Today’s Feature, June 28th & 29th, 2007: Kate Voegele

January 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm (Today's Feature)

On any given day, Kate Voegele (who seems destined for the cover of
Seventeen, Vogue or Glamour) could walk down the street and have
everyone turn their heads…that’s a no brainer. But let’s get one thing
straight, Kate Voegele looks the part. We’re talking her picture
should appear in the dictionary, next to the word “star”. Unlike
Voegele’s pop counter- parts, she has the look that all the labels try
to mold someone into, however Voegele has broken the “pop” mold a long
time ago. It’s that natural beauty and ability that have made 20 year
old Kate Voegele and Don’t Look Away, her first full-length album
(MySpace Records), a very popular artist. After all it’s one thing to
look the part but another to be able to play the part…and playing is
what Voegele does best. Voegele’s talents have given her the chance to
play along side powerhouses like Counting Crows, John Mayer, Dave
Matthews, the Wreckers, Howie Day, John Mellencamp and Jamie Cullum
(to name a few). It would be one thing to stop at guitar playing and
unique melodies but Voegele is an experienced songwriter as well,
which remains one major advantage that Voegele has over the
competition (even though [competition] is to be used loosely since,
Voegele’s game way out of most people’s league). Her approach to fame
and success hasn’t seemed to faze her; a true sign for longevity in
this business. This Ohio native enjoys spending off time with family
and friends, values an education and plans to expand her artistic
career with a brush and canvas. Whether it’s in studio, on stage or at
home penning the next hit, Voegele’s maturity and grace will keep her
on our radios and on the charts for a very, very long time. Read her
XXQs to find out more.

XXQs: Kate Voegele (PEV): How and when did you first get involved with music?

Kate Voegele (KV): I’ve been singing and interested in music all my
life, though I didn’t start playing guitar until I was about fifteen.
My dad taught me to play on vacation, and I pretty much just wanted to
play because I thought it would be fun. I never expected be pursuing a
career as a musician, but once I started songwriting and playing live
I was completely hooked.

PEV: What it is like handling such a large amount of success at a
rather young age for a singer/songwriter (Kate is 20 years old)?

KV: It’s kind of funny when people mention how quickly all of this has
happened for me, because I feel like I’ve been doing it forever
considering I’ve been doing it for about ¼ of the time that I’ve been
alive…but it’s really exciting to think about all of the amazing
opportunities I’ve had up to this point. I’m so lucky to be surrounded
by such a supportive family, band, and team of people that I work with
and I definitely couldn’t have gotten to where I am without all of
them. It’s definitely tough being young in this business, because you
really have to prove to people that you’re credible as an artist…but I
feel like I’ve totally developed a sense of who I want to be as an
artist, and that’s so important because it’s ultimately what keeps
people from feeling like they can shape you into whatever they want.

PEV: What can we expect from your first full-length album, “Don’t Look
Away”, (MySpace Records)?

KV: “Don’t Look Away” is basically a summary of the last three years
of my life. There are songs on there that I’ve been playing for some
time, and there are songs I finished while I was recording them in the
studio, so there’s a wide range of different material. I wanted to
make an album that was organic and artistic but also infectiously fun
to listen to, and I think that’s what we achieved. The songs range
from slow and soulful to upbeat and catchy, but the lyrics throughout
are all really meaningful and expressive of situations that are pretty
universal and easy to relate to.

PEV: How is “Don’t Look Away” different from your earlier writings?

KV: I think that this record shows a lot of my growth as an artist
both lyrically and musically. When I first started writing, I wrote a
lot of my songs simply because I had to deal with a situation and
writing about it was the only way I was able to work through it.
Though I definitely still write to deal with circumstances in my life,
I’ve expanded my writing a lot since I started to the point where I’m
inspired by a lot of different things. Situations I see going on
around me or even just ideas that seem like they would make an
interesting concept for a song can inspire me to write something.
Overall, I’ve just explored a lot of different writing styles and song
structures on this album and I think each song is very much its own
separate thing. It’s not one of those albums where all the songs run
together because they sound exactly alike, which was really important
to me.

PEV: What was it like being the opening slot at a stop on John Mayer
and Counting Crows’ 2003 tour (followed by second-stage appearances in
front of Patty Griffin, Aimee Mann and Mindy Smith. She subsequently
opened for Dave Matthews, the Wreckers, Howie Day, John Mellencamp and
Jamie Cullum) at the age 16?

KV: These gigs were so awesome because I hadn’t even been in front of
any labels or managers or anyone in the business really. I had just
made my first EP and hadn’t even been playing guitar for a year, and I
was getting these side stage and opening slots with these people I
looked up to so much. More than anything, it was such a great
springboard for all the tours and shows that I play now, because I got
to kind of see how it all works from the start and it gave me some
credibility right of the bat.

PEV: Of all the artists you have worked with, which other artist would
you like to collaborate with?

KV: I would absolutely love to collaborate with Patty Griffin at some
point in my career. She is my biggest inspiration and everything she
does always amazes me. I really hope to gain the respect as an artist
that she has developed in her career.

PEV: Was there a certain time or event in your life when you decided
that music was going become a career?

KV: When I first got a call from an A&R guy at a label in LA asking if
he could fly me out to showcase, I realized that this was maybe
something I could actually pursue as a career. I went in and played
for him, and he told me if I wanted to do this I would have no trouble
getting signed. I didn’t even really know what it meant to “get
signed,” but it was definitely a pretty pivotal point for me because I
knew that I definitely wanted to do it, and hearing someone at a label
say that was really inspiring and definitely changed my perspective on
the whole thing.

PEV: How has it been working with MySpace Records?

KV: MySpace Records has been so awesome. When I first got a message
from Tom on MySpace last summer asking if I was signed yet, I didn’t
even think it was real – I thought someone made a fake Tom page and
was just messing around. I replied to it anyway, though, and it turned
out to be completely legitimate. I went out and showcased, and after
meeting everyone and learning about their vision and idea for their
label, I was floored at how smart and intriguing this kind of approach
seemed. I love how artist friendly everyone is, and I love that the
label is small. I know everyone that I work with really well, and I
love how I can call the top people at the label with a new idea and
see them look into it and execute it. It’s so rare anymore to see
artists be able to interact with their label like that, and it’s so
refreshing that they really care and listen to my ideas. It’s also
amazing that they have this marketing platform through which they can
reach almost 200 million people that costs them virtually nothing. I
think it’s so innovative and it’s really exciting to be a part of what
I believe is really the future of the music business.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

KV: My friends have been so incredibly supportive throughout this
whole thing. They’re always front row at my shows and have been so
encouraging. It’s so nice to have a group of people around me.

PEV: What can someone expect from a live Kate Voegele show? What is
the best part about playing live?

KV: I try to keep my live show as casual as possible, especially when
I’m playing acoustically. That’s not to say that we don’t really put
on a show, but I think it’s so important to make the audience feel
like they can relate to me onstage. The best part about playing live
is just that- having a connection with the audience and seeing the
songs really affect people. I think it’s so important to establish a
really great relationship with my listeners.

PEV: What is the best part about being able to perform music you wrote yourself?

KV: What’s really exciting about performing songs I wrote myself is
that even though I’ll write a song about a particular circumstance or
situation, months or even years later, the same song can still mean
something really important to me because I can relate it to a new and
fresh situation in my life. when I have something new to relate it to,
it makes it sound that much more effective onstage because it’s still
really close to home for me, just in a new way.

PEV: Having traveled all over, which is your favorite city to perform?

KV: Love playing anywhere and everywhere, but I think one of my
favorite places to play so far has been the Chicago House Of Blues.
There’s no other venue like it that I’ve played to this point, and
it’s such a fun and professional venue. Every show I’ve played there
has been so amazing.

PEV: Is their a certain theme in your music you tend to enjoy writing
about most?

KV: Mainly I think I just enjoy writing about everyday life and things
that inspire me. Things that go on in my life definitely influence
what I write about, but things that are going on around me or just
seem like they would make a cool premise for a song give me ideas too.
It’s different with every song, but I think that universal situations
that everyone deals with that are going on in my own life tend to
inspire me the most.

PEV: What is currently in your CD player or on your iPod right now?

KV: Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, Jeff Buckley, Griffin House, Joe
Purdy…I could go on and on, haha.

PEV: When you are not traveling, writing or performing, what do you like to do?

KV: I love visual arts. I’d really love to go to art school sometime
for drawing, painting, photography…just fine arts in general. I did a
lot of it in high school and I really wish I had time to do more of
it. More than anything I just love to hang out with my friends…I
have the best friends in the world and I don’t get to see them often
enough at all!

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? And what is the best and
worst part about “road life”?

KV: Life on the road has been so much fun. I didn’t know what to
expect, but I absolutely love it. The best part about it is that there
are always new people to meet and places to see, and traveling is one
of my favorite things to do even if I’m not playing- so seeing new
parts of the world is definitely one of the best parts of it.

KV: The worst part is probably just that I don’t get to see my family
and friends as much as I’d like to, so I miss them a lot when I’m on
the road. You also don’t get a whole lot of sleep, so that can be
rough…but that part really isn’t that bad. You get used to it, haha.

PEV: So, what is next for Kate Voegele?

KV: Basically I just think I’ll be spending the next year touring as
much as possible to build up a really solid fan base and promote my
new record. I can’t wait to get the music into as many peoples’ hands
as possible!

For more information on Kate Voegele, check out:


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