Carly Rose Sonenclar just may have that special something to win the country’s heart. With her hometown of Mamaroneck, the greater Westchester area, and even the oft-critical Simon Cowell behind her, the soft-spoken 13 year old has been turning heads on the national stage, as a contestant on “The X Factor.”
Though Carly may seem like a natural star, the young artist has been working hard for years to perfect her talent and follow her passion.
With both a love for the arts and the support of her parents, Carly began taking singing, dancing and acting lessons before first grade. At just 7 years old, she began her professional career after an arts teacher put her in contact with a New York City talent agent. Within one year, she was on Broadway, making her debut as Young Cosette in “Les Miserables.” Before long, she was named the Best Young Performer by Broadway World in 2011. Now amid all the hype and buzz that comes with being a top contestant on “The X-Factor,” the Rye Neck native is kept grounded by a large Westchester community that has her back.
In her own words, Carly expresses her gratitude, “I am so lucky to have such great support from back home. Even in the middle of a hurricane,” she said in a statement made to The Rye Sound Shore Review. On Nov. 14, as Carly sang her rendition of “My Heart Will Go On,” Larchmont restaurant Chat 19 was packed with friends, family, and community members who were also singing and cheering. Thanks to the group of local mothers and friends, the community had a space to cheer Carly on together. Harrison resident Andrea Elizabeth, 22, explained over cheers, the great turnout. “Everyone who is here tonight is here because they know how great Carly truly is,” she said. ”Whether they are a friend, a neighbor, or just a supportive community member, we’re here to support her. My main goal is to make sure she gets as many votes as possible.”
On Carly’s official Facebook fan page, which has over 97,000 followers, posted are pictures of artwork she receives from her fans, or “Carly’s Angels,” as they’ve come to be known. Among these photos are pictures of Carly’s friends painting a multi-window mural dedicated to getting support and votes for the rising star.
The behind-the-scenes work of her family and friends not only builds on the momentum Carly has made for herself, but amazes Carly and her parents. Bob Sonenclar, Carly’s father, said he and his wife, Terri, are amazed at how the community has rallied around their daughter.
“‘Blown away’ are about the only two words I can come up with to describe how Terri and I feel about what the community is doing for Carly. I am truly about as speechless as I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “Believe me when I tell you that it gives Carly wind beneath her wings to know how much support she is receiving from everyone back home.”
Carly is consistently a top-voted contestant, securing as of last episode second place in all votes casted.
Long-time family friend and Rye resident Ann Dooley said she always knew the young singer had what it takes to make it big.
“I’ve known Carly since she was born and she has always been amazing,” she said. “I am not surprised that she seems headed towards a truly successful career in the arts.” Now among the top 10 contestants on the show, the community waits eagerly for Carly’s next performance.
While the young singer focuses on her singing and her schoolwork, the growing fanbase back home will be working to plan for the next community event. Posters, email chains, and Facebook groups are all in the works. “I can say beyond any doubt that she truly appreciates every cheer, every painted window, every announcement in school, every flier that’s handed out and, of course, every vote,” Carly’s father told attendees at last week’s event. “Whatever happens from this point on, we feel we’ve won just for having come from a place as wonderful as our hometown.”