People

Hitting the books

New York � Even though Vanessa Carlton has made a big splash with her debut album, "Be Not Nobody," she still plans to go back to school next year.

The 21-year-old singer and pianist took classes part time at Columbia University before she scored a top 10 hit with her first single, "A Thousand Miles." She says she plans to take classes full time for a semester in the fall of 2003.

Carlton said even though she's become a fixture on MTV, she doesn't expect she'll have trouble fitting in at the Ivy League university.

"I don't see myself any different than I was before," she said.

Backstreet Boy wants to rock

New York � Nick Carter wants to prove he's more than just a pretty boy pop singer.

The youngest member of the Backstreet Boys has been recording his first solo album, scheduled for release in October, on which he plays the drums.

"I'm trying to put my rock influence in, big time," Carter told Teen People for its September issue.

But the 22-year-old admits he also likes some adult contemporary music, like Journey and Bryan Adams.

"When I grew up, my mom and dad always played that music around the house, so it's probably a parental thing," he said. "I don't know if I'm an old soul, but I like history. I like old stuff."

9-11 hits home for The Boss

Los Angeles � Bruce Springsteen did some research for his new album "The Rising," written largely in response to Sept. 11.

Two widows of men killed in the terrorist attacks told Time magazine that Springsteen called them to learn more about their husbands and their loss.

"When you're putting yourself into shoes you haven't worn, you have to be very ... just very thoughtful, is the way that I'd put it. Just thoughtful," Springsteen told the magazine.

"The Rising" goes on sale Tuesday and is Springsteen's first work of entirely new material in seven years. His 46-city tour with the E Street Band starts Aug. 7.

Springsteen's home county, Monmouth, lost 158 people in the World Trade Center bombing, more than any other in New Jersey.

Showing signs of emotion

Los Angeles � M. Night Shyamalan says he wanted to include more emotion in his new film than there was in his hit "The Sixth Sense" and its follow-up, "Unbreakable."

The 31-year-old director says he moved away from the detached tone of those movies with "Signs."

"What I realized with 'Unbreakable' is that it doesn't matter if you have technical prowess if you don't connect with the people in the theater," Shyamalan told the Daily News of Los Angeles.

"Signs," which opens Friday, stars Mel Gibson as a former minister who has renounced God and finds himself facing possible evidence of a coming space invasion.

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