Kate Voegele , 2008

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

Your appearance on One Tree Hill had to be great for the career, and we are definitely in a time where musicians have to do more than just play music to get noticed.
Absolutely. It has been epic. It has been epic for the weeks I was on and even now. Is has been incredible. It has been awesome.

 

Do you wish music were more simpler where it really was just about the songs and songwriting or do you like the fact that so many other factors play a part in becoming a noticed musician, examples beinhg television and on-line presence.
You go back and forth because there is something to be said for the music just speaking for itself. And having the song and talent being the determining factor in who is popular. But at the same time, it is a challenge for me to make my way through the way the record industry works today. So for me I see it as a chance to rise to the occasion and to make it work and just jump into this crazy system that is set up and somehow make it work.

 

You played Farm Aid two years in a row, and I was at those as a photographer. What was it like to be a part of such a great event and cause at such a young age?
It was insane to be able to play with artists of such unbelievable talent. But back then it was even more ridiculous because I was 17 and 18 years old, and back then I really hadn’t done a whole lot to really pursue my career. I remember I was just stumbling upon stuff and just saying, “Oh, they want me to play this stuff, so I guess I will do it.” So at the time Farm Aid came along, I hadn’t had a lot of experience. I remember meeting a lot of the artists, and I wasn’t used to be grouped into the same category of those playing Farm Aid. I was not used to hearing the names Dave Matthews, Neil Young and oh yea, Kate Voegele is a musician, too. It was insane to be on the other side of that stage/audience line for once.  Just six months prior I remember being in Cleveland, on the lawn with my friends in the rain and listening to Dave Matthews.  So fast forward six months and I am standing behind him at a press conference. It was so cool and definitely a landmark experience in my career.

 

In the clip from One Tree Hill on your site, it has you kind of freaking out on stage before playing a song opening for The Honorary Title. Are you that nervous in real life before each show?
That was the height of acting. But when I was 15 years old, though, that was a different story. When I first started playing guitar, I isolated myself and didn’t let anyone hear my music. I didn’t want to be the weird girl with the guitar in high school. At my high school, it was cool to be on the girl’s soccer team and winning the state championship and I was nervous it wouldn’t be cool being the girl playing guitar in the coffee shop.  So I have been there before so I was able to get in that mode when Mia was freaking out over opening for The Honorary Title.  But these days I love being on stage and I love to interact with the audience. I have a ton of energy and am so outgoing that there is no better release for me than being up there and playing. But I also love meeting all the people. So that was definitely acting, but I loved the fact that Mia was different than me in certain ways, even though we are similar in others.

 

Just a few days after your show in Columbus, you will be hitting the road with Hanson. How do you feel about going from a headlining slot with about 60-75 minutes to 30 minutes?
They are definitely two very different scenarios, and like anything else there are good things about both. But of course I love headlining. There is no cooler feeling than knowing all these people showed up to see you play because they want to hear my songs and relate to my songs.  The fact that they are touched by something that I wrote is so cool. There is nothing more exciting than that for anybody who creates art.  The fact that someone related to your art that they came to see it is unbelievably cool.  But opening for another band is yet another “rise to the occasion” kind of situation because you have to win people over.  When you are headlining, most people are there to see you. When you are opening, I need the attitude of, “Hey, I know you are here to see the Hanson Brothers, but I have something to say, too and I you are going to like it.” So it is definitely a different kind of challenge but it teaches you to sell your music and your art.  So I enjoy both situations a lot. It is really cool to be able to play for a long time, but it is also a good thing to have to figure out which five songs will represent me the best. How can I, in 30 minutes, win this audience over? So there are cool things about both.

 

I saw where you opened for The Wreckers, and your debut reminds me a lot of Michelle Branch’s debut. You also have a bit of country twang in songs like It’s Only Life. Any chance of branching out musically or are you committed to the style of music you are playing now?
I am a huge fan of Michelle and love her music, so I take that as a huge compliment and it is great to hear. But at the same time, as an artist and as any artist would want, I want to be able to make a name and place for myself and want to carve out my own little niche and do something unique. So for me, she has had a great career and done a lot of cool things and a variety of things, but personally for me, this record that I made was exactly what I set out to create.  Obviously, I would love to do some different things in the future, but in general, although there is a lot of room for a lot of different styles and genres of music, in general I want to make music that people relate to and get stuck in their heads in a good way.  I want to make music with a great harmony and that is very melodic. I love pop music. I think it is awesome. Everyone loves pop music, whether or not they will admit it. So I set out to make mainstream music that is poetic and I think I succeeded. I want to say something that people can be inspired by and relate to and I think that blend is a cool thing and it is a challenge to mix those two things together. So I think that is the kind of music that I am always going to want to make but there are definite areas I would like to branch out in as far as songwriting. There are so many possibilities.

 

Your lyrics are very personal yet wide open for the listener. How do you take your personal experiences and make them accessible for others to draw from and to learn from? Does that come natural to you?
For me, it is very cool to think in those terms, because I love creative writing, I loved English in school and I was a Creative Art major in college so anything that is a challenge for me in that way I feel fantastic about. And song writing is a lot like all those other kinds of arts. It is not about taking something so personal to me and putting it into a song, it is almost the opposite. I learned this when I first started writing because it was such an outlet for me and so therapeutic. I had all this weighing on my mind, and I was like, “What am I going to do about this?” It is a really cool thing to take a situation, and rather than naming a particular person or being so super-specific that others cannot relate, but to find a poetic way to talk about that situation. You want to be able to say what you want to say, but in an artistic and poetic way so someone who is listening to the song can apply it to their life. So for me it is a creative challenge and that is what I love most about it.

 

Lastly, to touch a bit on your education. My wife is an art teacher.
Oh, that is awesome. I was an art education major before my I started doing this fulltime.

 

What did having art in school mean to you? You mentioned not wanting to be the weird guitar girl, but obviously you latched on to art in a positive way and now, more than ever, kids are losing those programs.
I think it is such a shame that those programs get cut and kids may not get the art education they need. Because whether or not art is something you want to pursue as a career, everyone can benefit from having an artistic outlet.  It is a proven fact that everyone needs that. That’s why I think it’s great that your wife is an art teacher and that is why I wanted to become an art teacher, until it was put on hold because this is my number one gig. But I think that everyone, and this is what I think art therapy was also interesting to me, because everyone benefits. Schools that allow kids to have those music and art classes do better because kids have a way to express themselves and have an outlet to let things out. Because all day through school kids do things that are very logical and have these steps in the process and all this organization of all this information that if you don’t have the freedom to let things out you will drive yourself nuts.  And this is not just for those who are particularly talented in a certain area. I think everybody needs that release, especially those who may not be super talented because they may not get the support to create and let those feelings out.

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