Carly Rose Sonenclar may only be 15 years old, but she’s well on her way to proving that age really is just a number. Born in New York City, this little musical pop-star-in-the-making began singing at the tender age of 2. She calls Mamaroneck her home, where she enrolled in a local singing, acting, and dancing class at the age of 6. Soon after she landed a Welch’s grape juice commercial and the rest as they say, is history.
Her credits range from her first professional role in the off-Broadway “Night of the Hunter” in the NY Musical Theater Festival, to bigger roles in the on-Broadway productions “Les Mis” and “Wonderland”. Along the way she performed in the national tour for the “Little House on the Prairie, The Musical” and sang the national anthem for professional sporting events in Madison Square Garden, Dodger Stadium, and the US Open.
It wasn’t long until she took her talents to the world of television and film, too. Carly landed a small screen role on the PBS hit “Electric Company”, as well as big screen roles in the short film “Snowfall”, and feature films “Nanny Diaries” and “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2”.
Her passion for performing was a natural fit for acting and theater, but it was her precocious ear for music and big, jazzy voice that led her to pursue a career as a singer. She made two appearances at the world renowned jazz club “Birdland NYC”, and was crowned one of the winners of the Jazz Forum Arts’s first annual Vocal Jazz Competition. In 2012, this talented prodigy was finally age-eligible to enter tryouts for The X-Factor USA – a talent competition that would introduce Carly Rose to a much larger audience.
After performing Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good” at her audition, Carly’s appearance went viral on YouTube and her fan following, known as “Carly’s Angels”, was born. Her popularity soared during the show and the acclaim came pouring in from all corners of the entertainment industry. Judges, critics, celebrities, and fans were mesmerized by her ability to display grace under pressure, interpret and rearrange songs, and deliver them in pitch-perfect fashion. Each week millions tuned in to see what the young phenom would do next.
Ultimately, Carly Rose finished runner-up on The X-Factor, but her audience was not limited to American soil. In total, her performances exceeded over 100 million views on YouTube and her followers on Twitter are approaching the 1 million mark. Indeed, “Carly’s Angels” span the globe as some of her biggest fan bases reside in Canada, the UK, and Brazil.
Despite taking the stage by storm with jaw-dropping performances, this fast-rising star keeps her feet on the ground and credits “hard work and a very supportive family” for much of her success. She attributes a lot of her vocal prowess to the many hours spent with coaches working on technique, as well as the benefits of learning how to play the piano. One of the central figures behind that hard work is her long-time vocal coach, Amelia DeMayo, who’s been with her since “Les Mis”. Doris Hernacki has been teaching Carly piano for five years, also reiterated, “She’s such a hard worker. That work ethic, which you can see when she’s singing, I saw at the piano, too.”
Miss Sonenclar describes her sound as “soul meets pop”. Her musical style stems from the music she was exposed to by her family growing up – such as the Beatles, indie artists, and Etta James. Her personal influences include Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, and the late-great Amy Winehouse. Subsequently, it’s no surprise her style is one that appeals to all age groups.
“Giving back” is also something Carly finds very important. If she is not interacting with fans via social media, you can often find her involved with the Starlight Children’s Foundation – a charity she has been Ambassador to for many years.
Whether it’s acting on Broadway, TV, or movies, or singing on live TV in front of millions, Carly Rose’s self-confidence, dedication to her craft, and passion for performing shine through. Peter D. Kramer, a theater journalist who has been following her career since the second grade, recently remarked, “She still has the same twinkle, the same smile and the same great parents, Terri and Bob”. Whatever the future holds, chances are you’ll find her doing what she does best – singing her heart out and inspiring many along her path.