When the X Factor made it’s debut in the United States, fans were blown away during the singing competition series by 13-year-old contestant Carly Rose Sonenclar. The budding musician wowed viewers and the judges each week with her powerhouse vocals and covers of popular songs like “Rolling in the Deep,” “As Long as You Love Me,” “Hallelujah” and more. Although she didn’t win season 2, the New York native came in second place and kicked off a pretty successful music career. After a minor break from the music scene after her TV debut, Carly released her debut EP in September 2020.

“For me, it was exactly what I needed to do,” she told American Songwriter while gearing up to drop her new music. “And I look back on it was very no regrets. … I didn’t barely know how to speak up for myself in sessions or feel like I really should talk about what I actually wanted to do. As a 13-year-old girl who can sing, it was just this kind of direction that was pretty predictable in my opinion.”

Once making the decision to step back from her career, Carly finished school, nabbed a few acting projects and worked on “really honing my craft.” She’s also become a social media sensation, and continues to kill it with original tracks.

“I was really able to think about the music that I listened to and the style that really excites me and come to terms with the fact that I can try to apply that to my own music,” she said, noting that her EP, titled TwentyOne, tackled “heavier” topics for a reason. “When you hear those topics, you might expect a certain kind of song that’s going to be darker and somber but what I’m really excited about with this EP is that I like to juxtapose those heavier topics with a sound that’s a bit more accessible, a bit more easy to listen to,” she explained.

Going forward, the talented songstress is taking her career to the next level. “I’m definitely at the point in my life where I’m very ready to go for it. And really take the big steps,” she told American Songwriter. “I have room to be free and do what I want to do. And that’s a really exciting thing.”

Scroll through our gallery to see what Carly is up to these days, and prepare to be shook over her major glow up.

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