The making of Alessia Cara‘s new album saw the singer in some “really dark, weird moments” — but now that the fruit of her labor is finally on shelves, she’s on cloud nine.
Cara, 25, released her third album, In the Meantime, mês passado, and sang her latest single “Best Days” and a cover of Nelly Furtado'S 2000 bater “I’m Like a Bird” para ela iHeartRadio album release party, clips from which PEOPLE is exclusively previewing ahead of its Thursday premiere.
The singer says that going into her new album, she tried to keep expectations low on the heels of her sophomore effort, 2018'S The Pains of Growing.
“Especially after the craziness of the past year, I’m just excited to put something out,” ela diz a PEOPLE. “I didn’t really know what was going to happen, but the reaction has been very, very kind and wonderful and great, so I’m very happy.”
Na verdade, it’s because of that craziness — and in turn, the ability to step back, unwind and reflect — that the album turned out just the way it did.
“I’ve been doing this for the last seven years, which entails a lot of traveling and distraction and you don’t even have time to process your feelings when you’re so go go go,” ela diz. “I think if I hadn’t had the time to actually be with myself and be stuck with myself and have these really dark, weird moments, I don’t think I would have been able to be as honest as I was on this project or discover the things that I did.”
As for her newest single “Best Days,” Cara says she was writing another song called “Box in the Ocean” when she was struck by a particular line that said, “One of my best days is the days I left behind.”
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“I was at this New Years party I was having, where I had all my friends and family there. I’d just gotten a new apartment – life was, in theory, tão, so good,” ela lembra. “And I just remember feeling like, ‘What am I even celebrating if all the good days I’ve ever had are over?'”
Despite the negative thoughts, Cara was able to pour her feelings into songwriting, which she uses as a coping mechanism.
“That’s how I get through things,” ela diz.
Cara’s iHeartRadio album release party is streaming here starting on Thursday.