Album: Four Pink Walls (2015)
Charted: 28 5
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara began playing guitar at the age of 10 and started her own YouTube channel three years later. Her acoustic selection of covers, which ranged from Beyoncé to Gnarls Barkley, grabbed the attention of Def Jam, and she signed with EP Entertainment and Def Jam Recordings in 2015. This is the lead single from Cara's debut EP, Four Pink Walls.
  • Produced by Pop & Oak and Sebastian Kole, the song is about a real-life experience of Cara, when she realized how much she hated going to parties. A gathering she attended in 2013 sparked the song.

    "It was a packed party in a basement," she explained to NME. "Everyone seemed to know each other, but not me. It was sweaty, there was a guy and girl passed out with vomit all over her, people were just stepping over them. I called my mom and got her to pick me up."
  • This borrows from Isaac Hayes' "Ike's Rap II," a track from the American singer's 1971 double-album, Black Moses. The sample was previously used by Portishead for their 1994 classic trip-hop single "Glory Box."

    "There was something missing in the low end of the song," Cara told NME. "So Pop & Oak took a piece of the Isaac Hayes track and looped it."
  • There are many "party" songs out there, but very few anti-party songs, where instead of trying to get the party started or keep it going, the singer wants to leave it. This opposite perspective resonated with listeners who could relate to the sentiment.
  • Jam! Music asked Cara if the song's scenario is indicative of her personality. She replied: "I don't necessarily think I'm anti-social or overly shy in situations. I think I'm quite opposite a lot of the times. I'm like outgoing. I'm very loud. I like doing fun things.

    But when it comes to parties like that, like the one that I experienced, like in the song, I just realized how much I switch my personality and how it made me feel so small and quiet and shy and I knew that wasn't like me. So that's why I felt the urge to write about it because it's crazy how a situation can sometimes make you feel so unlike yourself and so uncomfortable and I realized, you know, 'I can't be the only one who feels this way.' And I wanted to give a different perspective on the kid who isn't enjoying the party."
  • Cara made her television debut performing this song during the July 29, 2015 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Fallon revealed that he insisted to his producers that the young Canadian songstress be booked on his program after he came across "Here."
  • When Cara performs this song, there is often a disconnect between the subject matter and the atmosphere. Concerts and TV appearances typically have a party vibe, but the song is very specifically about wanting to leave the party. The result is often an amped-up audience incongruently singing along to lyrics like:

    I would rather be at home all by myself not in this room

    I can't wait till we can break up outta here

    The most extreme example was Cara's performance on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.
  • Alessia Cara got the actual people from the party she is singing about to appear in the music video. The Canadian singer told "A lot of them are friends from school and stuff and it was kind of a reputation of mine that I didn't really like to go out and party, so everyone knew I was awkward anyway."

    "You'd think there would be a lot persuading involved but I really didn't have to persuade them much. I just kind of said, 'do you want to do this?' and they were surprisingly sweet about it," Cara added. "They waited around all day just a film a 10-second scene, but it was incredible they were very involved in it which was great."
  • Singer-songwriter Sebastian Kole first began working with his EP Entertainment labelmate Alessia Cara in 2014. He recalled the penning of this song to Billboard magazine:

    "For writing 'Here,' it was a Sunday afternoon and everyday, I would have [Alessia] either email me or text me what's on her mind 'cause I didn't want to just write a bunch of songs [for her]. I wanted to really paint who Alessia is.

    On this particular day, I said 'What'd you do this weekend?' And she said, 'I went to a party and I hated it.' And I was like, 'Why'd you hate it?' And she was like, 'Well, I just didn't feel like I fit in.' As soon as she said that, I heard, 'I'm sorry if I seem uninterested' and I was like I got it."
  • Alessia Cara already had the song's skeleton when she presented it to Pop and Oak during their first session together. After she sang the hook to the pair, Felder immediately thought of "Glory Box." He recalled to Songwriter Universe:

    "I was looking at Pop and I'm going, 'Oh my God, this chord progression almost sounds like a Portishead song that I grew up listening to.' Now, I'm a '90s kid, so Portishead was a big deal, especially in Europe. But of course, Pop, not having grown up in Europe, said, 'No bro, this doesn't sound like Portishead, it sounds like Isaac Hayes.' So we get into a 10-minute argument about it. Eventually, he played me what he's thinking we should use, and I'm like, 'I'll be damned…this is Portishead.' I didn't know that Portishead had sampled Isaac Hayes. So we were both referencing the same material without even knowing it.

    Then we presented it to Alessia and she loved it. She said, 'Oh my God, this is such a good idea.' And from that point, the song came together in about an hour…it flew together. After that first session, we kept on going... it turned into two weeks of sessions. We had a great chemistry, and we kept putting songs together so effortlessly."
  • Looking back on this song in 2017, Cara told Entertainment Weekly: "It came from growing up and not relating to a lot of the other artists that were in the pop scene. 'Why do they all feel like they need to look the same? Why are people making them look the same? Why can't someone who looks like me and dresses like me and talks like me be successful?' I was always questioning why it has to be that way, and then I realized, it really doesn't. I wanted to see if I could get away with being myself."


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