“I have always been a person who does many things, even as a child.” Carrie Manolakos says. “I love what I do. And when it comes to creativity and art, the through line is always the same. I always tell the truth.”
Originally from Syracuse, Carrie graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and spent most of her life and career in New York City. She recently relocated to Los Angeles, and constantly has projects on both coasts. The Broadway star, actress, writer and recording artist is best known for her roles on stage including Sophie Sheridan in Broadways Mamma Mia! and Elphaba in the National Tour of Wicked, a voice on The Greatest Showman and Incredibles 2 as well as the haunting artist whose live interpretation of Radiohead’s Creep because an international phenomenon nearing 4 million views and counting.
After starring on Broadway, Creep’s viral take over, and the release of her first album, Echo which landed at #44 on the pop iTunes charts, Manolakos gained the attention of stars like Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Trey Anastasio, Josh Groban, and Billy Corgan. She was praise by Entertainment Weekly who proclaimed her performance of Creep among the “top 12 Best Radiohead Covers of All Time,” The New York Times, The New Yoker, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, MTV, and Gawker writing “it will make yuor ears orgasm.” She was chosen as Elle Magazine’s 30 Under 30: Essential Names to Know, and voted #1 by readers. And on MSN’s “15 Covers that Transcend the Original Hits” she was voted #2 just after Johnny Cash, placing 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.
That commitment to the truth means Manolakos feels her way through it, taking her audience by the hand as she pushed forward, bringing us through what she feels, and eventually leading us to the other side, transformed. It is that experiential grit, and that commitment to the heart that has made her interpretations of others’ work land whether she’s performing solo in a club, on a Broadway Stage, in a stadium, or singing in top-grossing films.
Manolakos keeps herself growing. The Spring of 2019 has welcomed her years in the making solo full-length record The 44th Chord: a magnetic tour-de-force that highlights not only her strength of interpreting other’s work, but her unique capabilities as a songwriter, and as always, her unparalleled vocal prowess.
Manolakos co-wrote all seven original tracks with top songwriters including Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, busbee, David Hodges and more. The three covers songs on the album are cultural giants, and display her inherent ability to make what was one familiar and beloved, fresh, authentic, and new.
Now that the album is out, Manolakos is grateful to share these songs that are such a big piece of her. “If I could ask for one thing that listeners might walk away with, it’s that in listening to voice and my truth, that they might make some space to listen to their own.” she says. “Being a human being on this earth can be complex and complicated. I’ve found, especially in the last few years, it can be extreme. It is when we lean into those extremes, learn a little bit more about who we are, both in light and in dark and are brave enough to be with it, that is when we find balance. That is when we find healing, joy, peace, or whatever it is at the end of the day that we truly desire.”
The 44th Chord is out, and although Manolakos is relishing it being fully set free, she is also hard at work on various film and stage projects. Her love of telling the truth is what guides her, and continues to inform her other work. I’ve played everything on an ax murderer, to a saint, and now a polish social worker on death row, putting her life at risk to save children in the holocaust.” She says. “I call it being an actor, a storyteller, playing a character, being a channel. I call it a multitude of things. Being able to tap into honest human emotion, embody those feelings, and have it land for an audience, through a scene, a song, a story or any art really. There is nothing more thrilling to me than that. “