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Vanessa Carlton Comes to Notre Dame

Adriana Pratt | Friday, April 27, 2012

She’s making her way downtown, walking fast while the faces pass on Saturday night. So stop holding onto your secrets in white houses and head to Legends for what promises to be a fun and nostalgic Vanessa Carlton performance.

The 31-year-old singer and songwriter may have disappeared from the mainstream in recent years, but her tunes are still staples at both dorm and off-campus parties alike.

You would think her whimsical piano ballads draw primarily female audiences, but the number of Notre Dame men who can proudly belt out “White Houses” is astounding.

Carlton’s career took off as a young girl, first in the world of ballet and then in front of the microphone. She attended Columbia University, was a waitress in Hell’s Kitchen and performed in bars and clubs in Manhattan while still a college kid. And we Domers thought we were overachievers.

Her 2002 Grammy-nominated debut album “Be Not Nobody” went platinum and featured Carlton’s first hit single “A Thousand Miles.” Both “Ordinary Day” and “Pretty Baby” also came from the successful release and set Carlton’s career on a promising path.

“Be Not Nobody’s” follow-up record “Harmonium” debuted in 2004 and brought with it a powerful tune about losing one’s innocence.

“White Houses,” the first single off the album, became somewhat of a cult classic. Co-written by Stephan Jenkins, the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, it took off amongst teens but didn’t fare as well in the mainstream. In fact, MTV censored it for its controversial lyrics about losing one’s virginity – yes, you read that right. MTV censored a piano ballad for its non-descript lyrics about sex.

The ties between Carlton and Third Eye Blind didn’t end there. The singer opened for the band on tour and dated Jenkins for four years, according to Slate Magazine. Coincidence that Notre Dame brought both to campus this year? Probably.

Carlton’s recent hit, 2007’s “Nolita Fairytale” off the album “Heroes & Thieves,” harkens back to her past successes and challenges, depicting a singer who has matured. The lyrics speak to conquering tough times, living a real life and finding the fairytale within.

These days, Carlton is promoting her 2011 album “Rabbits on the Run.”

She also performed with Gavin DeGraw earlier this month at the third annual Origins Rocks Earth Month Concert to promote environmental awareness.

As the cherry atop AnTostal’s event-filled sundae, Carlton’s concert is sure to bring in a mass of devoted fans. And to make the draw even more enticing, Hip-Hop Night will follow the show, hosted by DJ 3J and senior Eugene Staples.

Seniors, remember those underage days when Legends was as hip as our hop got on a Saturday night? Let’s bring it back, just one last time.

On a cloudy day, it’s more common than you think to head to Legends for a little nostalgia and a lot of fun. Reminisce with Carlton about all the journeys we’ve been through and anticipate the learning still to come.