Carly Smithson and ex-Evanescence trio to form The Fallen

Season 7 Idol, Carly Smithson, has some big news. Maybe she’s getting closer to finding her musical identity.

From Idol Chatter:

Bonnie Milligan and Amber Ardolino ...
Bonnie Milligan and Amber Ardolino Sing 'End Up Together'

Carly Smithson is joining the original guys of Evanescence, who are re-launching as a hard-rock band called The Fallen. They’ll make a formal announcement Monday in Hollywood, with a press conference and first live performance. The band’s debut song, Bury Me Alive, will be available at that time for free download at wearethefallen.com.The lineup consists of Smithson and three of the four original members of Evanescence — guitarists Ben Moody and John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray — as well as bassist Marty O’Brien, whose recording and touring credits include Disturbed and Kelly Clarkson.

“This band is going to be theatrical and in-your-face and huge, ” Smithson says. “Everything that we do is just going to be big.”

Smithson had been working on a solo project of her own until connecting with Moody a few months ago. Now, she says, “I couldn’t be happier. Creatively we’re all on the same page. Visually, we’re all on the same page. We want a massive stage production. We watch the same TV shows, everything. It’s almost weird, that we’re like an awesome family all of a sudden.”

Carly had been working on a solo project before she hooked up with Moody a couple of months ago.   Now she says, “I couldn’t be happier. Creatively we’re all on the same page. Visually, we’re all on the same page. We want a massive stage production. We watch the same TV shows, everything. It’s almost weird, that we’re like an awesome family all of a sudden.”

There won’t be an album from The Fallen right away. Instead, there’ll be a series of smaller, more frequent releases.   Moody says, “Our goal is to release songs in small doses every couple months for a year and a half, We could take the time and lock ourselves away for six months, but we don’t want to do that. We want to get our there now. We want to play old stuff, and we want to play new stuff.”

Says Carly,   “This band, I’ve always loved their melodies. Everyone else was trying to push me in that pop direction, but I was trying to get that rock sound.

Carly says if you know her from American Idol, you really don’t know her, “I was steered away from being myself on the show, ” she says. “It definitely feels like I’ve come into this situation, and I can get influenced by the boys. It’s like I can be myself again. It’s really cool.”

On the show, Carly really had a hard time forging a musical identity, but I’m not sure I’d blame that on the producers. One week she was Celine Dion, the next Ann Wilson–there was way too much “Love me Simon!” going on there.   Maybe working with a band will help her figure out who she is as an artist.

About mj santilli 33696 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

59 Comments

  1. This turn of events sounds great for Carly. My only worry is that people will most likely think that this is Evanescence v2.0 and compare her to Amy Lee.

  2. This is good news for her, it sounds like a good project. i used to love Evanescence, lol and I think Carly kinda fits in that. I like the rock more than the Celine Dion sound.
    Congrats to her.
    Are they with a label? This sounds more independent.

    Oddly, enough — and I didn’t pick it,” she says. “One of the musical directors [did].

    That’s interesting. I actually thought she had a hand in picking that song.
    And I don’t remember Carly very colorful on the show.

  3. yeah I guess she is more goth rock than pop/rock anyway… hope this works out for her!

    but why does this feel like carly is still making excuses, like people steered her into a different direction or whatever. and that she got lots of offers for record deals but they ALL wanted her to go pop (i don’t believe that for a second)… I think carly needs to own up to some of the mistakes that she made and the failures she might’ve been a part of… and then she can find her footing.

    anyway, I wish her the best! the pic on Richard Rushfield’s article looks good and she looks like the fits right in with this band.

  4. This sounds great for Carly. … She couldn’t find herself on Idol, but at least Idol helped put her in the way of this opportunity, which sounds great. Obviously these guys like rock but with a melodic tinge, so her beautiful voice will be useful. So it’s all good. I like her voice a little better than Amy Lee’s, actually — think Carly kind of looks like her, though, come to think of it…

  5. That’s a cool photo. I hope this works out for her…she’s a sweet kid.

  6. I’m happy for Carly and hope this works out for her. She has a powerful voice but has really struggled. It appears we won’t have to wait long to find out if they’re recording bits and pieces here and there and releasing every couple of months. Congrats, Carly!

  7. Yes, I don’t think Carly should blame others for what she ultimately sang on Idol. I don’t believe she is a true rocker; she always came across as a pop girl to me. But good luck to her anyway; it’s been a log time since S7 and her time may have been running out.

  8. Sounds like a good fit for Carly. My only worry would be that the bad becomes too poser-Evanescence, but hopefully Carly will put her own spin on things.

  9. Oh wow, that’s awesome. I’ve always liked her rock more than her pop so I’m delighted.

  10. Good for Carly! It sounds like a better fit for her. I’ve always loved her voice and thought the Amy Lee-vibe was similar.

  11. For editing: The first paragraph after the quote is the same as the last paragraph in the quote.

    I’m happy for Carly. I think she has a great voice and that she’ll do a great job fronting a band. Even if she never becomes the big recording star she may have once wanted to be, I’d like to see her be able to make a respectable living doing music that she enjoys.

  12. I love the picture! I guess AI wasn’t as progressive last year as they are this year ala Adam Lambert? Or maybe Carly just wasn’t as assertive about who she was? Whatever…I love Carly and wish her well! :)

  13. Good news for Carly and it does sound like a good fit for her. I wish her the best, though I do think she is still making excuses about her time on Idol. The producers couldn’t steer her to be something else unless she let them, or unless she herself was confused about her musical identity.

  14. there was way too much à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Love me Simon!à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  going on there.

    Yeah that! To me, her neediness became about 90% of her problem on AI over time. But, that’s the past. Congrats to her on this gig and moving forward. Sounds a little like they’re trying to strike while the iron is hot and meet the market where it appears to be right now. Good for her/them, hope it works out well regardless!

  15. Carly seems really happy about this collaboration so hopefully it will give her some of the confidence she lacked on the show. Great pipes, but she never seemed comfortable in her own skin. Understandable if she was being pushed to sing Celine against her will, but I also hope she learned from that experience how to better assert her own musical identity. Otherwise she will suffer greatly the Amy Lee comparisons with this new project. I really hope this works out for her – she was always one of those contestants who had so much potential but just never quite clicked within the Idol framework.

  16. I’m stoked! She was in my top 4 last year, and since the band changed its name, maybe they will change its sound a bit to suit Carly’s.

    Congratulations to a great singer who never gave up!

  17. Ben Moody is awesome. This is a great move for her! Amy Lee has a beautiful voice, but the band was so much better with the original line up. Fallen is still one of my favorite rock records of all time!

  18. Wow, this is exciting! I used to love Evanescence, and I don’t know the details, but I remember thinking it was a shame when all the original members save Amy Lee dropped off the roster one by one once they got huge… pretty cool that most of the boys regrouped and are doing something cool again. Moody was just kinda like half the Evanescensce sound, so hopefully their new stuff will be good but somewhat different to avoid too many inevitable comparisons. A band sounds great for Carly. Like her, but was not too fond of her musical choices, so this news has me way more intrigued than her solo stuff.

    “We want to play old stuff, and we want to play new stuff.à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ 

    Interesting quote. I’m assuming “old” isn’t like, Evanescence stuff, cuz Amy Lee’s name is on most (all?) of those credits, no?

  19. As a huge fan of the original Evanescence (the Amy Lee/Ben Moody team), this steps on my toes quite a bit. I am not comfortable with Carly taking what appears to be Amy Lee’s position. It’s definitely not because it’s a whole NEW band, but that’s what it looks like, and that’s what people will think, especially given that Evanescence’s debut and multi-platinum album was called “Fallen” (which irks me even more). With Carly’s striking similarities to Amy Lee in looks and vocally (not to mention that she covered “Bring Me to Life” on the AI tour), titling their band “The Fallen” with similarities to Evanescence’s musical and visual style, on top of Ben Moody and the rest of the ex-Evanescence team, there’s going to be confusion and comparisons galore.

    Now having said all that, I will say that I’m less skeptical of the direction that Carly is taking now that I know Ben Moody is involved. He’s brilliant. I like Amy Lee (musically), but Evanescence has not been the same since he left, and he’s written great songs with other artists. I’m pretty confident he’ll steer her in the right direction. I don’t think it’ll be as good as the music Ben and Amy made together when they were still on friendly terms, but I’ll keep an open mind. I’ll be interested to hear what they come up with.

    Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m stoked! She was in my top 4 last year, and since the band changed its name, maybe they will change its sound a bit to suit Carlyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s

    This is NOT Evanescence. Evanescence is still in the hands of Amy Lee. This a definitely a new band with several FORMER Evanescence members.

  20. I’m really happy for Carly, I was getting worried that I hadn’t heard anything about her for a while. This sounds like a really great fit for her and I miss Evanescence.

    There’s definitely the danger of an Evanscence sound-a-like band there, however good songs are good songs. They have a built in fan base and so does Carly so this could end up working out really well for her.

    Carly does come up with lots of excuses, but I’m ok with that. I have no idea what went on behind the scenes of Idol. I’m just really psyched to hear what they come up with now!

  21. yesss i LOVE carly! i’m so excited for this.
    i hope that people don’t perceive her as amy lee v2.0…

  22. The picture is awesome which made me wonder if she ever got her geisha tattoo finished. If so, does anybody have a picture? I always thought it was beautiful even unfinished.

  23. This is NOT Evanescence. Evanescence is still in the hands of Amy Lee. This a definitely a new band with several FORMER Evanescence members.blockquote>

    I hope I’m not stepping on any Evanescence fans’ toes, but I loved original Evanescence but kinda lost interest after the rest of the band members left. The fact that this new band has more original Evanescence members than the current Amy Lee-driven incarnation makes me actually MORE interested in Fallen than Evanescence. Of course, if their stuff comes out sucking, then I’ll take back what I said, and concede that Amy Lee was the reason for their original awesomeness. Regardless what happens, I’m just happy those guys found a new gig, and seem excited about it. Whatever drama happened, bet it kinda sucked for them to not be part of Evanescence anymore.

  24. Hooray for Carly! I was and am a fan, but was never quite sure what her direction would ultimately be. Fronting a band – and one with great “bones” – sounds fantastic to me. I cannot wait to hear their music.

  25. So here’s my question: They plan on touring – in theaters- with no album or songs that are even out now? They say that they’re planning to release singles while on tour but who’s going to go out and watch them when they don’t even know what music they’ll be playing? Also, what songs will they sing? To sing Evanescense songs is basically Part 2 and people always like the original more so that wouldn’t pose a problem? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know that it has the former band members in there but most people do identify the band with the lead singer. To try and form a band similar to that sounds kinda lame.

    And I will say this too.. sorry, but I don’t think Carly is the big rock singer that she thinks she is.

  26. Great news! I’m really excited about this. As an artist, I really see her as a rocker, Celine Dion 2.0 is something we don’t need, unfortunately, it wasn’t easy for her on idol, but outside that pressure, I’m sure she’ll do great, can’t wait to hear more from her.

  27. This is huge and really unexpected. Probably feels like a dream come true for her. Ben is a very talented guy.

    I have to say though, I don’t think she’ll ever have half the talent, musicality and unique quality of voice that Amy lee has. This move should settle the debate of who was responsible for the success of Fallen (Evanescence 15 million selling first album).

  28. My only worry is that people will most likely think that this is Evanescence v2.0 and compare her to Amy Lee.

    and

    Sheà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s not quite Amy Lee

    She’s not even close vocally IMHO. I love Amy’s vocals but have never liked Carly’s shouting. Hopefully the Ev guys will guide her better.

  29. Carly has too much talent to not do anything with. I was skeptical about how she wanted to wait to make the right music after Idol, but it was worth the wait. This is a fantastic gig for Carly, a gig where Carly seems like she really will feel comfortable with.

    It sounds like both parties have a very clear and organized vision of where they want to go and they both really want to succeed. SO excited for the music they will produce.

    Go Carly!

  30. Congratulations and good luck to her.
    But I quite “get” this quote – “Carly says if you know her from American Idol, you really donà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t know her, à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“I was steered away from being myself on the show,à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  she says.” I don’t see how she can blame TPTB for this, or if she does I’m not sure what she means.

  31. Well when bands fall apart, the blame can usually be spread equally all around so I doubt Amy Lee is a poor innocent victim in all this, abandoned by her band. She could just as well have abandoned them, figuratively if not literally and agendas and directions change. The press is just being sloppy as usual – now our hero MJ gets it right, she says “ex-Evanescence trio” – see it’s not that hard to get it more precise even in a headline.

    More bands don’t last than do. The U2s that are together for over 30 years are the exceptions not the rule. I would never begrudge people moving on with other colloborators or going solo.

    I agree though that they really have to be careful not to fall into that trap of just being Evanescence 2.0 and I hope they are very mindful of that and manage to create a new sound for themselves, even with cover material until they get enough original stuff together.

    The reality is many Idol contestants for whatever reason, just the format of the show itself, perhaps, don’t get to showcase even a fraction of their talent or find their groove and then people are shocked by how talented some of the peeps are away from the constrictions of the show. Because sadly Idol just really has moved away from being a true singing competiion if it ever was in retrospect.
    I think of Matt Giraud as one example this season and really even Allison I don’t think we’ve even seen a fraction of what she can do. Just watch the pre-Idol stuff of a lot of contestants and you realize we aren’t getting the full picture of the potential. IMO but YMMV.

    I love Carly’s voice and I hope she has finally found a home for it.

    Their plan is a bit odd sounding however, in the old days, bands use to play the bar circuit doing a mix of covers and originals until they either had enough original material to record an album or maybe an EP [I still got my EP cassette from Bare Naked Ladies, gathering dust in the basement, and frankly I think some of the cuts were better on that EP than the new versions on the first album and that EP is what lead to the big record deal]. People came out to see Guns n Roses and Motley Crue long before they ever had record deals. I don’t think that has changed too much – you still see young unknown bands cutting their teeth as opening acts or playing smaller venues where they develop a following. If you rock, they will come. Just saying.

    The Fallen have the distinct advantage of all the members of the group already having a degree of fame so it should pull people in on that basis alone at first.

  32. Well first thing I thought when I read this is Carly Smithson is nowhere near as good as Amy Lee but I think she has more of a chance at a career with these guys than she does solo so good luck to her, i’m interested to hear how they sound.

  33. This sounds like a good path for her. Best of luck to her.

    If this band takes off, then she’ll be the frontwoman of Fallen. Journey is touring again without Steve Perry – but under the same name, unlike Fallen.

    I’m confused though. Didn’t Carly perform a new song on AI Extra this past season that was supposed to be on her new album? So will she tour with Fallen and also release an album, independently?

  34. Well, this is good news and could turn out to be quite cool!

    I was kind of luke-warm about Carly last year. Sometimes I liked her but mostly she seemed to not really have a definable musical identity. I never thought she was a real rocker girl, but maybe I’ll be proved wrong now that she’s fronting a band.

  35. Good questions Sasha B – will she release the album? shelve it? take some of the songs and use them, revamp them or rewrite them for The Fallen? Probably a hunk of change invested in what she’s recorded so far independently.

  36. Great news!!! I always preferred Rocker Carly to Pop Diva Carly, and she looks awesome in black. :biggrin_wp:

  37. As a huge fan of the original Evanescence (the Amy Lee/Ben Moody team), this steps on my toes quite a bit. I am not comfortable with Carly taking what appears to be Amy Leeà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s position. Ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s definitely not because ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s a whole NEW band, but thatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s what it looks like, and thatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s what people will think, especially given that Evanescenceà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s debut and multi-platinum album was called à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Fallenà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  (which irks me even more). With Carlyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s striking similarities to Amy Lee in looks and vocally (not to mention that she covered à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Bring Me to Lifeà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  on the AI tour), titling their band à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“The Fallenà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  with similarities to Evanescenceà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s musical and visual style, on top of Ben Moody and the rest of the ex-Evanescence team, thereà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s going to be confusion and comparisons galore.

    This. And the simple fact that Ben Moody is involved is going to get the Evanescence fans riled up, and the comparisons are going to be plentiful and harsh. I love Carly, I really do, but Amy Lee she ain’t. The only way I see this band ever breaking away from ‘Evanescence 2.0’ is by 1) changing the name ‘The Fallen’, really? 2) Switching up the genre a little, if they go the alternative-gothic-rock route there’s going to be hell to pay.

    And finally, are we sure that that picture isn’t a photoshop? Carly’s head looks WAY too big in comparison to her body. Seems like tha band is still too early in development to be taking photos like that, looks to me like a fan photoshoped (fairly well) Carly’s head onto Amy Lee’s body…

  38. This is a great gig for Carly and a real good deal for Moody and the band too. Carly is a tremendous singer. And, to my mind, last years Idols Live tour kind of sealed the deal on her ability to hold a live stage. Simply put: Carly owns.

    Richard Rushfield had an exclusive Q & A with Carly and Moody about the plans and where The Fallen wants to go from here. It sounds like an interesting road map and rather unique vision for a rock band in the age of digital downloads. Here is that link:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/americanidoltracker/2009/06/q-and-as-with-carly-smithson-and-new-bandmate-ben-moody.html

    Comparisons to Amy Lee are inevitable. In fact, they literally have to come with this territory. I suspect that open-minded fans will find that Carly actually does quite well in the comparison. Carly’s studio recordings from American Idol are all vocally spot on. If she overcooks the vocals live at times nobody at a rock concert will give two shakes. I have no doubt that the studio recordings will be amazing.

    What happens to “Carly’s album” is anyones guess. I suspect that some of the stuff will be in the show and, in time, likely on The Fallen’s album too. It is always better to have too many songs than too few.

  39. I’m a Carley fan. I think her problem on AI was the fact that she’d been thru so much trying for a career in music that she felt too much of a need to please. She’d been brought to America as a young teenager, promised a recording career and after several tries at recording an album one was finally approved, but the record company was feeling hard times and didn’t have the funds to properly promote her. She’d changed her life and her families and now had no career so Idol was a second chance and I think she just came off as needy and almost begging for acceptance IMO. I hope folks have an open mind and give this new group a fair chance as it sounds like there is talent there. Some times change is good.

  40. I wasn’t a huge carly fan, but this is exciting news. She has a great voice (when she’s not screeching) and this is just downright exciting.

  41. I’m so happy for Carly! It sounds like she’s right where she wants to be! Good for her!

    That picture was cool!

  42. This is a great opportunity for Carly, and I’m happy for her. I think making music as a front woman for these guys will afford her a better chance than releasing an indie solo record. I really didn’t dig her performance on AI Extra, but I think a collaboration with musicians with a track record and name recognition could pay off. I wasn’t a fan on the show, but I did enjoy her on tour.

    I do agree that it is possible to come across as authentic on the show. Others have done it. She was just too eager to please Simon. But it’s a new day and I wish her well. I’ll be checking out the tunes as they are released.

  43. The only way I see this band ever breaking away from à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹Evanescence 2.0à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ² is by 1) changing the name à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‹The Fallenà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢, really? 2) Switching up the genre a little, if they go the alternative-gothic-rock route thereà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s going to be hell to pay.

    It’s the band name that really gets me. I get the significance, but you really couldn’t come up with something else?

    And finally, are we sure that that picture isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t a photoshop? Carlyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s head looks WAY too big in comparison to her body. Seems like tha band is still too early in development to be taking photos like that, looks to me like a fan photoshoped (fairly well) Carlyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s head onto Amy Leeà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s bodyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦

    Come to think of it, it does. That would explain why she’s wearing something that looks like it came out of Amy Lee’s closet.

    After reading the LA Times Q & A, I like the idea of the collaboration and the band better, but I changed my mind about it being something that could potentially be big. I’m not saying it can’t, but the way they’re planning to market and distribute is … different. I’m not sure if it will work, especially given that their music seems like it’s going to be something more suited to sub-culture rather than mainstream, but between Carly’s fans and Evanescence fans, I’m sure it’ll have some level of success. Moody said he’s taking the band where he would have liked to take Evanescence after “Fallen”, and personally, I’m actually kindof excited to see how Moody’s path will differ from where Amy Lee took Evanescence after “Fallen” because I wasn’t quite as thrilled with the latter, but I’m not saying I will be with the former either. I still have to listen to it.

    Concerning Carly and her music genre … I always saw her as a rocker and enjoyed her most as so. The fact that some people do and some people don’t and most of the music industry doesn’t, I think really shows that she did not build a musical identity for herself on the show. I got really annoyed when she said she’s always seen herself as a rocker and not a popper. It’s like, then why the heck didn’t you present yourself like that on the show? If she wanted to be Adam Lambert-esque (i.e. theatrical rock), then she should have just done it, and not worried about pleasing and impressing people. /rant

    It’s all just uncanny to me personally ’cause I used to be head over heels for Evanescence, and S7 of AI was the first season I got really obsessed with (I had only watched S3 previously). I rag on Carly a lot, but truth be told, she was the fourth of my Top 4. It’s just weird how things like that come together.

  44. Carly’s statement comes across to me that she’s kind of dissing AI so she’ll have more rock cred. I never liked her personality but she’s a really good singer so good luck to her.

  45. At least one other S7 person is excited about this. Per Jason’s twitter:

    Carlys in a band!!! We are the fallen!!! Check it out!!! So excited!!!

    Of course being Jason he doesn’t actually tell people where to check it out. He’s also apparently a fan of the exclamation point.

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