With her new album, Vanessa Carlton wanted to try to stick it to The Man rather than sticking with The Man.
The Pennsylvania-born pop singersongwriter enjoyed a platinum debut, 2002’s “Be Not Nobody,” and a sophomore slump with 2004’s “Harmonium.” After that, her relationship with her label, A&M Records, changed.
“There’s no creative freedom anymore — you do it exactly the way the boss says, or that’s it,” says Carlton, 27. “It’s a ‘My way or the highway’ kind of situation. That’s what I was presented with, so I chose the highway.
“And it is a higher way, actually — pun intended. I was so proud of ‘Harmonium,’ and I wish they had supported that more. But in the end, the way it all went down is how it should have gone. I have no regrets.”
Carlton’s savior came from an unexpected quarter, however — hip-hop impresario Irv Gotti, who signed her to his label, The Inc. Records, for “Heroes & Thieves,” which came out in October and features collaborations with Stevie Nicks and Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins, Carlton’s former boyfriend.
“Irv was very refreshing,” Carlton says. “It’s a difficult time in music now and hard to find people who are still channeling that unfiltered passion and intensity and energy. But as (Gotti) got to know my music, I realized he’s a real music guy, and I started to really trust his opinion.
“And his passion was so fantastic it just felt right, and he did a great job of being at the helm, guiding this (album).”
Vanessa Carlton performs with Josh Radin and Alexa Wilkinson on Thursday (Aug. 7) at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot. com.
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