Kate Voegele is one of those artists that indie rock hipsters and Taylor Swift fans can proudly call their own. Her roots, like mine, are in Cleveland, Ohio yet while all of us were friends with Tom back in the MySpace heyday, she actually met him when he sought her out for his MySpace Records imprint on Interscope Records. She’s since released three albums, Don’t Look Away, A Fine Mess and Gravity Happens (on ATO Records), selling a combined total of more than a half million copies. This week, she heads out on her own — on tour and with a new EP. On the eve of her first show on this tour, Popdose caught up with Kate to talk music, acting, fashion and her dream date… for a future tour.
POPDOSE: While Taylor Swift continues to drive away from Nashville (sonically speaking), The Wild Card EP continues Gravity Happens’ stroll towards a country/pop sound on tracks like “Just Watch Me” and “Caught Up In You”. Did your time in Nashville this year inspire these songs or have you or have you always been a little bit of country?
I think with this EP I’m finally at a place where I was able to arrange my songs in a way that felt interesting to me. I grew up in Ohio with Eagles and Clapton fans for parents, and I think the heartland setting coupled with the rootsy colors of that music definitely influenced me as a writer. In the past, I always felt a bit restricted by the label’s vision of the albums — I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to put a mandolin on a song because it was considered ‘too country’. So now that I have the creative control back, I try to just give the songs what they want. Some of those country instruments helped round out these songs and give them a warmth they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
Who is your duet partner on “Caught Up In You”? How did that lovely track come together?
My duet partner on that song is an artist called Inland Sky; we actually wrote this song in about twenty minutes! We’d both overdone it on the coffee that morning (though that’s basically every morning for me) and the song just kinda fell out. His voice is really beautiful and unique, and I’d never done a duet type track before, so I thought it would add a really nice color to this group of songs.
It’s definitely interesting trying to separate your personal relationships from the songwriting process! Sometimes I write very literally about my life, and sometimes it’s an exploration of something I’ve been through in the past or watched someone else go through. What I’ve found is that it really is impossible for me to completely keep my life out of my songs so I take advantage of the less glamorous aspects of relationships when they come along. Anytime my husband and I get in a big fight I usually have to take fifteen minutes, get some song ideas together while I’m still really pissed off, and then go back and work through whatever dumb thing we were fighting about.
We’re both former Clevelanders — you’re a former West-sider, I grew up on the rough and tumble streets of Chagrin Falls. How did your first EP come together and build buzz?
It was a pretty organic process. My dad taught me to play guitar when I was about 15 and had bought me a four track recorder (with cassette tapes! so retro). I recorded a few songs I’d written on it but didn’t tell anyone about it. My dad discovered them and confiscated the songs, which you can imagine didn’t initially go well in the world of a teenage girl. It ended up leading me to locally record that initial EP and that was the catalyst for everything else… so I gotta hand it to my dad.
Will The Other Side and its follow-up, Louder Than Words, ever be re-released?
It would definitely be cool to re-release them someday!
Miley, Ariana, J-Lo and Drake are among the many TV stars who have broken music; what inspired you to make the reverse commute from the big stage to the small screen?
To be honest, it was kind of an accident. I was already signed to a record deal and touring the US when I went to the One Tree Hill audition on a whim. I’d heard that if I got it, I’d be able to play an original song on the show, so I figured that would be awesome visibility for my record and just went for it. I got the part, and one episode turned into four seasons on the show. I think I played 12 original songs during my time there, so it was an amazing loudspeaker for my music and also a really fun creative outlet. Acting, I discovered, is basically storytelling — and that’s what songwriting is too, so both were pretty symbiotic in a way.
I think you’re right up there with Taylor Swift in terms of being a fashion icon; your style features truly wild colors, one of a kind tops, dresses and skirts, galaxy pants and eclectic accessories — you rock sort of a European/Southwestern/Bohemian Couture thing.
That’s actually a pretty perfect way to sum it up!
Does your wardrobe reflect your global travels or are you pillaging LA’s boutiques?
I think my wardrobe definitely reflects my travels, and hunting for a new piece is probably one of my favorite things to do when I’m somewhere new.
Will we ever see the “Kate Voegele Collection”?
I absolutely love fashion and would love to create my own line someday — it’s such a fun way to be artistic because you literally get to live your life in it.
Answer a burning question for me — the original dress on the cover of A Fine Mess — was it that otherworldly yellow (deluxe edition) or pink (original version) or none of the above?
Great question!! It was pink. But we wanted a different vibe for the deluxe, so we thought why not just make it an acid green dress on this one? I kind of wished it was real so I could add the acid green version to my closet.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a full album that’s due out next spring, so I’m really excited about the songs that fans haven’t heard yet. One or two songs from this EP will make the album, but it will really be a totally separate body of work rather than an extension of the EP. There were a lot of songs that were hard to hold back from this EP, but it’s awesome to know that some of my favorite new songs are yet to be released!
Any desire to return to acting?
I’d love to do more acting- it really depends on the role. I’d love to play somebody unrelated to music and really explore a character whose personality would be a big departure from my own.
Who would be your dream date to co-headline a tour?
I will forever fantasize about sharing the stage with Dave Grohl. There just isn’t anybody cooler. I’d also love to sing on a song with Amos Lee, his voice is one of my favorites and his songs are so honest. When it comes to ultimate tour lineups I’ve got a list a mile long!
Kate Voegele’s tour kicks off this week and select dates are already sold out. For VIP passes, meet & greets, tickets and more information, connect with Kate Voegele on facebook or via her official website.
Need to catch up? Here is some Kate Voegele 101:
‘Only Fooling Myself’ from Don’t Look Away:
’99 Times’ from A Fine Mess:
‘Heart in Chains’ from Gravity Happens: