When Carrie Manolakos sings, it’s impossible not to feel it. Beyond a show-stopping range heard everywhere from the big screen blockbuster The Greatest Showman to her critically acclaimed solo output, the New York-based singer and songwriter draws overpowering emotion from flawless delivery and an equally poignant pen as evidenced on her forthcoming 2018 series of music.
Each remains in tune with who she is at her core…
“I believe the more vulnerable we are the more powerful we can become - I value both. I use both. And I committed to using my gifts in the best way I can.” she exclaims. “I’m fascinated by the human experience in all of its shades. That has always been the through line in my music and my voice..”
That voice continues to enchant, engage, and entrance listeners everywhere. It’s resonated in front of audiences on Broadway and around the world and fueled her solo material. 2012 saw her career as an artist take flight.
Following the release party for her 2012 EP Echo (which landed at #44 on the pop iTunes charts), a video of Carrie covering Radiohead’s “Creep” at New York haunt (le) poisson rouge went viral. Not only did it quickly notch over 3 million YouTube views, but she also earned praise from Entertainment Weekly who proclaimed it among the “Top 12 Best Radiohead Covers of All Time,” The New York Times, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, MTV, and Gawker writing, “will make your ears orgasm.” Fans chose her to be a part of Elle’s “30 Under 30” as she sold out venues across the country. It would be listed as #2 on MSN’s “15 Covers the Transcend the Original Hits” just after Johnny Cash. It placed her in good company with Whitney Houston , Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Weezer, The Fugees, Ike and Tina Turner, Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse.
As that profile rose, she continued to wow audiences on stage between collaborating with top producers, penning countless songs, and working on what would become her next offering. Igniting a new chapter, 2018 paves the way for the release of her original single “Take Me Down.” Baptized in a rush of emotion, her words reveal a longing to start again amplified on every crescendo and run.
“It’s a little bit of a cleansing and a rebirth,” she goes on. “It’s the whole spectrum of human emotion. You’re embracing what it means to be alive. It’s both extreme and dynamic. That’s where I was in my life. There was no middle ground. There was no comfortable.”
It also paves the way for her to breathe new life into another classic. Carrie introduces this phase by way of a stark and stirring take on The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm” with proceeds benefiting Everytown for Gun Safety.
Over sparse production, she carries the lyrics with tearful intensity and immediate conviction, urging for change.
“I originally recorded the song for personal reasons after an experience with a break-in in my apartment” she admits. “Days after I tracked it, Christina Grimmie was shot and the Pulse massacre happened. It was the first time I had seen the hashtag #DisarmHate. As a result, ‘Disarm’ had this connection to everything going on in our country. After Parkland, I felt it was non-negotiable to release it. ‘The killer in me is the killer in you’ - this song and that lyric had been too dark for me to really understand. I get it now. I get that we’re all responsible for each other. I wanted to capture a little bit of the innocence, a lot of the vulnerability, and a sense of oneness that we all need now.”
The same urgency courses through follow-up singles “Made of Stars” and “No Religion.” Carrie’s songwriting and narrative lyricism match the gravity of her vocals on these originals. Driven by her expansive cinematic delivery, delicate alternative mystique, and keen sense of mainstream palatability, they’re best described as “Heart Pop”—pop music of the heart.
Following her heart since day one, Carrie has devoted her whole life to music. Post-college, she took Broadway by storm, starring in Mamma Mia! as the lead Sophie before assuming the role of Elphaba on the second national tour of Wicked. She lent her voice to Lizzie for the Original Cast Recording of the rock opera based on Lizzie Borden. Along the way, she turned the likes of Alec Baldwin, Josh Groban, and Trey Anastasio into fans, joining the latter for Phish’s epic New Year’s Eve 2013 gig at Madison Square Garden singing ‘Tweezer Reprise.’ Academy® Award nominee Hugh Jackman sought her out to join him during his 2016 performance at the Metropolitan Opera. She performed the part of Éponine as he reprised the role of Jean Valjean from Les Misérables. Carrie also joined Emmy® Award winner Peter Dinklage for a Game of Thrones spoof penned by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. She also delivered an unforgettable rendition of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” during a PBS special entitled Rocktopia. Additionally, she reteamed with Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman cast for a standout performance at the Oscars® in 2018.
However, her newest original music opens up her voice like never before, resounding with a timeless spirit.
She leaves off, “When listeners hear my new material, I hope they find a little of their own truth. Being a human on this earth can be so strange and beautiful. It can also feel impossible, but it’s all a part of it. This music is about connection in its purest form: to ourselves, to each other, and to something bigger.”
"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."
Voted #1 by readers in Elle's 30 Under 30 Essential Names to Know.
"While her high notes are nothing short of stratospheric, the subtler notes of Manolakos' performance really shine."
"I tried my best. I really did. I tried my best to get through this without any Creep covers. But this one is so good that I'd be crazy not to include it...And man, she just crushed it. There's really not much to say besides: God Almighty, that climax!"
"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."
Mamma Mia | Sophie | Winter Garden Theatre
Wicked | Elphaba Stanby | 2nd National Tour
Mamma Mia | Sophie | National Tour
Dear Evan Hansen | Virtual Choir | Michael Grief, Director
Lizzie | Lizzie Borden | Kent Nicholson, Director
Parallel Worlds | Tabatha | Ars Nova
Disaster | Marianne Riley | The Triad
CHIX6 | Katie | Queens Theatre in the Park
Sleeping Beauty Wakes | Night Terrors | La Jolla Playhouse
The Wild Party (La Chuisa) | Nadine | The Culture Project
Tommy | Sally Simpson | Surflight Theatre
The Last 5 Years | Cathy | Syracuse Symphony
Jagged Little Pill | with Alanis Morisette | Diane Paulus, Director
The Greatest Showman | with Hugh Jackman | Michael Gracey, Director
Song Of Bernadette | Bernadette | Music by Frank Wildhorn
Swan Lake | Black Swan (Odile) | Sammi Cannold, Director
Bottle Shock | Sam | Kent Nicholson, Director
The Last Goodbye | Band (Singing Juliet) | Alex Timbers, Director
Bare | Ivty | Stafford Arima, Director
The Daughters | Athena | Yale Repertory Theatre
Factory Girls | Harriet | Goodspeed Theatre
First Wives Club | Chris | Francesca Zambello, Director
Children of Eden | Yonah | w/ Stephen Schwartz
Guest Appearances / Featured Vocalist / Recordings
The Greatest Showman | with Hugh Jackman
Phish | Madison Square Garden
Incredibles 2 | Vocalist
Rise (NBC) | Vocalist
Rocktopia | National PBS Special
Frank Wildhorn | PBS Special
Game of Thrones / Red Nose Day | with Peter Dinklage & Coldplay
Toronto Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Dayton Symphony Orchestra and More.
BFA Musical Theatre, New York University Tisch School of the Arts @ Cap21
On Camera, Bob Krakower
On Camera, Kimball Studios