Friday, 14 March 2008

Vanessa Carlton

In my own words...

I was born 8/16/80 and raised in Mitford, PA by my parents Ed and Heidi Carlton. My Dad is a pilot (he plays fiddle on the side), and my mom is a pianist and teacher. My childhood was unconventional. When I was two I was enrolled into a Montessori school. I just remember running around and drawing pictures all the time. Music and art were the main focuses of my childhood.

My mom was my first music teacher. I suppose the first sign that I was "musical" came when I figured out "It's A Small World" on the piano when I was two years old. We had just returned from Disneyland. After that, my mother began exposing me to a variety of classical composers, from Eric Satie, to Mozart, to Debussey. At eight, I wrote my first piece of music. I wasn't writing lyrics or anything, just little piano songs.

I was nine when I fell in love with ballet. I was obsessed with it actually. Fortunately my mom made me keep up the piano during that time. At thirteen, I started travelling to New York to study with some of the great ballet dancers and teachers such as Grelsey Kirkland and Madame Nenette Charisse.

At fourteen, I was accepted to study at the School of American Ballet in New York City. I left my family and moved into a dorm at Lincoln Center. I enrolled in the Professional Children's School for high school and began a new life.

The life of a ballet dancer is neither easy nor fair. The pressure is intense and the competition extreme. Surprisingly, I had always been a confident dancer, almost fearless, but as I approached my senior year things began to unravel. I became frustrated and lost. I was on the brink of becoming a professional when everything feel apart. At seventeen feeling broken and isolated, I started writing songs again.

It was the dilapidated piano in the kitchen of my dorm that brought me solace. Sometimes I would skip ballet class to go upstairs and play. All these songs just poured out of me. This time, I wasn't simply writing piano pieces, I was writing lyrics I had always loved to sing growing up, but I never thought of myself as a singer until I sang my lyrics. I put my voice and piano together I couldn't imagine it any other way.

The fall after I graduated I got an apartment with a friend, became a waitress and started playing gigs downtown. A year later, I signed with Interscope, Geffen, A&M Records.

I am currently in the studio recording my debut album., Be Not Nobody, which should be out in early March. I'm going as fast as I can! The single, A Thousand Miles, will be out in early February.

Last but not least, I got into Columbia University and I have started dancing again, just for my self.


By: Vanessa Carlton

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