Alessia Cara debuted this empowering self-love anthem during her performance on September 28, 2015 at the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Cara said to her fans before premiering the song. "The standards that we have to kind of face as young women in everyday life just to feel, or look a certain way, or act a certain way, because there's a lot of pressure being a young girl, and just girls and women in general," she said. "So I wanted to make a reminder to just love yourself and appreciate yourself no matter what."
The visual shows various corners of society testifying to how they learned to recognize their individual beauty. "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," Cara explained to Cosmopolitan.
"I wanted all kinds of people - young, old, whatever their situation, whether it's 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."
The song was inspired by a traumatic experience in Cara's early teenage years when she started losing her hair in chunks in the shower. The Canadian recalled in an essay for Glamour magazine:
"It was one of the scariest things. It got to the point where it was visibly gone. I struggled with that a lot, especially going into high school. You have so many pressures - what people are going to think of you - and I was going into it losing all my hair. I had, like, nothing left. It was patches of missing hair that people would point out, because people are mean in high school."
Cara had to learn to accept her hair after her upsetting experience. She wrote: "I want 'Scars to Your Beautiful' to reach different types of women. The girl I am talking about, it's me, it's you - it's every girl who has struggled with feeling not good enough. I want to talk about all the different extremes that girls go through to feel beautiful."
Alessia Cara performed the song on the February 4, 2017 episode of Saturday Night Live along with the piano-driven ballad "River of Tears."
This reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart. According to Billboard magazine, it was the first ever song by an artist whose initials are AC to lead the AC chart, since the survey's debut in July 1961.
When Cara performed this song at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, she started with a a glamorous look that was gradually stripped down to her natural look with no makeup. She won the award for Best Dance Video at the ceremony for her collaboration with Zedd, "Stay