Pop Culture | 00s

What Happened To Vanessa Carlton After Her Signature Song "A Thousand Miles"?


Vanessa Carlton is not a name you hear nowadays, but we can guarantee that a majority of women, and most likely men, in their 20s and 30s know every single word to the American pop singer's debut single.

But after all the love for "A Thousand Miles" died down, we became seriously worried that Vanessa just settled for home bound or got lost in the crowd. I mean, it's all in the lyrics, or are we just looking into it too much? The singer has a lot of explaining to do...

When the song was released in 2001, we thought this meant good things for the singer. It reached top five on the Billboard Hot 100 the next year, and her debut album Be Not Nobody was certified platinum.

Some people loved the song and some hated it, but we can all agree that all the covers and renditions of the song were just as incredible as the music video itself. Vanessa traveling the world and playing the piano will definitely stand the test of time.

More notably, Terry Crews's lip sync of the song garnered a lot of attention in the 2004 comedy film White Chicks. It's also been covered countless times on singing competition TV series.

Thirteen years later, Vanessa is still making music, but why has no one heard from her? Was she just a one-hit wonder?

Her music life

When the now 37-year-old singer-songwriter was asked by the National Post about feeling haunted by her only hit song, she said it took time for her to get over it.

"Now it’s just bonus when people accept that I’m a grown woman making music and it’s not like I’m just this girl with this song. The perception doesn’t really affect the origin of the work now. If I felt like people were just coming out to my shows to hear that one song I’d maybe consider changing my name but I don’t have to," she said.

However, she confessed to All Music that she wouldn't be anywhere without her initial successes.

"I think I’m heading in a direction, and I don’t know what the next step is, but I want to keep moving forward. I don’t want to mimic anything from my past, I love being in the studio and being creative and pushing beyond what we did before, not just to be different, but to follow instincts. I think the greatest thing you can do and the greatest gift we have, any artist, is that freedom to follow your instincts, because if you aren’t doing that, it’s not really a whole expression," she said.

The now 37-year-old singer-songwriter is still making music, but the albums she puts out aligns better with her musical ambitions.

Her second album, Harmonium, was released in 2004 and was considered a disappointment, but in all honesty, every one set the bar high for the budding star after the success of "A Thousand Miles." We were expecting to hear songs that would get a sufficient amount of radio airplay, but the piano melodies and the lyrics just didn't seem to fit into the pop music we all listened to in the early 2000s.

By her fourth album, Vanessa was unsure if she wanted to make another record, but she continued to have ideas that inspired her to get back into the studio.

She signed with different record companies over the years, and released her latest album, Liberman, in 2015.

You can tell that her sound is less pop and more alternative/indie. To be honest, the album sounds great, but it definitely wouldn't be something popular radio stations would play today.  

Her personal life

What many people don't know about the singer is that before "A Thousand Miles" became a hit, Vanessa struggled with anorexia and depression. Luckily, with the use of medication, she was able to mitigate her mental illness.

In 2010, Vanessa revealed she's bisexual while headlining at Nashville Pride, an LGBT festival in Tennessee.

"I've never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman," she said to her audience.

Three years later, Vanessa announced she's pregnant with her fiance John McCauley, but unfortunately miscarried. In 2015, the couple welcomed their daughter Sidney Aoibheann Carlton-McCauley.

Did you have high hopes for Vanessa and her music career?