Vanessa Carlton life and biography

Vanessa Carlton picture, image, poster

Vanessa Carlton biography

Date of birth : 1980-08-16
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Milford, Pennsylvania,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-11-01
Credited as : Singer, , Songs for Tibet

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Vanessa Lee Carlton is an American singer-songwriter and musician. At the completion of her education at the School of American Ballet, Carlton chose to pursue singing instead, performing in New York bars and clubs while attending university. Three months after recording a demo with producer Peter Zizzo, she signed with A&M Records.

Vanessa Carlton was born and raised in Mitford, Pennsylvania, along with her younger sister, Gwen. Her father, Ed, was a pilot and played the fiddle. Her mother, Heidi, was a teacher and taught piano lessons from her home. When Carlton was two years old, she taught herself to play "It's A Small World" on the piano, after a family trip to Disneyland. Her mother then began giving the youngster piano lessons, and she also took dance lessons.

As Carlton grew up, there was always a large selection of music to listen to. Her mother preferred the sound of classical music, including Mozart and Debussy. Her father enjoyed classic rock music, including Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

In her early teens she was recognized for her skill at ballet dancing, and was accepted at the prestigious School of American Ballet in Manhattan. At 14 years of age, she found herself moving to New York City to study professional dance. "I was pretty fearless when I was 14. I loved it. ... It was like camp," she told What Magazine. Carlton felt that she knew the path that her life would take. "I'd be a ballet dancer until I was done with my career, which would be about 39, and [then] I'd be out of a job," she told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

She enjoyed studying ballet, but often felt that something was missing. As the years went by, she found herself skipping classes to play the piano in the kitchen of the dormitory. "When you're dancing you're sort of silent," she told Interview magazine. "But when I was upstairs in the dorm's kitchen, playing on a shifty old piano and singing at the top of my lungs, it was like I could finally speak," she recalled. By age 17, she knew that she needed to focus more on music than on dance.

She moved to the section of New York City known as Hell's Kitchen, and took a job waiting tables while writing and performing whenever she could. She caught the attention of Ahmet Ertegun, the longtime head of Atlantic Records. Carlton told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Ertegun told her, "'You just have a very unique voice,'" and she added, "I sent him a demo of four songs, and they were the only four songs I had ever written." While her meeting with Ertegun did not result in a recording deal, it did provide her with valuable business experience.

Eventually, she signed with A&M Records, but didn't feel as though she was making any progress. "At this point I was kind of lost at my label," she told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "I was in dire need of someone at the label to kind of be my champion and take over." Then A&M president Ron Fair heard her material. Fair produced Carlton's first album, Be Not Nobody. "A Thousand Miles" and "Ordinary Day" were both hit singles from the album. "It's a very clean record," she told the Dispatch. "It's a very simple record in many ways, too. ...There is an elegance to the record that I think is pretty rare for debut albums." Be Not Nobody went platinum and received three Grammy nominations for the song "A Thousand Miles." For the video of "A Thousand Miles," she rode through the streets of Los Angeles on the back of a flatbed truck, with a baby grand piano and an owl.

Carlton understands that the title Be Not Nobody is a double negative. She told Interview that the phrase came to her in a dream and she wanted to use it. "Sometimes when things are not correct," she said, "they make so much more sense."

Carlton has been compared to Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch, and Britney Spears. She takes it in stride. "If you compare and contrast the music, we're more different than we are alike," Carlton told the Newark Star-Ledger. "We are in the same age range (late teens, early twenties), and representing something that is new, so it's natural to kind of bind us together, but in terms of my music and what I would like to achieve personally, I do feel like I'm really on my own path."

In the summer of 2002 Carlton began her first official tour, opening for Third Eye Blind and the Goo Goo Dolls. That fall she headlined her own tour. Carlton attended a semester at Columbia University in the fall of 2003, with hopes of squeezing in more semesters whenever she could. In the fall of 2004 she released Harmonium, which was produced by her boyfriend, Stephan Jenkins, who was also the frontman for the band Third Eye Blind.

The training and support provided by her family has helped Carlton to continue to push forward in her career, including her father convincing her to go to open-mic performances even when she felt too shy. In a Washington Times article, Carlton also expressed her appreciation for her mother. "She has always been the hand on my back, saying, 'OK you're good.' She is always rooting for me, also at the same time giving me freedom and letting me make my own mistakes."

Carlton advises others who are trying to break into the business to "Keep doing what you're doing," as she told What Magazine. "Stay as normal as you can by balancing yourself out by going to school or studying, and do not really get involved in the industry until you're a bit older."

In August 2005, Carlton said she was to enter the recording studio the following month with producer Linda Perry, with whom she had previously collaborated after executives at A&M Records sent her into the studio to record a re-release single for Harmonium. The album was influenced by Carlton's breakup with its co-producer, Stephan Jenkins, and Carlton said that one of the reasons they remained friends was that "nothing took precedence over the music ... No matter what was going on in the emotional realm, all we cared about was the album. It created this kinetic environment that was kind of like Fleetwood Mac. It made for better music."

Heroes & Thieves was released and greeted with generally positive reviews. It debuted at number 44 on the U.S. Billboard 200, "Nolita Fairytale" was the first single and peaked at number 26 adult. As of December 2009, the album had sold 200,000 copies in the U.S. To promote the album, Carlton embarked on the Haunted Club Tour, from November 2 to November 24, 2007. Second single "Hands on Me" was sent out to radios in February 2008 and reached number nine. Carlton parted amicably with The Inc. once her promotional commitments to Heroes & Thieves had passed.

She contributed a stripped version of the song "More Than This" to Songs for Tibet, in support of Tibet to underline its human rights situation. On September 25, 2008, Carlton and several other musicians and scientists, departed on a nine-day trip to the Arctic Circle. On behalf of the charity Cape Farewell, they worked alongside researchers for the purpose of studying climate change. On June 19, 2010, Carlton came out as bisexual while headlining Nashville Pride. Carlton had also been a part for PETA's Animal Birth Control Campaign,she owns a long haired dachshund named Lord Victor.

Carlton's fourth studio album, Rabbits on the Run was released on July 26, 2011 under Razor & Tie, the third record label she signed with. Before recording the album, Carlton was unsure whether she wanted to make another record or pursue film scoring instead. After deciding to try again, she decided that she needed to record in the ideal environment, choosing to record at Real World Studios London.She chose the title for the symbolism often depicted by rabbits – 'time slipping, mind floating' – which is something she has been relating to for the past few years.
The album was further inspired by Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, and Richard Adams's Watership Down. The dreamy, fantastical sound of the album was achieved by recording direct to tape and features production by Steve Osborne. First single, "Carousel" was released on May 3. On September 19, a tweet in Carlton's account made by her management stated that "I Don't Want To Be A Bride" would be the next single off the record.

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