Vanessa Carlton, the voice behind the popular 2002 hit A Thousand Miles is performing in Baton Rouge at Spanish Moon on Feb. 3.
More than 14 years since her breakout album, Be Not Nobody, Vanessa Carlton has produced her fifth studio album, Liberman, a more mature record that Carlton believes makes for an intimate listening experience. Before her big show at Spanish Moon, Carlton spoke to DIG Magazine about her tour, her new album, her life and how her music has changed.
In recent years, Carlton, whose hit single A Thousand Miles peaked inside the top-5 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 2002, has found a peaceful life, making a home for herself in Nashville with her husband and daughter, who was born in early 2015.
“I love it, I really feel so lucky that I followed my instincts and moved here,” said Carlton on moving from New York to Nashville. “I have a car for the first time. I’ve never owned a car, which is kind of a miracle. We have a back yard; my dog is in Heaven. It’s a great place to raise a daughter.”
Carlton’s newest album may give fans some pause as the album shows a transition from Carlton’s pop star days to a more intimate, indie listening experience. However, the transition proves that Carlton can be a mature, introspective artist. While many college-aged women can be found singing A Thousand Miles off key while drinking their cranberry vodkas, Carlton doesn’t identify herself a pop star.
“A lot of those songs were written when I was 16 [years old],” said Carlton, now 35 years old. “So there was definitely an evolution that happened…I was very much sold as the piano-pop girl, so I felt like I had some responsibility to that or felt pressured to be that. I mean that’s why they signed me. Honestly, I felt like my heart was really moving elsewhere into a zone that wasn’t so cookie cutter and maybe wasn’t pop at all.”
Since breaking from a major record label, Carlton said she has the freedom to produce records like Liberman, where her musical interests and artistic choices take center stage.
“It’s such a reflection of where I’m at,” Carlton said. “For me, it’s a much more vibrant and authentic place to live.”
The tracks off Liberman are intricate and layered, driven primarily by Carlton’s performance on the piano making for a trancelike dreamy experience. She made most of Liberman in England with producer Steve Osborne, who also helmed her last album, 2011’s Rabbits on the Run.
“The biggest challenge was finding the palette,” said Carlton, who wanted the album to feel like a dream. “I think finding the crossover between the sounds was the biggest hurdle.”
And for Carlton, playing the Liberman tracks every night is a pleasure for her during the tour because of the message on the record.
“There’s something restorative about it for me personally,” said Carlton. “Even though the album itself is not…a personal scope into my life, but I think people are really supportive of me and kind of allowing me to grow up and let me be where I am at right now in my career and that’s been really like a crazy journey for me.”
For the Feb. 3 show, Carlton says the majority of the set list will come from Liberman though she will play a few of her older songs that fans will know.
“This record is definitely different if you don’t know what I’ve been doing for the past few records,” said Carlton.
Photo courtesy of Eddie Chacon.