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Vanessa Carlton

Along with Michelle Branch and Nelly Furtado, Vanessa Carlton helped usher in a new era of female songwriters during the early 2000s. "A Thousand Miles," her first single, was one of the biggest songs of 2002, topping the pop charts in America and cracking the Top Ten in England. None of her subsequent singles came close to matching that song's success, but Carlton continued releasing albums into the following decade, fine-tuning a sweeping, cinematic pop sound that featured her vocals and piano skills at the forefront.

Raised in Milford, a tiny town in eastern Pennsylvania, Vanessa Carlton took piano lessons from her mother and composed her first song as an eight-year-old. Several years later, she was accepted into the School of American Ballet in New York. Despite being one of the best dancers in her class, she became frustrated with the strictness of the discipline and began to look elsewhere for inspiration, eventually winding up at the piano located inside her Manhattan dorm. Carlton began writing songs again, reaching beyond the classical music of her youth to incorporate influences from pop artists like Tori Amos and Fiona Apple. When it came time to graduate, she halted her dancing career and enrolled at Columbia University instead, where she continued to work on her songwriting.

Carlton spent a pair of years waiting tables in Lower Manhattan, living in Hell's Kitchen, and playing open-mike events before signing with A&M Records. Label president Ron Fair took particular interest in her music and agreed to produce Be Not Nobody, which became Carlton's major-label debut in early 2002. "A Thousand Miles" was the album's crown jewel, earning three Grammy nominations and dominating radio playlists throughout the year, while "Ordinary Day" also enjoyed success as a Top 40 hit. Carlton toured heavily in support of the platinum-selling album, sharing stages with bands like Third Eye Blind and Goo Goo Dolls along the way. She also began dating Third Eye Blind's frontman, Stephen Jenkins, and duetted with Counting Crowes on a popular cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

Carlton began recording her second album in June 2003, with Jenkins serving as her producer, collaborator, and background vocalist. Together, the two spent a year creating Harmonium, a confessional and somewhat dark album that was markedly different from her first record. Public response was different, too, and Harmonium dropped out of the Top 40 during its second week of release. By the end of 2004, it had barely sold more than 100,000 copies, which worsened Carlton's relationship with A&M and led to her exit from the label during the following summer.

Carlton continued writing songs with help from Linda Perry (a collaborator from the Harmonium sessions) and Jenkins. In a surprise move, she also signed a new recording contract with The Inc., a label owned by rap mogul Irv Gotti. Perry, Jenkins, and Gotti all shared production duties on 2007's Heroes & Thieves, a diverse album that received strong reviews but, like its predecessor, failed to sell well. Jenkins and Carlton ended their relationship soon after the album's release, and her tenure with The Inc. proved to be similarly short. By 2010, she had partnered with another label, Razor & Tie, and briefly decamped to the U.K. to record her fourth album. Rabbits on the Run was released the following year. Carlton supported the album with a tour, and a holiday EP called Hear the Bells appeared that November. Over the next few years, she worked steadily on her next album while also starting a family with Deer Tick's John McCauley; the pair married on December 27, 2013 and had their first child in 2015. In the autumn of 2015, Carlton released her fifth album, Liberman. ~ Andrew Leahey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rabbits On The Run

1. Carousel

2. I Don't Want To Be A Bride

3. London

4. Fairweather Friends

5. Hear The Bells

6. Dear California

7. Tall Tales For Spring

8. Get Good

9. The Marching Line

10. In The End

x

Track List: Heroes & Thieves

1. Nolita Fairytale

2. Hands On Me

3. Spring Street

4. My Best

5. Come Undone

6. The One

7. Heroes & Thieves

8. This Time

9. Fools Like Me

10. Home

11. More Than This

x

Track List: Harmonium

1. White Houses

2. Who's To Say

3. Annie

4. San Francisco

5. Afterglow

6. Private Radio

7. Half A Week Before The Winter

8. C'est La Vie

9. Papa

10. She Floats

x

Track List: Be Not Nobody

1. Ordinary Day

2. Unsung

3. A Thousand Miles

4. Pretty Baby

5. Rinse

6. Sway

7. Paradise

8. Prince

9. Paint It Black

10. Wanted

11. Twilight

x

Track List: Blue Pool

1. Take It Easy

2. Blue Pool

3. Operator (Living Room Session)

4. Nothing Where Something Used To Be (Living Room Session)

x

Track List: Carousel (Radio Single)

1. Carousel

x

Track List: I'll Wait For You (Single)

1. I'll Wait For You

x

Track List: Liberman (Deluxe)

1. Take It Easy

2. Willows

3. House Of Seven Swords

4. Operator

5. Blue Pool

6. Nothing Where Something Used To Be

7. Matter Of Time

8. Unlock The Lock

9. River

10. Ascension

11. Blue Pool (Living Room Session)

12. River (Living Room Session)

13. Take It Easy (Living Room Session)

14. Willows (Living Room Session)

15. House Of Seven Swords (Demo)

16. Operator (Living Room Session)

17. Unlock The Lock (Living Room Session)

18. Nothing Where Something Used To Be (Living Room Session)

x

Track List: Operator (Single)

1. Operator

x

Track List: Willows (Single)

1. Willows

Comments

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ordinary day
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im voting sanders
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whose to say
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say i phone 5 times pick a coler and look under your pillow and post this in five differnt songs
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You will be kiss on firday. By the love of ur life
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Kiss your hand 5 time you will finde a i phone if you post in two other songs
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san francisco
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willows
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a thousand miles
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Good song
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my mom is 67 now
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tall tales for spring
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she looks older now. still the intelligence goddess. tied with megumi takani.
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whos to say
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ordinary day
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get good
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london
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ordinary day
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san francisco
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marissavj14
������������
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pretty baby
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marissavj14
Love this song
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white houses
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a thousand miles
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paradise
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I'm gonna record a demo
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great on guitar, piano and vocals
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a thousand miles
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ordinary day
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pretty baby
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White chicks who else?
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me too
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I like this song so much!
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fairweather friends
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V is spoiling her kid
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Vanessa on marty friedman radio
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dulce maria and jennnifer love joy are getting better on pandora
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supernaut by 1000 homo djs now on pandora
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fear of the dark by iron maiden now on pandora
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white houses
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Every time I hear this song I can only think of Terry Crews in White Chicks
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V cut her hair. she chose it.
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+haohmaruoft h e w i n d wat
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My basic white girl is coming out
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V cut her hair
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san francisco
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get good now on pandora
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V is the mozart of women
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arrival by marty friedman now on pandora
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Did anyone notice she said in a thousand miles she said fall into the sky
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