Cara beat out Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, SZA, and Julia Michaels to receive the title of best new artist.
The singer, who admitted her nervousness while accepting the award, said, “You think I’d have the speech thing down, but I absolutely don’t.”
“Support real music and real artists because everyone deserves the same shot,” she added. “That goes for everyone. Not just those in the music industry.”
Cara was frequently heard on the radio last year with her single “Scars to Your Beautiful” and her feature on Logic’s “1-800-273-8255.” Fellow nominee Khalid was also featured on Logic’s suicide prevention song and broke into the music scene with hit “Young Dumb & Broke.”
Newcomer SZA was the most nominated female artist of the awards with five nods, including best R&B performance and best R&B song.
Best new artist is awarded to a musician who recently became a powerful force in the music industry. Chance The Rapper won last year, and Meghan Trainor won the year prior. Variety readers who took the best new artist poll predicted SZA would win.