March 15, 2012
I never thought I really had much to say. Things change.
Growing up, singing in a children's choir and doing theatre, I have always been told to sing something a certain way: more vibrato on this note, more of a mix here, more diction on this phrase. Being the polite and well behaved girl that I was, I would do as I was told. I would try and sing like everyone else who had done it before me.
I didn't realize how much I associated myself with being a singer, until I went on the road with a show and only performed a few times a month. Having a voice was what I leaned on, counted on, worked on and experimented with. I loved how it made me feel, I loved the public affirmations, I loved that my instrument was connected to my body and I could always carry it with me. But for the first time in my life- I couldn't speak.
I was faced with the reality of dealing with myself without that, without being Carrie who sings. I was...just Carrie. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I gained weight, I laughed less, smiled less. I didn't recognize myself. I remember crying hysterically on the phone to my sister, which I rarely did to begin with. She said "Who is this person? You're stronger than this. You're my sister. You can do anything."
I told myself, if I don't use this time, to find something greater than what I came in with, I will have failed. To me, I will have failed. I picked up a guitar, taught myself how to play it, and I wrote a song. In cities where there was a piano, I practiced, remembering the little I learned from early childhood, and wrote another song. No rules, no right or wrong way to do it, and no one to please...except myself. I only had one person to make happy, sitting alone in a room, with no one listening.
Backstage, away from home, trapped in a dark theatre, I saw my first glimpse of freedom. This time I will sing my way and say what I want to say. There are no rules. My big old heart was waiting for life to feel so uncomfortable, so off-kilter, so out of place and out of control that something had to come out. I am grateful for the hard. And when it's still hard, I remind myself everyday what that felt like, and what it made me do.
In a couple of weeks, I will release my first album. It's called Echo. The Chorus of the song is
I wanna scream out loud
Open my mouth and just yell at the top of my lungs
Go to a place where the echo can ring out and loose ends lay undone
And I don't need anyone
When I sing something I love, whether it's someone else's song, or my own, I am finally being heard, whether anyone is there or not.
The hard is what makes it good. The hard is what makes it worth it. I found the best stuff in the hard. I'm glad it wasn't easy.
Carrie Manolakos, already positioned in the top 100 of the iTunes pop charts with her debut album “Echo”, became an internet sensation with her haunting performance of Radiohead classic Creep, captured at her album release concert in April 2012 at (le) poisson rouge. The video is close to two million views and still climbing by the thousands. She was selected for Elle Magazine’s 30 Under 30: Essential Names to Know, voted #1 by readers. Carrie has sung with Phish at Madison Square Garden, as a guest artist for their much anticipated New Years Eve Show- one of their wildest in history.
"This Cover of Radiohead's "Creep" Will Make Your Ears Orgasm. If you're in a hurry, skip to 2:25 for the crescendo, but you should really listen to the whole thing. It's upsettingly good." Neetzan Zimmerman, Gawker
"Manolakos, whose background is in musical theatre, performs the song with perfect earnestness, closing her eyes and choking back tears. She floats lightly over the soft notes and reaches up to a stringent wail towards the middle of the song." Andrea DenHoed, The New Yorker
"This gave me chills...great job, @carriemanolakos." Josh Groban, twitter
"Here's the most insanely beautiful rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" we've ever heard. @carriemanolakos = awesome!" Youtube, twitter
Carrie has been selling out venues all over New York City, as well as other cities across the country and catching the attention of stars such as Alec Baldwin, Trey Anastasio, and Josh Groban. Carrie was featured as the top story on Gawker, saying her rendition of the song is "upsettingly good" and it "Will make your Ears Orgasm." She most recently was featured in Entertainment Weekly for being one of the top 12 best Radiohead covers of all time, with artists such as Frank Ocean, John Mayer, Weezer, Regina Spektor, Vampire Weekend, and others. She was also featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, MTV, and MSNnow.
Manolakos has a background in musical theater, with Broadway credits, including the lead role of Sophie in Mamma Mia as well as Elphaba on the Second National Tour of Wicked. Her debut album, Echo, is a lyrical blend of folk, pop and soul. Her sound dances among the stars of Adele and Joni Mitchell, with a kiss blown to Jeff Buckley, but a voice that is unmistakably hers alone.