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Vanessa Carlton meets me outside her NYC apartment on a rainy day. Breathless from walking her brown long-haired dachshund Lord Victor, we happen to arrive at her doorstep at exactly the same time – 4:00 p.m. We elevator up to her spacious pad with her publicist and manager in tow. (This is very exciting – I’ve never been to a celeb’s house!)

While Lord Victor chases a toy, Vanessa and I sit down in her living room. (See the painting on the wall and the piano in the picture?) She is gleeful about her new album, Heroes And Thieves, which is in stores now.

“My album is like a storybook,” she tells me. “That’s how I look at it. It’s a musical storybook and the chapters are the songs. It’s a body of work. It’s a very cohesive album. Heroes and Thieves is a personal statement, and it’s also me asking a bunch of existential questions and relationship questions. Every song – when you hit the personal meter – every song is coming straight from the vein so to speak.”

The woman who shot to fame banging out 2002’s Thousand Miles and Ordinary Day, in addition to 2004’s White Houses, has experienced many highs.

What’s her proudest moment?

“I really hit my stride musically and personally, which is really hard. I’ve always been able to have one but not the other. I’m really proud that I didn’t buckle in the face of a lot of seemingly very flawed situations. I’m very proud that I still push myself to be a better, more understanding human being and a more musical, experimental musician. I’m on the path of trying to evolve, as we all are. I know some people who are in their early twenties who are like ‘this is who I am, and that’s it.’ I really respect people who push themselves. I guess I’m just in a proud chapter, but then again, I always see flaws in myself and I’m always constantly feeling like it’s not enough. There are so many inadequate feelings that I will forever suffer from, but perhaps my upcoming trip to India will help with that.”

Vanessa loves to buy items for her posh pad. What does she splurge on? “Antiques for my house,” she tells me. “It’s artwork and antiques for the house. That’s really when I’ll splurge. I splurge on gifts for friends and Victor, of course, he has the most fantastic woven leather collar you’ve ever seen. Right sweetie?”

Post-interview, she offers up a parting gift: Her new CD, Heroes And Thieves, in a velvety black sack. She signs it on her kitchen counter.

“Bye Valerie,” she gleefully calls, before she’s off to her next engagement. Hey, the painted birds that adorn her private elevator lobby are very nice. ;)

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