Caroline Elizabeth Polachek (born June 20, 1985), is an American musician, singer-songwriter and record producer 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, and she followed that with 2017's Drawing The Target Around The Arrow, which she released as CEP.
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, 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.
As a solo artist, Polachek has been involved in numerous collaborations. In 2010, Polachek formed Girl Crisis choir with Erika Spring and Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone, Elizabeth Harper (Class Actress), Leah Cary, Jessica Lauretti, Jane Herships, Sophia Knapp, Linnea Vedder, and others. The group arranged and recorded two covers a year, covering female artists in the summer and male in the winter. Among the covers were that of The Bangles, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Leonard Cohen, and Ace of Base. They were shot via Super8 by Bek Andersen.
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". Caroline shot and directed video for Violens' "It Couldn't Be Perceived". Polachek and Elbrecht collaborated again in 2014 on two singles, "I.V. Aided Dreams (feat. Caroline Polachek)" and "Full Mental Erase (feat. Caroline Polachek)". 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. Caroline contributed vocals to Blood Orange's "Chamakay" (2013), collaborating with Blood Orange again on "Holy Will" (2018). 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. Thanks to this song, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, she received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year. Polachek then collaborated with PC Music's, Danny L Harle in early 2016 on the single "Ashes of Love". Polachek collaborated with felicita throughout his album "Hej!" (PC Music 2018) including an arrangement of the Polish traditional song "Byl Sobie Krol" (released under the title "Marzipan"), and with Charli XCX on Pop 2 (2017) on tracks "Tears (feat. Caroline Polachek)" and "Delicious (feat. Tommy Cash).
In early 2014, Polachek composed and produced instrumental scores for designers Proenza Schouler and Tess Giberson to be featured on runways and promotional videos. In April 2014, Polachek scored a live performance piece by artists India Menuez and Hayden Dunham at SIGNAL gallery in Brooklyn. 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.
Polachek began performing sets under the moniker Ramona Lisa in 2013. The name originates from a former pseudonym Polachek used on Facebook. She announced her debut self-produced album as Ramona Lisa, entitled Arcadia in February 2014. Polachek described the album as "pastoral electronic music".
Polachek began writing the album during an artistic residency at the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy. 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." 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. 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. The album artwork was shot by New York photographer Tim Barber.
In January 2017, Polachek released her second solo album, Drawing The Target Around The Arrow, under her initials, CEP. 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".
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