Alessia Cara co-wrote all the music on her 2015 debut album, “Know-It-All,” but the end result felt hollow and stilted. That’s not to say that Cara’s songwriting was disingenuous — at points, she unfurls some youthful wisdom about letting go of juvenile insecurities, such as on the opening song, “Seventeen.” But any profound lyricism seemed constrained by “Know-It-All’s” robotic and formulaic sound. Three years later, Cara dialed things back a bit for “The Pains of Growing,” allowing more breathing room for prophetic life lessons thanks to a looser, R&B- and pop-fused production. “Know-It-All” was meant to be Cara’s grand entrance, but it was “The Pains of Growing” that turned out to be Cara’s real introduction to the world. Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Anthem. $40-$75.
Melina Mae Duterte, who records as Jay Som, had largely created music within her own solitary ecosystem, recording most of her work in her bedroom. But for her fourth record, “Anak Ko,” Duterte let some friends in on the recording process, including Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott and a full band. The collaborative effort spawned nine songs that seem to blossom in real time — in the case of “Devotion,” a feather-light, jazzy melody unravels into a dreamy haze of vocals. On “If You Want It,” a jangly guitar morphs into a psychedelic swirl of sound. It’s clear that Duterte is still very much in control on “Anak Ko,” but her guest collaborators bring newfound depth to her expansive sound. Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. at Rock and Roll Hotel. $18.
Originally from Kenya, J.S. Ondara moved to the United States in 2013, when he was 20 years old, to make it as a musician. His experiences as an immigrant living in the United States are documented on his debut album, “Tales of America,” on which his angelic voice soars above his steadfast roots ‘n’ rock instrumentation. Ondara croons about his lofty plans of coming to this country, and also reveals the pain that came with this move. “Well everybody there told me/This girl she ain’t good for your health/She ain’t good for your health/But I was head over heels,” he recounts on one of the record’s most heart wrenching songs, “Television Girl.” Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I. $20-$25.