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A Few Of Vanessa Carlton's Favorite Things

Vanessa Carlton's new album, <em>Rabbits on the Run</em>, comes out July 26.
Courtesy of the artist
Vanessa Carlton's new album, Rabbits on the Run, comes out July 26.

Vanessa Carlton started her career intending to become a professional ballet dancer, but instead, she followed her dreams of becoming a musician. Now, she's a classically trained pianist, a singer and a songwriter. Her 2002 debut album, Be Not Nobody, earned three Grammy nominations. She's followed up that smash debut with three more albums, the latest of which is titled Rabbits on the Run.

Carlton tells Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Linda Wertheimer that her new album was inspired by a diverse host of writers and artists, including Stephen Hawking and his book, A Brief History of Time.

"I love the universal idea of chaos theory — that there are these little blips and these little moments where you can't really make sense of things," Carlton says. "And then, things start to dismantle in a way, and you're like, 'How does that happen?' Then they come together again, and it's beautiful again. ... I find that makes perfect sense to me now."

Carlton says she was also inspired by Watership Down, Richard Adams' fantasy novel about a group of rabbits — hence the album's title. Her biggest influence, however, was her parents' collection of '70s vinyl records, whose warm sound moved her to record the album on analog tape, rather than digitally.

"It might as well have been 1974," Carlton says. "When I put on the test pressing of the record, I was like, 'I can listen to this, and then I can put on a Fleetwood Mac record, and then I can put on my Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record, and then I can put on my Rickie Lee Jones.' I'm not saying that I'm some master songwriter, as they are. But the sound of it — they belong to the same family."

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