Alessia Caracciolo, known as Alessia Cara, was born in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, a city just outside Toronto, where she attended Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School. She is of Italian descent from Calabria; her father was born in Canada, to Italian parents, and her mother is an Italian immigrant. As a child, she wrote poetry and did theater. At the age of 10 she began playing guitar and taught herself how to play various songs. At the age of 13 she began her own YouTube channel where she posted covers of songs that she performed.