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Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, 2016.jpg

Caroline Elizabeth Polachek (born June 20, 1985) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and record producer. Raised in Connecticut, Polachek co-founded the indie pop band Chairlift while studying at the University of Colorado. The duo emerged from the late-2000s Brooklyn music scene with the sleeper hit "Bruises".

During her time in the band, she worked on the solo projects Ramona Lisa and CEP, before embarking on a career under her own name after Chairlift's disbandment in 2017. Her debut studio album, Pang (2019), featured collaborations with producer Danny L Harle and was released to critical acclaim.

Polachek has worked extensively with other artists, collaborating with Blood Orange, SBTRKT and Charli XCX, and penning material for Beyoncé ("No Angel"), Travis Scott, and Superfruit.

Early life[]

Polachek was born in Manhattan, New York, on June 20, 1985. Her family relocated to Tokyo, Japan, when she was one to six years old, and later settled in Greenwich, Connecticut, where Polachek started singing choir in the third grade. She was a synth player from a young age as her father gifted her a Yamaha keyboard to dissuade her from being disruptive on the piano.

Polachek recounts her early exposure to traditional Japanese songs and anime themes as being influential on her musical education: "[Japanese singing] [is] a lot of minor and pentatonic [tonality], with really angular melodies that I think really stuck in my subconscious." She rode horses growing up: "I learned a lot about rhythm and about voice from that. Like, you don't always have full control of your instrument. You have to trust it, you have to give it space, you have to know when to push, give it air." As a "hyperactive kid", her divorced parents would play Enya at each other's houses in order to calm her senses.

As a teenager, Polachek began traveling to the city to attend concerts, which were a mix of post-hardcore emo, DIY punk and jazz shows. Mike Patton once personally walked her into a show at Knitting Factory when her fake ID was rejected. She played in a couple of bands in high school and college.