Singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton is about to hit the studio to record her sophomore A&M album, with an eye on an early 2004 release.

Singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton is about to hit the studio to record her sophomore A&M album, with an eye on an early 2004 release. "I have to finish three songs, and I'd like to go into the studio with all the songs finished," she tells Billboard. The artist will co-produce the album with a number of collaborators, including A&M president Ron Fair, Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins, and possibly Jason Falkner. "It's a way of bringing in tastes and sensibilities that I wouldn't normally be open to," she says.

Carlton says the new album will show the progression she has made from her first record, "Be Not Nobody," which has sold 1.3 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "I wrote some of those songs when I was very young. I know what I like in terms of sounds a bit more than I did then. The new music is very organic, sort of Beatles-like. The songs are very poignant, but they aren't girl diary lyrics anymore."

While prepping for the new album, Carlton also found time to record the theme song for the action/combat racing game "SpyHunter 2," which may also be turned into a feature film.

The artist also appeared as Dusty Springfield in the NBC series "American Dreams," and her cover of "Wishin' and Hopin'" is included on the show's Hip-O/Universal soundtrack album, released earlier this month.