|Birth name||Carly Sarah Hennessy|
|Born||September 12 1983 (age 33)|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, actress|
|Genres||Goth metal, pop, soul|
|Labels||MCA, Universal Republic|
|Associated acts||We Are the Fallen|
Early life Edit
Smithson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to her parents Marie Murray and Luke Hennessy. After living 6 months in Dublin, Smithson and her parents moved to Johannesburg, South Africa. She lived there until they moved back to Dublin when she was 4 years old. Smithson began singing around the age of 4 and has also had some experience with acting. She was featured in advertisements for Denny's Sausage for three years, starting at the age of five. In 1990, Smithson played Young Marianne in Fools of Fortune. Two years later, in 1992, she joined the cast of Les Misérables and starred as Little Cosette in Ireland. When she was 10 years old, she released an independent CD titled Carly's Christmas Album which was released in the United Kingdom. When Smithson was 14, her parents divorced. A year later, in 1999, she and her father moved to the United States in order for Smithson to pursue a career in music. Smithson is a high school drop-out.
Before the marriage to her husband Todd Smithson, Smithson (as Carly Hennessy) released an album for MCA Records called Ultimate High in 2001. Despite MCA Records spending over $2 million on the production and promotion of Smithson's debut album, it sold only 378 copies in its first three months. Smithson has stated that the uptempo party record did not have the opportunity to find an audience, due to it being released so soon after the events of 9/11, as well as the record company's untimely merger with a parent company. Though some established artists like Sheryl Crow survived the merger, yet-to-be-released artists did not. In the album, Smithson covered Danielle Brisebois' "Just Missed the Train". Kelly Clarkson covered the same song on her 2003 album, Thankful. After American Idol, Ultimate High was quietly reissued by Universal Music, both to physical and online music retailers. For a brief period after Smithson's elimination, the album peaked in the Top 10 of Amazon's Top Selling Digital Albums, as well as being featured on their MP3 homepage. The album lists conductor Derek Gleeson as its executive producer.
American Idol Edit
Season 5 Edit
Before performing during the American Idol Live! Tour in 2008, Smithson auditioned in Las Vegas, Nevada for the fifth season of American Idol and was unanimously accepted by the judges. However, she was later disqualified because the paperwork for her work visa was delayed.
Season 7 Edit
In 2007, Smithson auditioned again for the seventh season of American Idol making it to Hollywood, but this time with the proper paperwork. She advanced with a unanimous vote after singing "I'm Every Woman". Simon Cowell noted that he remembered her from her season 5 audition. In Hollywood, she sang Heart's "Alone" for her audition and once again received a unanimous praise from the judges. Smithson was one of the first foreign contestants to make the show's Top 12 with the other one being Michael Johns who was an Australian. Smithson was eliminated on 23 April 2008. Her final song performance was "Superstar" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. The performance was considered to be one of her best by the judges. The day before she was eliminated Cowell stated, "I thought that was the best performance of the night so far.", prompting Smithson to pull out a T-shirt sent to her by her fans with a sign on it that said "Simon Loves Me (this week)". After it was announced that she was eliminated, Cowell said: "I apologize for giving you a compliment last night—kiss of death, but let me tell you, Carly, you can leave with your head held high".
Comparisons to Evanescence Edit
Smithson: "The only people that are comparing us really are the media who haven't even listened to our music yet. It's just a juicy and blown out of proportion story right now for journalists, but it's really confusing and disrespectful to both bands' fans. These songs are personal and from our hearts and that's what counts, not what color my hair is. Our fans come to our show to hear our music, not to be part of some garbage drama that really, in our world, doesn't exist."