Who is Kate Voegele? Kate Voegele is me, and I’m a 27 year old girl who picked up a guitar when I was 15 years old and haven’t put it down since. I have an insatiable curiosity and that curiosity is what prompted me to start writing songs. Why do I keep writing them? Because I need to. To make sense of the world and my daily interactions and experiences. http://www.katevoegele.com
I want my music to be your favorite pair of blue jeans. I want it to be comfy. Perhaps that’s an artsy way of saying I want my record to be the one that you put on regardless of where you are and how you’re feeling because you know you’re going to take something away from it no matter what’s going on in your life. What kind of music is it? That’s usually the number one question on everyone’s list for a singer/songwriter. My music is the chicken soup kind. Or at least that’s what I hope it is. I want people to get a good feeling in their soul from these songs. Roots rock, heartland rock…whatever you want to call it is okay with me. I just want it to make people feel good inside. Some artists like to illustrate their sound by naming a couple of wildly successful musicians who are already out there and then deem themselves the love child of said performers. I don’t really know who I’m the love child of. I know that women like Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain and Joni Mitchell made me want to sing. And I know that sharing the stage with Neil Young at Farm Aid in high school nearly made me faint. And that opening for Patty Griffin and Grace Potter changed the way I thought about what it means to play live music. But I’m not really trying to be the next anyone. I’m just being the first me.
I’m a girl who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. And after my dad taught me how to play a guitar, I started playing shows around my hometown and the Midwest. My senior year, I played SXSW in Austin alongside my favorite artists and idols at Farm Aid. And then one day, in my college dorm room, I got a message from first friend Tom on MySpace who was starting a record label and had found me on his website among millions of people and wanted to sign me as his first artist. I left college in Ohio to make a record, started touring with acts like Natasha Bedingfield and playing my music acting on multiple seasons of the CW show “One Tree Hill.” On the show, I performed my songs as a character named Mia each week whose storyline was essentially dictated by the music. I released a second record and partnered with sponsors like University of Phoenix, Ford, and Oakley. This summer, I’m releasing a signature series of sunglasses that I designed with Oakley. It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. When I wasn’t scribbling songs on napkins in high school, I was the kid in the art room all day long. I was a Fine Arts major in college, and I’ve always dreamed of having the opportunity to design. Finally, my mess of acrylic paint and canvas in the back lounge of my tour bus is finding a home.
I’m still quite “Ohio” at heart. Most days, a pair of 30-dollar vintage red boots take me around town. I am very much a ripped jeans and white t-shirt girl, but on the days that the fine arts major in me does the dressing, it’s anybody’s guess. You will much sooner find me working on my (less than impressive…for now) darts game, hanging at a dive bar with my band than at a Hollywood club in a sparkly outfit. Though I have nothing whatsoever against sparkly outfits. I pretty much like everyone, and I will talk to anyone. My stage presence is as much a casual informality as this bio. I like to hang out with the audience. Carole King’s Living Room tour was one of my first concerts, and I decided I was going to be a musician who played shows that gave people a chance to just ‘sit in my living room’ with me.
But the main point of a bio is to give the reader a better understanding of the artist’s vision and voice with regards to their current material. So I will say that this record is inspired by and for the people who have taught me how to be brave when gravity happens. Those people are everywhere in my life. This bio would be a novel if I were to cite every source of that inspiration. But this year my life was met with changes that I would not have known how to handle were it not for some standout experiences. I spent a week in a trash dump community in Managua, Nicaragua and met a little girl named Hojayi who, at 9 years old, knows more about what it means to love and to believe than I probably ever will. I watched my aunt battle cancer and meet the menace of a merciless disease with the vitality and fearlessness of a warrior. I was blessed with the friendship of a man whose courage and passion for life in the face of an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down and with a wife who subsequently left him is unlike any I’ve ever seen. This record is about what happens when you get to a point in your life when you realize that the world can be more cruel and scary than you ever imagined. Whether we’re watching an earthquake devastating an entire country on television or going through our own daily challenges which are petty in comparison, we feel the weight of life more than ever as we grow up. I just hope that these songs can take a tiny bit of that weight off…for anyone or everyone who hears them. So maybe I do have an angle after all. And that’s always what it’s going to be.
Simply put, my fans and the people who are touched by this music mean everything to me. My biggest thanks goes out to them for inspiring me every day I wake up to “fasten wings to my shoes.”
Interview with Andrea Samadi 2009
Hello Kate, how are you?
I’m great, how are you?
I’m great, thank you. Where have we reached you today?
I am in Lawrence, Kansas right now. This is actually one of the coolest cities that we play on tour. It’s East KU this year, and it’s a really cool college town, super artsy, just really fun, so I am excited.
It’s going to be a fun show!
I’m going to introduce you, and then we will ask you some questions.
This is Andrea Samadi, the publisher of The Teen Performance Magazine; we feature young leaders who have reached a high level of achievement in the lives with the hopes that they will inspire other young people to do the same.
Today we welcome Kate Voegele, a 22 year old singer, songwriter and actress. She spent the last few years juggling life as a fulltime singer, song writer part time actress and part time college student. In less than a year, Voegele e went from being a complete unknown to a TV star, from a girl writing songs in her dorm room to a bonfire recording artist with legions of loyal fans. I was by virtue of her talent and sheer determination that Voegele scored the opportunity of her lifetime, playing the Spunky Mia on the popular teen drama, One Tree Hill and performing her own music. So welcome Kate thank you for joining us today.
Kate: Sure thanks so much for having me.
Andrea: No problem I have a few questions to ask you to help your fans learn about how you achieved your level of success and help them understand how you got to where you are today?
Andrea: How did you break into the music industry while attending college? Most people have a hard time with this reading in school let alone achieving such a high level of success.
Kate: It was defiantly very difficult obviously it was too hectic and that is why I’m taking online classes at the University of Phoenix but I always wanted to be a singer. I wanted to sign the right record deal what I always wanted in my life but I also wanted a normal life so somewhere down the road I didn’t say I wish I went to my prom or I wish I went to college. I decided to go to school after I played a bunch of cool gigs in HS and I opened for Farm Aid and Willie Nelson and kind of stumbled on cool gigs before I was even signed and decided to go to college and if a great record deal comes along then I will leave. One day I was in my dorm doing homework and I got this message on MySpace from Tom who started MySpace and I thought it was a generic message but it was a personal message from him wondering if I would be interested in signing with his personal record label MySpace Records. It really blew my mind and this is how I broke into the music business initially and the next I know I was in Santa Monica where his headquarters were signing the record deal. It all came so fast as this was so cool as this is something I always wanted to do and everyone at MySpace was different than the some of the major labels I had spoken with as they were driven and passionate as they were a baby label. And so I knew it was the right fit. I left college at Miami of Ohio and made a record with them while going on the road to promote it. Next I randomly tried out of a role on One Tree Hill and auditioned for it.
Andrea: How did you get into that?
Kate: I made the record on MySpace Record, Indy Label and started touring and then my manager encouraged me to try out for this part on One Tree Hill because she thought it was a great look for my record. It was supposed to be 3 episodes of me playing some songs on the show and so I tried out and I had never done that before. I thought it would be good experience for the audition part. So I got the part and was blown away and balancing shooting for One Tree Hill and playing songs on the road. So there was a whole balancing thing it was kind of doing a juggling thing from the beginning. In High School I was on the dance team and always was on the AP Team, and hanging out with my friends and you know I always like to have my hands in a lot of different things. So that is what happened from Myspace Records to One Tree Hill that’s how it began. It has been a really cool adventure.
Andrea: That sounds really exciting. I am a fan of One Tree Hill and have been watching it for some time. I posted on my Facebook page that I was doing this interview and you won’t believe the messages I received, everyone thought this was really cool from all ages. You are really reaching quite a crowd.
Kate: That is awesome! That is what you want to hear as an artist.
Andrea: Definitely. Now tell us about song writing experience. I went on your website and some of the YouTube videos you have there. You talk a little about your song writing experiences as a way of putting your emotions down. Is that how you write your music?
Kate: Absolutely! A lot of my inspiration comes from just making sense of what’s going on in my world. I started writing my music when I was 15 and nothing insane or hugely tragic, just normal 15 year old girl stuff that is the biggest deal to you when you are 15. Everyone goes through the same emotions no matter what they are. Song writing was my way of making sense of it and working through it as my and I’m still very inspired for my personal experience.
Andrea: How do you make sure you don’t lose your ideas?
Kate: Well I have to be creative sometimes because unfortunately I get my ideas in the middle of math class in high school or in the middle of the night on a tour bus and I have to keep a voice recorder with me all the time so I don’t forget anything. I always think that I’ll remember but you don’t and you totally lose it. You have to be careful you don’t lose something that could turn into a great song. I’m always sneaking off to record something and I also write a lot on airplanes and people look at me like I’m talking to someone on a walkie talkie but I’m recording song ideas while trying to talk quietly. People look at me like I’m shady and it’s hilarious as people are wondering if this person is suspicious. I always say its ok I’m a song writer and just writing a song. Its fun and it’s cool you can write a song whenever you want.
Andrea: Now tell us about your latest single?
Kate: My latest single is Inside Out and it’s one of my favorites from the album because it’s fun and thriving and definitely and sing able to amp up a live show to get people clapping and all that stuff and it’s one of the most upbeat songs on the record. It’s about being in the state where you are falling for someone real hard and you can’t deny it. I’m one of those people that if I’m really crazy about somebody I will do everything I can to hide it because I don’t want to look vulnerable. It must be a song writer artist thing as I channel it all on music instead of sort of being upfront with it. It’s about a song when you guard is all gone and be completely transparent about what you are feeling. Hopefully everyone has been there and it’s a fun place to be even though it’s a little crazy as you are out of control.
Andrea: It is a fun scary place to be but you can also learn a lot of new things from being there.
Andrea: Tell me about your song Lift Me Up? How do you want to inspire people to get through the challenges they are going to face while getting to their goals?
Kate: I think that is exactly what that song intends to do. I wrote that song based on the things I was going through with this sort of whole world and form me to find my niche and the entertainment business is crazy and most businesses are crazy. All my friends just graduated college and they are going through tons of pressure and I think everyone feels that in all parts of life and that song is meant to be an inspiration for anyone who is going through a hard time and for me I came to the conclusion about the journey and all those difficulties that teach you to get through things that are not ideal circumstances in the end. It’s one of the songs that I’m most proud of on that record because there is something really cool about people emailing you that the song really helped them through and that is what you want to hear as an artist to be an inspiration. If I can make my living by helping someone out in whatever way that is more than I can ask for. It’s a fun song and it affects people differently and positively.
Andrea: You are very wise Kate!
Kate: Thank you!
Andrea: How you handle being on tour and away from your family and friends? Do you still have a dog?
Kate: Yes I have a dog and I wish I can bring him on tour as he is awesome.
Andrea: What kind of dog do you have?
Kate; He is a little West Highland Terrier and he is awesome. I have to say I love my band but I live with 9 boys on a bus and it’s like I already have a bunch of people to take care of. Not to compare the guys to dogs, but it’s not far out. They are great but they are still boys as I’ve never had brothers so I’m still getting used to it.
Andrea: Wait until you get married.
Kate: I can only imagine. My mom laughs at me all the time. She say’s “Just think about how I feel.”
Andrea: Men are definitely from Mars and women are from Venus.
Kate: Absolutely! My band is like my brothers and best friends. It’s tough being away from my family as I’m super close with my family and friends.
Andrea: How do you stay tied in with them when you are away? How do you communicate?
Kate: There are a lot ways of connecting. We do a lot of Skyping but it’s definitely tough. I try to get home whenever I have two days in a row off I go see my family and see my little sister. I go crazy when I’m away from them for too long. Traveling is fun but it is a little nomadic of a lifestyle.
Andrea: I use to travel a lot and it definitely spins you around it’s hard to see when you are coming and going.
Andrea: How does your attitude help you with your results?
Kate: I think more than anything I go back to why I do what I do. It’s very easy to get discouraged as a young girl in an industry where everyone is obsessed with image and with performance as to how good you are based on your last record. There are all kinds of insecurities you can but into about yourself but you have to remind yourself as its therapeutic why you love doing it. My fans are really cool as they make me these awesome scrapbooks and write me letters about what inspired them. I literally keep these letters in a box on the tour bus and you have to go back to that. When the pressure starts to build up or if you are in the middle of nowhere you have to remind yourself everything is great and you have it pretty good and you are doing it all for something that is meaningful.
Andrea: How have you handled success? Transitioning to stardom where everyone knows your name?
Kate: Some people ask is it easy to get wrapped up in it and I’m from a little suburb in Ohio and I don’t really understand the celebrity concept and it’s a little boring to me. I’ve been really grateful for the success and everything. The whole star on a pedestal is not something I’m interested in portraying. When I meet fans or talk to people after the show I want people to look at me as a human. Sometimes my generation puts people on these pedestals and oh my God you are so amazing. I’m just a kid from Ohio got really lucky and met the right people and kind of lived out her dream. I love the success and I don’t want it to wharp to something. I just want to play music and effect people. However I can do that is what I’m looking for.
Andrea: What challenges did you have to overcome to achieve success?
Kate: The biggest thing for me is not to be discouraged. I’m a people pleaser and I work really hard and I want to kind of do well at what I do. In high school I showcased for a couple of records and people didn’t really get it. The music was great but they were looking for an angle that if I was a girl that grew up in the subway and did drugs they probably would have signed me. But because I was a straight A student and grew up in a small suburb on a lake that was boring and I was like ok. I was really discouraged for a while as it wasn’t about being talented but instead about taking an angle. I learned soon it was more about a couple of people who were afraid to lose their job because they think they need to take an angle. A lot of times in business people overthink it. What I realized was that you keep thinking what you love and a group of people will realize it. Interscope records and Myspace records have been amazing! They get the music and who I want to be as an artist. They get me and they don’t try and change me. That is the hardest part. As a young person you are very easily discouraged as you want to please people. The second someone expresses we don’t know about this you get discouraged. Today when I hear that I say ok that’s ok. My advice to you is that when it happens that should make you work harder because not everyone is going to get your art. That is ok!
Andrea: It might take you to a different angle as that angel will take you to a different place. I can relate to you. As women we take everything to heart.
Andrea: What’s coming up next for you that you want to share with you fans? Your album is out.
Kate: My album is out and I’m going to Europe next week. Finishing up my US Tour and going to Europe for a tour for the first time. I’m really excited about Europe and doing something in Australia in 2010. I think there is going to be a lot of touring on the road and hopefully working with some great artists who I can larn from watching their live show and we’ve done a lot of headlining and getting a bigger spot on tour next year. It’s all about taking the record and turning it into something that is unique with a live show. We’ve done a bunch of cool covers which includes the audience a lot in this tour. Hopefully I will be doing more stuff with One Tree Hill as I did something with them this year. It’s all kind of a lot of fun and the general goal is to put out fun music that people enjoy while sending a good message and make peoples day.
Andrea: Is the best place to learn more about you on your website Katevoegele.com?
Kate: You can learn more about what I’m doing on my Website or on my Myspace.
Andrea: I know on your site you can see: Pictures, Youtube videos, ringtones, tour schedule, and music. Do you do twitter?
Andrea: We wanted to Thank you so much Kate we are so impressed with your abilities and your down to earth nature and we do look forward to watching your continued success as an actor and musical artist. I know fans around the world continue to be inspired by you and I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
Kate: Yes absolutely and thank you for talking to me!
Andrea: thank you and we will see you on the show nad listen to your music and thank you so much!
Kate: Sure, Sure and than you Take care!