Alessia Cara wrote her new single in the same room where her idol, Amy Winehouse, wrote her final album

Mindy Small/FilmMagic

One of Alessia Cara‘s idols is Amy Winehouse, so she was thrilled when, for one of the two singles she’s releasing next week, she got to work with Amy’s producer, Salaam Remi. But as Alessia tells Billboard, the connection went even deeper than that.

Speaking about her single “Shapeshifter,” Alessia says, “I got to write it in the room and house where [Amy] wrote all of Back to Black, which was so crazy for me. It was just one of those full-circle, beautiful, magical moments. Working with Salaam was amazing because they were so close.”

Back to Black was Amy’s final album before her tragic death in 2011 at age 27. It won her five Grammys, including Best Pop Vocal Album.

The other single Alessia’s putting out next week is called “Sweet Dream,” which Alessia says is about her insomnia. “I’ve always struggled with falling asleep my whole life, and being in quarantine, being alone, I didn’t have a lot going on in my life, so I was like, ‘I need to write about this,'” she tells Billboard.

Asked what advice she’d give Olivia Rodrigo, who’s experiencing stardom at the same age at which the now 24-year-old Alessia first did, the Canadian Grammy-winner says, “It seems like she’s got it down, but I just guess … stay firm in your beliefs and in who you are.”

“My manager always tells me that the things that you say no to are often more important than the things you say yes to,” she adds. “So I would say that. Stand your ground and don’t be afraid to say no. And ‘no’ is a full sentence.”

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