One On One With Vanessa Carlton

Multi-platinum recording artist Vanessa Carlton will be performing at Saturday's WNBA All-Star Welcome Party presented by AOL. She is best known for her abilities as a singer, songwriter and pianist and her music is a blend of pop, rock and jazz. In 2002, Carlton's talent was showcased worldwide with her hit single "A Thousand Miles" from her debut album Be Not Nobody. She followed that up with a second album, Harmonium, in 2004. Now, older, wiser and with a new label, The Inc Records, Carlton is putting the finishing touches on her third album, Heroes and Thieves. She chatted with's Lauren Brill to discuss her new album and her upcoming WNBA performance.

Q: Your last Album, Harmonium, came out in 2004. What have you been doing since?
Carlton: I have been touring. I was on the road with Stevie Nicks. I have also been working on my new album, Heroes and Thieves. I am finishing that now.

Q: Why the name Heroes and Thieves?
Carlton: "Heroes and Thieves" is a song on the album. It is a song about assessing, to put it in a dramatic way, the Heroes and Thieves in your life. It also really defines my state right now. I am in my mid-twenties and I am figuring out the way I want to lead my life and the people I want to be in my life. So it is really about me evolving.

Q: You stated on your My Space page that this album is more honest than the others. How and why is this album more truthful?
Carlton: It is not that the other albums are not honest. When you gain more clarity about yourself you become more clear as an artist, whatever form of art you express yourself in. As you know yourself better the art becomes better. This record feels really solid to me and I think it comes from clarity and getting older.

Q: Are there any featured artists on the new album?
Carlton: Yes, Stevie Nicks sang background vocals on a song called "The One."

Q: Your father once had to push you through a door to convince you to perform. Will you be nervous before Saturday's WNBA Welcome Party performance?
Carlton: No, that was many years ago. Initially I was just writing songs for myself and my friends. I could barely play for my friends. They weren't allowed to look at me. They had to look away as I played, I was so nervous. I had always looked at myself as a ballet dancer and once I realized and was able to call myself a musician I became more comfortable.

Q: Why did you choose to work with producer Irv Gotti from The Inc Records?
Carlton: Irv is a great music man, first and foremost. It really struck a chord with me that not only is he a great music man but he is very passionate. We really believe in each other and I feel lucky to have met him.

Q: What is your first single for the album?
Carlton: It is called "Nolita Fairy Tale."

Q: What does this song reveal about you?
Carlton: Nolita is a place in New York where I lived. It is north of Little Italy. It is about my life there and the series of revelations I have had over the past few years.

Q: Who are you rooting for in the All-Star game, the East or the West?
I am from the East, so I will go for the East.

Q: Are you excited to perform for WNBA fans?
I am happy to provide people with the music there and I hope they have fun.

Q: President of the WNBA Donna Orender stated, "The WNBA is about celebrating motivation and inspiration." Who has inspired and motivated you throughout your career?
Stevie Nicks. She is my mentor. She has totally taken me under her wing. I think the way she remains consistently true to herself is so intriguing, earthly and lovely. She is such a special musician along with being kind of a legendary rock star.

Q: Growing up writing songs was an emotional outlet for you. Currently, is it still an outlet or more of a job?
Whenever I sit and write I am not thinking this is my job. The job part comes in when you are traveling around and having to promote what you have done. It is always a pleasure and when it stops being that I or any other musician should not do it anymore.

Q: How did the pressures of studying at the School of American Ballet prepare you for the music business?
It is very different from the music industry because there are very ridged rules in ballet that you have to follow. What it instilled in me is a sense of discipline and a tenacity that I think I carried over into my career as a musician.

Q: What advice do you have for young girls attempting to pursue their dream?
A lot of people have dreams but they stay dreams. To make a dream a reality you need to just imagine it really happening. I think that is really powerful. It allows your dreams to come to life.

Vanessa Carlton will be performing during All-Star Weekend.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Carlton