Caroline Polachek

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Caroline Polachek
Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, 2016.jpg
Polachek performing at Treefort Music Fest, March 2016
Background information
Also known asRamona Lisa, CEP
Born (1985-06-20) June 20, 1985 (age 33)
OriginNew York City, United States
GenresElectronic, indie pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Years active2005–present
LabelsColumbia Records, Terrible, Pannonica, Mistletone
Associated actsChairlift, Ramona Lisa, Girl Crisis

Caroline Elizabeth Polachek[1] (born June 20, 1985) is an American musician and singer-songwriter known as the vocalist for Chairlift, as well as for writing and producing Beyoncé's single "No Angel." She released her debut solo album, Arcadia, under her stage name Ramona Lisa in April 2014 via Terrible Records,[2] and she followed that with 2017's Drawing The Target Around The Arrow, which she released as CEP.


Chairlift (2005–2017)[edit]

Polachek formed the band Chairlift together with Aaron Pfenning at the University of Colorado in October 2005. The group was joined by Patrick Wimberly in early 2007, the year the band released their first EP titled "Daylight Savings EP," followed by their debut album Does You Inspire You. Pfenning left the band in 2010 to pursue his solo career, titled Rewards. Polachek and Wimberly went on as a duo to write and produce their 2012 full-length record Something alongside producers Dan Carey and Alan Moulder. In addition, she directed the record's music videos, including "Amanaemonesia," and "I Belong In Your Arms."

In December 2016, Chairlift announced that they would be breaking up, with a final tour in the spring of 2017.[3]

Girl Crisis (2010–2013)[edit]

In 2010, Polachek formed an all girl project called Girl Crisis along with the members of Au Revoir Simone, Telepathe, Class Actress, Acrylics, Apache Beat, TEEN, This Frontier Needs Heroes, Amazing Baby and Lights(Knapp and Vedder). The group did two covers a year, one in summer and one in winter with a song that features female and male vocals, respectively. Among the covers were that of The Bangles, Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Ace of Base. They were shot via Super8 by Bek Andersen.

Collaborations (2009–present)[edit]

As a solo artist, Polachek has been involved in numerous collaborations. She was featured on Flosstradamus's single "Big Bills" (2009), chillwave band Washed Out's single "You and I" (2010), Holy Ghost!'s "I Know, I Hear" (2010), Sebastian Blanck's "Thunder" (2010), Guards "Trophy Queen (feat. Caroline Polachek)" (2010), Acrylics's "Sparrow Song" (2011), Delorean's "Unhold" (2013), Blood Orange's "Chamakay" (2013), "In The Crew Of Tea Time" by Sébastien Tellier & Caroline Polachek (2013), and SBTRKT's "Look Away" (2014). She also lends her vocals on reworked versions of "L'Homme (Charles and Beck Remix)" (2008) of Boy Crisis (fronted by Kool A.D. whom she previously worked with on Das Racists' Fashion Party.), Violens' French duet version of "Violent Sensation Descends" and an alternate version of the track "Full Collision" entitled "Warm Collision" from the album "Amoral" (2010), and "Twos" (2014) by Danny Meyer.[4]

In 2010, she joined Jorge Elbrecht of Brooklyn-based Violens to record a "sgin" of Justin Bieber's "Never Let You Go": "We went on YouTube to find a video among the highest ranks of hits, and came across 'Never Let You Go'. We went on to make what we call a 'sgin' (anagram of the word 'sing')—an original song written specifically to synch into someone else's video on mute".[5] Polachek and Elbrecht collaborated again in 2014 on two singles, "I.V. Aided Dreams (feat. Caroline Polachek)" and "Full Mental Erase (feat. Caroline Polachek)".[4] In 2012, she sang with Ice Choir (solo project of Kurt Feldman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) on the song "Everything Is Spoilt by Use" and directed/edited its official video. Polachek was also featured in music videos for "Let Take Me Out" by Class Actress (2007), "Time To Pretend" by MGMT (2009), "So Fine" by Telepathe (2009). In late 2013, Polachek wrote and produced "No Angel", which was featured on Beyoncé's critically acclaimed fifth studio album, Beyoncé.[4][6] Thanks to this song, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, she received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year.[7] Polachek then collaborated with PC Music's, Danny L Harle in early 2016 on the single "Ashes of Love".

Video and performance scoring (2014–present)[edit]

In early 2014, Polachek composed and produced instrumental scores for designers Proenza Schouler and Tess Giberson to be featured on runways and promotional videos.[8] In April 2014, Polachek scored a live performance piece by artists India Menuez and Hayden Dunham at SIGNAL gallery in Brooklyn.[9] In October 2014, Polachek scored "HappyOkay," a ballet performance video directed by Elena Parasco and produced by House of Makers and Last Hour. The performance was choreographed by Peter Lueng of the Dutch National Ballet, the largest dance company in the Netherlands, and performed by New York City Ballet's Harrison Ball, Joseph Gordon, and Megan LeCrone.[10][11]

Ramona Lisa and Arcadia (2013–present)[edit]

Polachek began performing sets under the moniker Ramona Lisa in 2013.[12] The name originates from a former pseudonym Polachek used on Facebook.[2] She announced her debut self-produced album as Ramona Lisa, entitled Arcadia in February 2014.[12][13] Polachek described the album as "pastoral electronic music."[14][15][16]

Polachek began writing the album during an artistic residency at the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy.[17] In an interview with Pitchfork, she described how her time in Rome inspired the sounds of Arcadia, stating: "When I was looking out the window in Rome, I wanted this type of electronic music to feel as organic as what I was seeing. I don't think any of the tools that I'm using are particularly new—a lot of the MIDI instruments have been around for 15 years—but the compositions make them sound less electronic, more mysterious."[17] The record was made entirely on Polachek's laptop without instruments or external microphones, except to capture field recordings of the sounds she heard in her surroundings.[18] She sang vocals directly into her computer's built in microphone, making use of hotel closets, quiet airport gates, and spare dressing rooms during Chairlift's world tour.[17] The album artwork was shot by New York photographer Tim Barber.[2]

In January 2017, Polachek released her second solo album, Drawing The Target Around The Arrow, under her initials, CEP.[19] Polachek was scheduled to perform at Moogfest 2018, but she pulled out in December 2017 when she was included on an all-female and non-gender-binary announcement list, tweeting "Gender is not a genre. I don't need a sympathy pedestal".[20]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2015, Polachek married fellow contemporary artist Ian Drennan.[21]



  • Arcadia (2014)
  • Dominic EP (2014) [22]
  • Piano Versions - (2015)
  • Drawing the Target Around the Arrow - (2017)


as lead artist[edit]

  • "Arcadia" (2014)[23]
  • "Backwards and Upwards" (2014)[23]
  • "Dominic" (2014) [22]

as featured artist[edit]

Title Year Artist(s) Album
"Big Bills"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2009 Flosstradamus Non-album single
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Boy Crisis Tulipomania
"I Know, I Hear"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2010 Holy Ghost! Static on the Wire EP
"Sparrow Song"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Acrylics Lives and Treasure EP
"You and I"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2011 Washed Out Within and Without
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2013 Blood Orange Cupid Deluxe
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
"Look Away"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2014 SBTRKT Wonder Where We Land
"Ashes of Love"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2016 Danny L Harle Non-album single
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2017 Fischerspooner SIR
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Charli XCX Pop 2
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
2018 Felicita Hej!
"Do You Think About Me?"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Nicky Night Time Nicky Night Time
"Do You Think About Us?"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
The Night Game The Night Game

Songwriting and production credits[edit]

Title Year Artist(s) Album Credits Written with Produced with
(featuring Rachel Goswell)
2010 Beach Fossils Somersault Co-writer Dustin Payseur, Jack Smith, Tommy Davidson -
"No Angel" 2013 Beyoncé Beyoncé Co-writer/producer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Fauntleroy Beyoncé, Patrick Wimberly, James Fauntleroy, Boots
"SDP Interlude" 2016 Travis Scott Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight Co-writer Jacques Webster, Cassie Ventura, Ricci Riera, Ernest Greene -
"Worth It (Perfect)" 2017 Superfruit Future Friends Mitch Grassi, Danny L Harle, Scott Hoying, Jakob Bjorn-Hansen -
"Deny U" Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Jussi Ilmari Karvinen -
"Keep Me Coming" Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Danny L Harle -
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Fischerspooner SIR Featured artist/Co-writer Warren Fischer, Casey Spooner, Jonathan "Michael" Stipe, Michael Cheever -
"Our Music"
(featuring Kelela)
Solange #MYCALVINS Co-writer/Producer Solange Knowles, Devonte Hynes, Kelela Mizanekristos Blood Orange, Kindness
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Charli XCX Pop 2 Featured artist/Co-writer Charlotte Aitchison, Alex Cook -
"Stranger Strange" 2018 Fischerspooner SIR Co-writer Warren Fischer, Casey Spooner, Jonathan "Michael" Stipe, Andy LeMaster -
"Discreet" Warren Fischer, Casey Spooner, Jonathan "Michael" Stipe, Michael Cheever, Thomas Haskett -
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Felicita Hej! Featured artist/Co-writer Dominik Dvorak -
"Coughing Up Amber" Co-writer Dominik Dvorak -
"Do You Think About Us?"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Nicky Night Time Nicky Night Time Featured artist/Co-writer Nicholas Routledge -


  1. ^ "Caroline Polachek". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  2. ^ a b c Shiffman, Allyson (February 26, 2014). "A Voice of Her Own: Caroline Polachek of 'Chairlift' Band on Her Next Efforts". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Listing of the writing, arrangement and performance credits Caroline Polachek has received on, (accessed December 13, 2014).
  5. ^ "Violens & Chairlift – Never Let You Go". No Conclusion. May 3, 2010. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  6. ^ Marchese, David (December 13, 2013). "How Chairlift's Caroline Polachek Landed a Track on 'Beyonce'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "Caroline Polachek". Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Widman, Jon (March 12, 2014). "Tess Giberson - Spring 2014". Sweden Unltd. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014.
  9. ^ Press release from the Signal Gallery (NY) on the India Menuez and Hayden Dunham show, (accessed December 10, 2014).
  10. ^ Baumgardner, Julie (November 19, 2014). "An Art-Ballet Hybrid Video Scored by Chairlift's Caroline Polachek". T Magazine. New York Times.
  11. ^ Parasco, Elena. "HappyOkay". Vimeo. Vimeo. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b Minsker, Evan (February 18, 2014). "Chairlift's Caroline Polachek Announces Solo LP Arcadia as Ramona Lisa, Shares "Arcadia" Video". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  13. ^ Brelhan, Tom (February 18, 2014). "Ramona Lisa (Caroline Polachek) – "Arcadia Video"". Stereogum. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  14. ^ "Chairlift's Caroline Polachek is Ramona Lisa". Pretty Much Amazing. February 18, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  15. ^ Jonze, Tim (April 10, 2014). "Ramona Lisa: Arcadia review – beguiling side-project from Chairlift singer". The Guardian. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Dyer, Deidre (April 22, 2014). "Gen F: Ramona Lisa". The Fader. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c Fitzmaurice, Larry (March 6, 2014). "Update: Ramona Lisa". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  18. ^ Hannah, Andrew (June 18, 2014). "Caroline Polachek of Chairlift and Ramona Lisa: "I don't want to work things out with anyone, I just wanna do it exactly the way I feel"". The Line Of Best Fit.
  19. ^ Jazz Monroe and Sheldon Pearce (January 19, 2017). "Chairlift's Caroline Polachek Shares New Solo Album: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  20. ^ David Menconi (December 7, 2017). "'Gender is not a genre,' singer says while exiting Moogfest lineup". News & Observer. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  21. ^ Macon, Alexandra (October 22, 2015). "Chairlift Lead Singer Caroline Polachek's Wedding in the Chinese Garden at Snug Harbor". Vogue. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
  22. ^ a b Hilleary, Mike (September 12, 2014). "Ramona Lisa Releases New EP, 'Dominic'". Under the Radar. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  23. ^ a b McGovern, Kyle (March 7, 2014). "Chairlift's Caroline Polachek Contorts 'Backwards and Upwards' as Ramona Lisa". Spin. Retrieved March 14, 2014.

External links[edit]

Media related to Caroline Polachek at Wikimedia Commons