Alessia Cara was nominated alongside Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels and SZA

By Jeff Nelson
January 28, 2018 08:18 PM
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“Holy cow. Wow, I’m shaking,” Cara gushed as she began her acceptance speech. “I’ve been pretending to win Grammys since I was a kid in my shower. You would think I have the speech thing down but I don’t. Thank you to my parents and brother for believing in me and supporting my dream even when it felt really far-fetched and unrealistic.”

She continued, thanking her team, the Recording Academy, “and my fans for standing by me and for being so supportive and amazing. This is for you. You guys are the reason I don’t have to win Grammys in my shower anymore.”

Cara was nominated for the honor — one of the “big four” Grammy categories — alongside Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels and SZA.

After accepting the Grammy, the singer told PEOPLE winning the coveted award still didn’t feel real.

“I know it sounds really cliche, I didn’t expect this but I’m just such a huge fan of all the artists that were nominated so I would have been just as happy if they won,” she said. “I probably won’t process this for another seven years.”

As for what’s next, Cara said she’s been hard at work in the studio.

“I am working on a new album right now,” she said. “I’m really excited about it, I’m really proud of it. It’s really honest.”

All five of the nominees went into the awards show coming off an incredibly successful year.

Alessia Cara
Kevin Winter/Getty

“There are incredible artists out there who are making incredible music and deserve to be acknowledged [and they] don’t always get acknowledged because of popularity contests or numbers games,” Cara added. “And that’s kind of unfortunate, so I want to encourage people to support real music and real artists because everyone deserves the same shot. That goes for everyone not only in the industry, but everyone deserves the same shot. Thank you so much. My mind is blown.”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s big night.

Though many felt Cara, 21, was snubbed in 2017, she nabbed four nominations at the 2018 show. In addition to best new artist, she was up for song of the year and best music video (for Logic’s “1-800-273-8255,” also featuring Khalid) and best pop duo/group performance for her Zedd collab “Stay.”

Breakout 19-year-old Khalid Robinson (he goes mononymously) scored five nominations this year, including song of the year and best music video (also for Logic’s “1-800-273-8255”), best R&B song for his hit single “Location” and best urban contemporary album for his solo debut American Teen.

In addition to his best new artist nod, hip-hop newcomer Lil Uzi Vert (born Symere Woods, 23) was nominated for best rap performance with Migos for the trio’s smash “Bad and Boujee.” Songwriter-turned-pop star Julia Michaels, 24, has written 16 Hot 100 hits for other artists, from Britney Spears to Justin Bieber; she also scored two nominations, including a song of the year nod for her debut single “Issues.”

RELATED VIDEO: Here’s the List of Nominees for the 2018 Grammy Awards

And soulful chanteuse SZA, 27, garnered five nominations, making her the most-recognized female artist at the 2018 Grammys. The singer, a.k.a. Solána Imani Rowe, was also nominated for best R&B song (“Supermodel”), best rap/sung collaboration (“Love Galore” with Travis Scott), best urban contemporary album (Ctrl) and best R&B performance (“The Weekend”).

The 60th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, were broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

  • Reporting by MAGGIE PARKER