Vanessa Carlton showed off her timeless skills on the piano as she performed her new songs from her latest album in her "Billboard Live At-Home" concert Monday, April 27.
The 39-year-old singer-songwriter, surrounded by her husband John McCauley and their daughter Sidney heard in the background, starts with a little soundcheck with her mic and her piano.
After confirming with the fans, she started with "I Know You Don't Mean It," off her latest album, "Love is an Art." Carlton released her sixth studio album on March 27, shortly after President Trump placed the country under a state of emergency over growing coronavirus concerns. She said that it was "the same day that Dua Lipa released her record too."
Her version of "I Know You Don't Mean It" fully accompanied by a piano, as opposed to the record's string-only verses, gave off a different feeling of intimacy and solemnity. Her opening performance was soothing, making the intermittent audio quality issues acceptable, if not outright negligible.
Carlton teamed up with Billboard for her Monday performance in support of MusiCares, the Recording Academy's charitable arm that supports workers in the music industry displaced and affected due to the increasing numbers of postponed concerts, tours, and festivals all over the country.
She then went to her second track, the fitting "Back to Life," which she describes as "coming out of the darkness, coming out of addiction, and coming out of beating yourself up." As she displayed the "Love is an Art" cover, she continues explaining that "there is this light that happens, like this crack of light that comes through your cave and it's like... this song is about that moment where you start to come out and you start to feel different." The cover is of a red hand delicately handling a tiger by the tail.
"Lying in the dark/ Waiting patiently/ Pill like a diamond/ Putting me to sleep," Carlton sang as she played her piano.
After performing "Back to Sleep," Carlton took the opportunity to thank her husband for "setting up this webcam for me, and figuring out how to get onto Facebook" before answering a fan question: "How's quarantine? Do crazy times like this inspire you to write?"
The "A Thousand Miles" singer and pianist described the quarantine as "interesting," noting how "we're all on the same boat" and shared her "roller coaster" experience, detailing her emotional ups and downs in the middle of the shelter-in-place orders.
She also opened up on her thoughts about the release of her latest work at the offset of the quarantine, saying that "it's been a little strange." She then described how opportunities like here Billboard At-Home concert allows her to connect with her fans, and though she only looks at the webcam and sees everyone else through her monitor, she says the experience is "kind of cool."
Vanessa Carlton capped off her afternoon concert with "The Only Way to Love," still from her latest album. Both her piano and her vocals steadily cruised towards the chorus, where she powerfully sang, "Like a soldier steady march/ Answering the call/ It's the only way to love."
Carlton bid farewell to everyone and expressed gratitude to Billboard at the end of her set, quipping that she's "now going to put her pajamas back on" and figuring out how to end her Facebook Live with help from her husband.