By Mary Sollosi
December 03, 2018 at 08:02 PM EST

“I’m a nervous wreck,” Alessia Cara said at KIIS-FM’s Jingle Ball in Los Angeles on Friday night. And with good reason — the show took place the same day as the release of her sophomore album, The Pains of Growing.

“[My head] is in the clouds. I keep having these moments of on-and-off nerves, where I’ll be fine, and then I remember that it’s out and then I freak out, and then I go back to normal and then I freak out again,” Cara told EW backstage before her set at the annual holiday concert. “It’s so insane because I’ve had this thing in my head for so long, you know? I’ve been writing it in my head for years, and I’ve been officially writing it for a year and a half, so the fact that it’s out now is just crazy. [But] I am relieved. It’s a good feeling, whatever it is I’m feeling. Even if it feels like anxiety, it’s a good type of anxiety.”

Rob Hoffman/iHeart Radio

Looking back on 2018, Cara said she appreciates having been able to spend the last year “learning how to be a better songwriter and figuring out how to make songs out of the things I was feeling. That was so satisfying for me, and so fulfilling.” Looking ahead, she expects that touring the album “will probably take up the whole 2019 for me. I can’t wait to perform the songs live.”

Dua Lipa, who also appeared on the star-studded Jingle Ball program, is on an opposite schedule as she rings in the new year, with one show left to go on her Self-Titled Tour. “Touring [has] just been the most amazing whirlwind ever. I never expected to go all over the world — about three times. I’m just so grateful for it all,” she said backstage, singling out performing at the Brit Awards as a highlight.

“Everything about this whole year has been my absolute favorite, and I’m just so excited for 2019 and for new music,” Lipa continued — but she wouldn’t say more than that. “Just new music, that’s all I can tell you for now!”

Bazzi was similarly tight-lipped about his plans for next year. “Just getting out more music, expressing myself more artistically, and getting these feelings out of my system and for the world… [but] nothing we can spill right now,” he said. Looking back on 2018, during which he released his debut album, Cosmic, the “Beautiful” singer said he’s “most grateful for just getting my album out. It’s such a good representation of me and the last couple years of my life, so getting it out felt really good.”

In the spirit of the evening, a celebration of radio, Bazzi shared his memory of the first time he heard the single on the airwaves. “It had already been going crazy at radio before I actually even heard it on radio,” he recalled. “I was walking down the street in Hollywood and someone drove by me in their car, listening to the song. It was super-late at night and it was really dark, they couldn’t see me, but my stomach dropped all the way to my feet, and I was like, ‘Holy s—, that’s insane.’ It was crazy.”

“I was in London. It was on Radio 1. Annie Mac was playing ‘Be the One,’” Lipa remembered of her radio debut. “I completely lost my mind. I couldn’t believe I was hearing my song on the radio. I had all my friends sending me messages the second they heard it. It was a really special moment, it was one that I’ll never forget. But it never gets old! I still get really excited. I get a bit shy, but I get really excited.”

“I was in Florida, somewhere in Florida, I was in the car doing radio promo,” Cara said. “I remember being so discouraged because nobody wanted to play the song [‘Here’]. And we were going to different cities just trying to get people to listen to me, and it came on, on the radio. And that was not only insane for me because my song was on the radio, but it proved to me that whatever I was doing was finally paying off, and that people were starting to care, which was the best feeling.”

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