Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" Has Been Played A Bazillion Times After It First Released 20 Years Ago

The two-decade-old song is apparently about a "famous actor" who went to Juilliard.

Source: YouTube/Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton's debut single was released 20 years ago on February 12, 2002, and since then "A Thousand Miles" has since become an undeniable hit. The singer wrote the song as a teenager in her childhood home, though it wasn’t released until a few years later. On YouTube, the hit number has over 311,760,221 views and counting. 

According to CNN, the song was included in Legally Blonde before its release as a single. Carlton's number was nominated for Song and Record of The Year at the 2003 Grammy Awards but lost out to Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.” The song was also made famous by Terry Crews in the 2004 comedy starring Shawn and Marlon Wayans. "How did you know? I love this song!" he says excitedly when one of the title characters mockingly plays it. In fact, Crews did such a good job, his performance of the song became his breakout star turn, fast-forwarding the trajectory of his now decades-long career.


Do you know who the hit song is about? Three-time Grammy nominee Carlton recently revealed that the song is about a now-famous actor who attended Juilliard’s drama program. “The song is about a crush I had on a Juilliard student,” Carlton told Entertainment Tonight, adding, “I can’t say the person’s name because they are a famous actor and I don’t want to say it…. I’m purposefully, I’m not attaching a gender and it will remain like that.” Sure enough, fans were quick to put their detective hats on and look for clues as to who it might be about.

Some now-famous Juilliard students of the “A Thousand Miles” era include Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Christian Camargo, David Conrad, Glenn Howerton, Wes Bentley, and Alan Tudyk. The singer's mom, Heidi Carlton, said in the VICE video that Vanessa wrote the opening instrumental portion of "A Thousand Miles" the summer that she was turning 17, around 1997. Rolling Stone has called the piano intro of the song "arguably the most easily identifiable first three seconds to a song of the last two decades, and quite possibly the most instantaneously recognizable piano riff ever."