point, beside herself at the changes its brought to her life.

On the ballad “Stars,” Cara segued into a cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” further displaying her vocal talents as she descended into the slower “Stone”, a song about the rocks we cling to in life. Resolutely her own person, Cara encouraged the same of her young audience, asking how many of them feel pressured to conform to society’s ideals. Expressing a frustration with the extremes that women go through to feel beautiful, Cara encouraged them to shed these pretenses with “Scars to Your Beautiful.”