Vanessa Carlton Talks "Blue Pool" Inspiration & Her Haunting New EP
Vanessa Carlton fans have a lot to be excited about. The singer and songwriter will be releasing a new EP titled "Blue Pool" on July 24 that will feature four enchanting new songs, and those same tracks will be included on Carlton's upcoming LP that is due out in October. The singer needs little more than her inimitable vocals and haunting piano melodies to leave listeners feeling transported to an ethereal state, as each song is seemingly threaded together by an intangible haziness that could easily fit into a fairytale. Despite the dreamlike quality within the EP, Carlton has crafted lyrics that convey several messages fans will easily relate to, even at their most intricate. In the title track, "Blue Pool," the concept of timing underlines the song as Carlton describes meeting an old friend poolside in Los Angeles with the line, "The time for you and I, it was never quite right. That matters. That means everything." Bustle caught up with Carlton to discuss her inspiration for "Blue Pool" and the other tracks on her upcoming EP.
"I wanted it to go down really easy with the type of music that makes you feel sonically transported," the singer told me. She also credited her collaboration with British producer, Steve Osborne, in adding to the EP's eclectic quality. "A lot of it was having that relationship with him, and that collaboration with him, and learning so much. He has this amazing vintage gear in his studio that can just make everything sound like a dream."
Carlton went on to tell me that the whimsical quality of "Blue Pool" — along with the other three tracks — "was very much on purpose," and that she had that cannon of sound in mind while penning the song.
When I asked Carlton about the concept of timing throughout "Blue Pool" — and whether or not she personally felt timing is an integral factor when it comes to relationships — she was quick to tell me, "Oh, totally! Something is not gonna work out if the timing isn’t right. It’s just the way it is. It doesn’t mean that we are passengers in our lives, but it’s a huge thing with relationships." She went on to reference how timing played a role when first meeting her husband, John McCauley. "The timing of me meeting my husband was just perfection. I’m not surprised that that all came together the way that it did. If either one of us had met years earlier, I don't know if things could have ended up the way they are."
As for Carlton's musical inspirations while creating the album, her influences are wide-ranging. "I'll listen to [artists like Neil Young] and juxtapose that with a band like Air. I also listen to really old music, like stuff from the '40s — stuff that makes me feel like I'm in a different era. I love listening to music like that." Carlton went on to say that she and Osborne drew some inspiration from an eclectic mix of sounds, but there wasn't one particular style that was helmed, which is probably what aided in making the "Blue Pool" EP so wonderfully dynamic. "[Osborne and I] really kind of did our own thing. It was just he and I in the studio; we were coming up with all the sounds and playing all the instruments...I don't think there was something I was listening to that was a direct reference for the album."
It's no surprise that Carlton could not pinpoint one influence for the EP, but the enthrallingly enigmatic tracks are certain to inspire other artists. The singer's creativity and talent are palpable throughout each lyric and piano key. For fans who have been aching for new songs from the singer, "Blue Pool" will assuredly prove to be well worth the wait.
Image: Eddie Chacon