She has been recognized as one of the premier pop singer/songwriters in music today. And, after showcasing for several labels, Kate Voegele has taken the next step in her young career, signing with Myspace Records in October 2006.
Immediately after inking the deal with Myspace, the talented Cleveland native stepped into the studio to record her debut album with renowned producer Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson, Marc Broussard). The 12 track album combines the acoustic soulfulness of Kate’s influences like Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell, with the pop/rock feel of Sheryl Crow and Michelle Branch, all while maintaining a level of musicianship and lyrical originality that is unusual in today’s music scene. The record is slated for a spring ’07 release.
With a voice twice as big as her stature, the 20 year old Voegele has dazzled audiences over the last two years with a dynamic live show, which compliments her stellar songwriting abilities. Her live resume consists of spots at Summerfest, SXSW, two consecutive Farm-Aid concerts, and dozens of club shows at venues including The Bitter End and House of Blues. Kate was also recently chosen as a finalist for the New York Songwriter’s Circle, where she performed during CMJ, and was awarded first place out of over 4,000 applicants.
Currently a sophomore in College, Kate has already experienced more than most musicians could dream of, but is by no means content at this level.
Additional accolades for Kate include earlier this year winning the USA Songwriting Competition with her song “Only Fooling Myself,” as well singing the National Anthem at both the Cincinnati Reds and New York Knicks games. Kate has shared the stage with musicians that include Dave Matthews, John Mayer, The Wreckers, Howie Day, John Mellencamp, Mindy Smith and Jamie Cullum.
Kate Voegele--Vocals and guitar. Kate’s band is made up of Patrick O’Donnell from Avon Lake, OH on Drums/Percussion, Andy Sorenson from Rocky River, OH on Keys, Mark Tobik from Bay Village, OH on Bass/Sax and Will Voegele on Electric/Acoustic Guitar. Patrick, Andy and Mark make up an all original Jazz Band called The Bodega Project (www.thebodegaproject.com).
Don't Look Way (2007)
Louder Than Words (2005)
The Other Side (2003)
Miami Student to be the Next Hit Maker
[+ Show ]
PROFILE Miami student poised to be next hit-maker Wednesday, May 2, 2007 3:36 AM BY DAN SEWELL...PROFILE
Miami student poised to be next hit-maker
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 3:36 AM
BY DAN SEWELL
DAVID KOHLASSOCIATED PRESS
Kate Voegele outside her dorm at Miami University
OXFORD, Ohio -- She frets about her grades, spends hours networking sites online and passes time hanging out with friends on campus.
But semblances of normal college life are coming to a halt for Kate Voegele, a Miami University sophomore. The singer-songwriter's music career is heating up, with a national release for her first full-length album set in three weeks and a summer of concert dates scheduled from Los Angeles to New York.
Voegele has been performing for four years. After two years in college that have included the study of music and plenty of practice performing in Oxford's bars, she's ready to see how far she can go.
"I was just so young when I started. I was coming up with things that people were really enjoying, but I hadn't had time to develop as an artist," the 20-year-old said while lounging on her twin-size bed in the cramped dormitory room she shares with a roommate. "Now I feel like I'm at this point where I really have an artistic vision."
MySpace Records will release Don't Look Away, a 12-track album Voegele recorded in Los Angeles while working around her studies. Her songs include acoustic-rock-and-pop reflections on the joy and angst of relationships.
"It shows a lot of depth," said producer Marshall Altman, who first worked with Voegele three years ago. "She has grown as an artist. Kate is really about defining emotional content."
Voegele ventured into music after dad Will Voegele, whose career is in real estate but has been playing in bands much of his life, bought a small guitar while the family was on a Florida vacation.
Back home in the Cleveland area, she began to write lyrics.
Her curious father sneaked in one day to listen to her recordings.
"I told my wife (Betsy): 'Wow, this is really good,' " he recalled. "We need to support what she's doing."
He circulated some demos in Cleveland, and Voegele was soon getting club dates.
But she resisted heading off to , Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn., or New York after high school and instead chose the tranquil campus in rural southwest Ohio, where both her parents went to school.
She tries to stay low-key.
"I really like just getting to be a regular kid and having friends and being a student," she said.
Her boyfriend, Jason Tasman of Louisville, Ky., takes in stride the attention she draws from male fans and tries to support her amid the increasing travel and other career demands.
"Even when she's under a lot of stress," he said, "it's always with a smile."
Voegele also is aware that seeking stardom means losing privacy.
"My mother's always saying, 'Kate, you have to remember that people know who you are,' " she said.
"Yeah, it's a little scary, your daughter getting the exposure and the visibility, jumping on a tour bus," Will Voegele said.
At Miami, she has studied independently with music-theory teacher Roger Davis, doing things such as deconstructing Beatles songs and generally learning more about music as an art and a career.
"I've been teaching 30 years, and I would tell you, this isn't hyperbole, she's as talented a student as I've ever had," Davis said. "Quite frankly, I think if she doesn't make it, everybody else should go home."
[+ Show ]
May 14 2007 4:13 PM EDT MySpace Tom Hopes U.S. Prez Hopefuls Have Deep 'Impact' On Site Impact Cha...May 14 2007 4:13 PM EDT
MySpace Tom Hopes U.S. Prez Hopefuls Have Deep 'Impact' On Site
Impact Channel to cater to political activists; in the meantime, will Anderson ever change his infamous profile pic?
By Chris Harris, with reporting by Matt Elias
• You Tell Us
Several weeks before the release of R.E.M.'s last LP, 2004's Around the Sun, the folks over at MySpace did something they'd never tried before.
As part of a partnership with R.E.M.'s label, Warner Bros., the entire album was posted on the band's MySpace page, allowing fans of the Athens, Georgia, alt-rockers to stream the disc long before they had a chance to buy it. Ever since, artists like Nine Inch Nails, Audioslave and Weezer have followed suit, premiering their latest releases on MySpace as yet another promotional tool that could help boost future sales.
According to Tom Anderson, the site's president, one of its founders and the official "face" of the site, most of these bands (with the exception of R.E.M.) went on to experience the biggest sales debuts of their careers. Coincidence? Anderson thinks not.
(Watch MySpace President Tom Anderson talk about getting political, changing his picture, refusing to appear on "SNL" and more, right here.)
But the real question is, could MySpace have a similar effect on the 2008 presidential election? "[I] think it's really going to have an impact," Anderson said, referring to past Rock the Vote campaigns, which encouraged young voters to get to the polls and have their voices heard.
With the recent launch of its Impact Channel, a political community designed to empower politicians, nonprofits and civic organizations that want to connect with the site's users, MySpace could end up being a powerful force in the election. All the announced presidential candidates have their own MySpace profiles, giving potential voters more access to them and their respective campaigns.
"We're basically just trying to make a place where everybody that wants to do something good for the world can get their stuff highlighted on MySpace, sort of like the main music page, or the video page, with the focus being activism," Anderson explained about the Impact Channel during a recent interview with MTV News. "All the people running for president next year have already made profiles, so when somebody gets elected, our president is going to have a MySpace page. You can write our president in a few years, which is kind of exciting."
Anderson promised Impact will remain nonpartisan and explained that every candidate's profile will be featured on the channel. "It randomizes it so it's not one candidate over another," he said. "I won't even say who I'm going to vote for. I don't want to make people feel like me, or MySpace, is endorsing anyone."
The site will even hold a virtual election January 1-2 in advance of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, giving candidates the first test of where they stand with young voters.
"Hopefully we'll see some interesting results and get them in before everyone else," Anderson said. "Whether it matches what happens I think is not as important as getting people excited about it and showing on your MySpace profile what you believe in and who you're standing up for."
MySpace will also host a Presidential Town Hall series, to take place on various college campuses from September to December, and users will be able to submit questions for the events via MySpace instant messenger.
"It's sort of a throwback to the old days of politics," Anderson said. "You sort of heard this in the past that [former Democratic presidential candidate] Howard Dean and blogs and everything is going to change the elections, and the Internet is going to have a big impact. I think it has to some degree, but I think something like a MySpace profile is more direct than a candidate's Web page or a blog. ... You can add the profile to your friends list, and you can see what the candidate is all about.
"I think it's a way to engage young people — and even older people who are not thinking about the election and not caring anymore," he added. "They can see it and it will be right in their wheelhouse of what they are used to, and it's just a more efficient way to understand what a candidate is about than watching a little bit of a newscast here and reading this in the paper and trying to sort of piece together what this person stands for. So I think it could really have an impact in energizing and exciting the people that were not paying attention to the election before."
Politicians have accepted MySpace as a valuable marketing tool just as readily as the music industry has. But Anderson said MySpace was never intended as a promotional outlet for major-label music.
"I didn't expect major labels would embrace MySpace, and the original idea for music on the site was the unsigned bands, the independent bands," he said. "So I was quite surprised that major labels would embrace it, and they've done a lot with it."
And of course, that partnership between MySpace and the majors helped Anderson launch his own label, MySpace Records. As a musician for most of his life, he said starting the label was a "labor of love for me, and something I'd always wanted to do." The label has signed an eclectic mix of artists who have made names for themselves through the site, including Mickey Avalon, Hollywood Undead, Sherwood and Kate Voegele.
"It was a no-brainer for me," he said. "I'd be open to [signing] anything that's good — I just want to find good bands. And when people think of MySpace music, they think of emo, they think of rock, but the fact is there's more hip-hop on MySpace than any genre. I just haven't found the right hip-hop band to sign."
Those who've been long-term MySpace users no doubt recognize Anderson, as he's always the first friend of any new user who signs on to the site. And yes, Tom has never changed his MySpace profile picture — and doesn't plan on it.
"I've always kept a low profile and said no to 'Saturday Night Live' and stuff like that," he said. "I'm opening up a little bit more, but I sort of felt like in the beginning, I didn't want the focus to be on me. But I think if I change [my pic] that it will be hard for people to find me and send me a message or whatever. I probably should change it. I think when I do it, I should make a big ceremony out of it — maybe take a vote or something. That picture is six or seven years old, and it's small enough that people don't recognize me. They say, 'It doesn't even look like you,' but that's kind of cool too because I can walk down the street and I don't even get recognized."
Say What With Kate Voegele
[+ Show ]
Kate Voegele is a lucky girl for oh so many reasons - many of which I am kind of jealous. She gets t...Kate Voegele is a lucky girl for oh so many reasons - many of which I am kind of jealous. She gets to play with Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, John Mayer, and Neil Young. She still lives in a dorm room, yet is fairly famous. She can play guitar. She is only 18. She is a rock star. She is, um, playing with Dave Matthews.
Kate is a rock star - but a very nice rock star. She is very down-to-earth and a pleasure to chat with - and listen to. Kate, one word of advice - don't lose these qualities. As you age and mature, keep these characteristics close to your heart.
If you haven't heard much of Kate Voegele, then either purchase some tix to Farm Aid, or go check out her EP, “Louder Than Words.” She will soon be blasted all over the radio waves, and this is your chance to get a hold of this rocker before she breaks huge. Rock on!
Hey, it's Nick Powills. I have been trying to get a hold of you for our interview for like three days. Amazing that we can finally chat.
(Laughs) I don't know what is going on with my phone.
I kept calling and I wouldn't even get your voicemail. No offense, but your phone sucks.
I know. I know. My Mom was trying to call and she couldn't get through either.
No problem. No worries. It's all good.
Great. And, I have some time for you right now anyway. I am just getting home for class and can chat with you as I get ready to leave for the weekend. I'm going back home for the weekend.
So, you see, your little phone problems worked out just fine. Now we have a wonderful, healthy conversation (laughs).
(Laughs) That's what I was thinking.
So, you're at college right now. What I don't understand is how in the world you can balance going to classes and being a rock star. Please explain.
(Laughs) It's kind of tough. So far it's going pretty well. I have a trip up to New York City in a few weeks though, so, on the first day of classes I had to approach my professors and ask if they were OK with me taking off a week of classes. It was incredibly intimidating for me. I thought they would be mad about it.
Rightfully so. You are asking for an entire week off. What's up with that?
(Laughs) Music is my first priority, but for right now, I don't have anything going on where I have to be on the road 24-7, so I figure I can go to college for now and see how that goes. If things got crazy to the point where I would have to devote a lot more time to music, then I would. Right now, it's great cause I get to do both things. I love it.
Are you a freshman this year?
How fun is that?
Oh, it's a lot of fun. It's weird. College is totally different from high school.
Did you get hooked up with a roommate?
Yeah, I actually, hold on a second. I have to find my key to get in my dorm.
(Laughs) Boy, I remember those days.
My roommate is really cool. She is from Georgia and we are becoming really good friends.
Was she a random roommate?
Yeah. It has really worked out well.
Is being semi-famous helping you with the guys?
(Laughs) (Laughs some more) It's actually funny. I am meeting a lot of random guys, especially the guys who are coming to our room and asking if we can jam sometime (laughs). My roommate and I think it's really funny that they are asking me to jam (laughs).
(Laughs) Um, that's pretty hot. Have you had to sign any autographs?
Not yet. Thankfully.
Yeah, that would be a little weird.
Definitely. I will at shows and stuff. I will sign their CD, but it would be so weird if people at school started asking for my signature.
Soon guys will ask for your autograph and then your phone number. The pick-up line of the century. (Laughs)
Can I have your autograph and phone number? (Laughs)
So, you have gotten to play with Dave Matthews and that makes me really jealous. What was that like?
Yeah, that was very cool. He was really cool. It was so neat because all these people were playing Farm Aid, and they are such huge musicians, but they were really cool. They were really cool. Dave was a really nice, normal person to talk to. You would expect him not to be, since he is on such a big level, but he really was cool.
Again, I am kind of jealous.
(Laughs) How did you get hooked up on Farm Aid? My manager is actually John Mellencamp's manager, so, it worked out well.
That's a pretty sweet manager to have.
How did you get hooked up so well in music?
I got hooked up with a great manager and then started looking for record deals and a label to rep me. It just really worked out. I got lucky.
Is all this fame really surreal to you?
Oh, totally. People come up to me at school and are like, “Holy crap, you get to play with Dave.” (Laughs) It is just such an incredible thing. It's funny that I get to keep on going to school and get to do this music thing. You don't hear of that happening too often. You always here the story of people having to drop everything and move to LA and I didn't have to do that. It's crazy, but it's awesome.
Yeah, and I get to play on the main stage at Farm Aid. That's just really cool. I get to be on the t-shirt. The whole thing is just so surreal to me.
I am jealous dude. Just don't forget about good 'ol Nick when you get huge. Just remember I was one of your early fans.
(Laughs) You got it.
Louder Than Words
[+ Show ]
Another EP from Ohio's hit sensation Kate Voegele boasts more tracks with rhythms and soft-spoken ye...Another EP from Ohio's hit sensation Kate Voegele boasts more tracks with rhythms and soft-spoken yet edgy soaring vocals similar to Michelle Branch. "Only Fooling Myself" does have a girly edge to it, simple lyrics and all. "Top of the World" was redone, and offers some layered background vocals while Voegele takes the lead. Her vocals just rise up, and switch notes with ease. "Kindly Unspoken" features some piano playing, as Voegele proves she can do more than make edgy chick rock. But we still like what this girl puts out, we just hope to soon hear more than 4 songs.
Louder With Kate
[+ Show ]
Kate Voegele is a bright, beautiful and talented young singer / song writer. The eighteen year old h...Kate Voegele is a bright, beautiful and talented young singer / song writer. The eighteen year old has performed at Farm Aid along with Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson. Her debut recording was an EP titled The Other Side. From this EP, the song Only Fooling Myself was featured on the short lived CBS series Clubhouse.
Now Kate is back with a second effort. This too is an EP. The title for this EP is Louder Than Words.
Actually, of the four songs on the EP, only two of them are brand new. The other two had been on the earlier EP. On this new one, the songs are a little more polished.
Only Fooling Myself begins the EP and has a gentle piano intro. It is one of the one's from the earlier EP. But this version has a different arrangement. The song is about him having a piece of her life that is missing. But does he really? Or is she just fooling herself?
Facing Up is the second song. It has strong background music. The song has an almost anthem quality to it.
The third track was also on the first EP. And like Only Fooling Myself, this time out the song has a slightly different arrangement. The title of the song is Top of the World. And just like the version of the first EP, this song is my favorite. Her vocals are firm and the music has been polished into more of a mainstream anthem, complete with background vocals and fantastic background music.
The last track is Kindly Unspoken. It is a piece that has a lot of piano. It has a folksy blues kind of feel.
Kate continues to play great venues like The House of Blues. She is also performing this summer on the NBA Rhythm and Rims Tour. Catch her in Atlanta or Chicago for those tour dates.
Kate's music has become a bit more polished. Her vocals have the same rich quality that was carried over from her earlier effort. As I said in my review of the first EP, Kate will soon be as well known as Michelle Branch.
Find out more about Kate and her music at her web site. She has samples from both The Other Side and Louder Than Words. The web site is www.katevoegele.com .
[+ Show ]
Kate Voegele She's young and pretty and just as nice as she could be. She's Kate Voegele the (...
Kate Voegele She's young and pretty and just as nice as she could be. She's Kate Voegele the (almost) 19-year-old singing sensation born right here in Bay Village, Ohio.
She comes from a great, supportive family and her singing career is just one path on her road to the future. Her mom, Betsey, loves to sing "privately".
Her father, Will sings and plays the guitar more publicly, including Church. Kate used to go with him when he played at Coffee Houses and Kate credits him with teaching her "everything!"
Her father even played in her band for a while, but now he is her manager and biggest fan.
Kate grew up with music and singing. She's been in the choir since she was a small child and sang in Church with her father. She sang in The Riverside Children's Choir.
She is also a member of "Young Life", a youth group described on their website as: "… a non-denominational, Christian organization committed to impacting kid's lives and preparing them for the future. For more than six decades, Young Life has been introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith, while providing strong, positive influences in their lives."
Kate Voegele performing at the
Farm Aid concert
Her family and her teachers have always encouraged Kate. Her younger sister, Courtney, is also a big supporter. "I love spending time with her." Courtney herself is into different things. "She's very athletic and plays the drums and violin really well."
Kate started writing music at age 15 in her freshman year at Bay High School. She is still writing. She graduated from Bay High in June 2005. She can't say enough about the support she got from her teachers and fellow students.
She went to her senior prom and, of course, some of her songs were played - without her knowing. "It was a little embarrassing, but funny too." Her friends, being typical teenagers, would always kid her about who a particular song was about.
Kate remembers one very important spring break she spent in Marco Island, Florida, with her family. (Her entire extended family goes on vacations together). Her father had forgotten his guitar and picked up a cheap one in a local store. Kate asked him to teach her to play.
When she got back he bought her a recorder to record the music she made. She was too shy to have anyone listen to her, so her father, unbeknownst to her, set it up in her room. The whole family listened and loved it and her career evolved from there.
Her dad writes Contemporary Christian music, and, in fact, created his own CD about 8 years ago.
Her first big gig was for Young Life. She was at a Christmas Coffee House in Bay Village, where anyone could play. Her dad had planned on doing some of his original music, but suggested Kate perform instead.
People afterwards told her how wonderful it was, but also how surprised they were to hear her sing. "I grew up really shy. I felt weird even talking to people, even the ones I knew. So they said they never really heard me talk, never mind sing!"
Using the recording studio her dad had set up in the house, Kate recorded more music and sent it to some of her dad's contacts. She recalls Rich Engler from Clear Channel in Pittsburgh being a huge springboard for her. He set up her first side stage with Amy Mann and John Mayer.
At only 16 years old she started playing live concerts and booking future shows. She performed at Farm Aid, and hopes to this year as well.
"Another big break came for me when I hooked up with Mike Farley. He got me hooked up with Hoffman Entertainment, who also handles John Mellencamp."
Farm Aid was an amazing event for Kate. She had been used to playing in front of 3-400 people and now all of a sudden there were 20,000 people. "I saw Jesse Jackson there. He was wearing a shirt that had Dave Mathews name on it - and mine was right under it. On a shirt that Jesse Jackson was wearing. Ridiculous!!!"
"Ridiculous" is Kate's way of saying she is blown away or something is really awesome. Each time she says it her eyes get wider and her smile gets brighter. She is truly amazed at her life!
"I was told to go stand in a certain place behind Dave. It turned out Dave was Dave Mathews and I remember thinking Oh My God - I'm staring at the back of Dave Mathew's head! Ridiculous!"
From Farm Aid she flew to Los Angeles to produce more music so she could showcase her talent to labels. Marshal Altman produced her in Los Angeles and they co-authored a song together.
On her recent trip to New York she collaborated on a number of songs with different writers. Kate never records new versions of anyone else's songs, although she does use some of them in her live act.
Kate is focused on her future - but not just her singing future. She will be attending Miami University this fall. She considered NYU but decided it would be easier to go to Miami U and still maintain her singing career.
Plus, she's a big Red Hawks fan! She will be taking 12 hours and using her AP credits. She's looking forward to playing in the surrounding area.
As an avid artist (she loves to paint and draw) Kate will be majoring in Art Education. She never considered taking a year off "Once you get out of the school loop it's too hard to get back in. I'll find a way to balance it, even if it is a little crazy."
Kate loves to travel and is thrilled with the opportunities her singing has given her. She climbed the Rocky Mountains in Colorado ("Is that ridiculous!?!") And has been to New York, Austin, Chicago and many other places.
She's found that her wholesome, family oriented values do not hold her back at all as she enters the music world. "Nobody has ever said "Oh she's too wholesome. Good music is what it's all about."
She views Cleveland's local music scene as ridiculous! "There's so much talent here." She doesn't understand why someone like Michael Stanley is not a national star, except to say, "Sometimes success has nothing to do with talent. There's no equation to make success work - sometimes it's just luck."
When she was a bit younger she loved the music of James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Now, she's more into Patti Griffin, Ryan Adams, Wilco and Jeff Buckley.
She is flattered when people compare her to someone like Joni Mitchell, and is always sure to include Big Yellow Taxi in her live performances. "They often compare me to Michelle Branch - but I don't see it."
Around town you may catch her at the Beachland Ballroom, Tower City or any number of places. You can check her schedule, learn more and even listen to Kate on her web page at www.katevoegele.com.
"People think I set out to do this, but I actually stumbled on it by accident. But it's really a lot of fun. I'm taking it a day at a time. It's a serious industry - but you can't take it too seriously."
She remembers the first time she was asked for an autograph. It was at the Christmas Coffee House concert and a camp counselor was the one asking. She signed her name on a Styrofoam plate; in the same way she signs it on her artwork. But she adds, "Thanks for listening" when she signs autographs now - "Having people listen means everything."
You can also see Kate in a Pantene Commercial, which she won by audience vote from an MTV spot. "It is so weird to see myself on MTV or have someone else say they saw me on MTV - It's Ridiculous!"
The entertainment industry is a large, almost overwhelming business. To look at Kate Voegele you may worry that she will get trampled in the madness, or that the very things that make her special will become jaded or tainted.
Not to worry. Once you have heard her talk or listen to her sing, you know she will not get lost in the pack. She is destined to lead it.
Kate Voegele not making it big? Ridiculous!
Kate Voegele's Louder Than Words
[+ Show ]
My first thought when I saw her photo is she looks like Michelle Branch mixed with Jessica Beal. The...My first thought when I saw her photo is she looks like Michelle Branch mixed with Jessica Beal. Then I put the CD in and guess what? She even sounds like Branch a little. I would call this nice catchy pop.
What stands out is Voegele's amazing vocal talent. The music is your Top-40 flavored stuff, but the voice is far superior. The songs are good, so it's not this, which keeps her in the everyday pop vein. I believe it's the production and/or instrumentation. I imagine that she's great live without all the extra production.
Another thing that stands out is her age. She's 18 for Pete's sake. I would have put that voice to a much older person.
"Kindly Spoken" is my favorite, mostly because it's just her and piano (for the most part) and is less muddled with other stuff. It's a great song and her voice really shines here.
I would like to hear more from Kate Voegele, but with less bells and whistles. Yet, it would not surprise me at all to hear her on the radio in the near future. She's play very well in the tween pop category with Maria Mena, Anna Nalick and the like. They're all talented women and in today's pop music they're the best at it.
The Other Side of Cleveland's Music Scene
[+ Show ]
In the year or so since Kate Voegele released her debut EP, The Other Side, the talented singer/song...In the year or so since Kate Voegele released her debut EP, The Other Side, the talented singer/songwriter has enjoyed success around her local music scene in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to holding the CD release party at her city's Hard Rock Cafe, and performing around other local venues, she's had her first single "Top of the World" featured on WBWC 83.3 radio in Cleveland and been invited to perform at numerous showcases and benefits.
All of this would be an impressive start for any new musician learning the ropes of her hometown scene and looking to build a long-term career in music. Balancing the pressure of the music biz along with the rigors of high school is even more noteworthy.
The 17-year-old Voegele has garnered a lot of attention due to the maturity and accomplishment of her songwriting, which increases her chances for long-term success in an industry that can often be dismissive of the female folk diva of the moment. The steps she has taken to assemble a strong backing band, which includes her dad Will Voegele sharing acoustic guitar duties, and building a relationship with the industry, indicates that her career development is well underway, and can only intensify as she focuses more on it in the years ahead.
She has already shared the stage with nationally-recognized performers, including John Mayer, Aimee Mann and Patty Griffin, with whom her music is often favorable compared.
Recently, Voegele participated in a record-label showcase in Los Angeles and the Pure Tone showcase in Cleveland. Plans are also in the works for MTV's seminal reality show "The Real World" to license The Other Side. With all of this going on, Chorus and Verse spoke with Voegele about her perceptions of the music biz, its perceptions of her, and where she hopes it will all take her from here.
Let’s start off by looking forward. In March, you’re going to be performing an unofficial showcase at South By Southwest, in Austin, Texas. What are your feelings about being a part of this festival, and do you have any specifics about when and where you’ll be playing?
I'm thrilled to be playing SXSW this March. I've always heard so much about it and I'm definitely looking forward to being a part of the Women in Rock showcase.
In general, it sounds like the industry has been very receptive to your music. The Kings Of A&R website highlighted your music a little while ago, and your single, “Top of the World,” has been getting radio airplay. What’s been the secret to not only getting recognized and standing out in the music biz, but also getting the opportunities presented to you so that you can take advantage of them?
I think there have been a number of different things that have helped me get to this point. First of all, my family and friends have been incredibly supportive, not to mention my high school as well. Publicity and getting my name out there have also been major issues, all of which I owe to Mike Farley for his dedicated distribution of my material.
I think I've also benefited a lot from keeping an open mind about the whole thing. I'm not dead set on one particular thing right now and I think that has kept my opportunities wide open.
A lot of your press focuses on the fact that your songwriting is so accomplished, especially for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old. Does it bother you at all that people are surprised that someone so young would be able to write interesting and engaging songs? Have you found that your age has been a plus for you, or something that you need to overcome when getting people to want to work with you?
Both. I think that there are major advantages and disadvantages to being a seventeen-year-old songwriter in the music industry. It's sometimes hard when people who are surprised at my songwriting question how many problems a high schooler really has and if someone my age could write as insightfully as someone older.
I also think it has major advantages, though. Since I'm only a junior in high school, I still have a lot of time to get my career going. A lot of people don't even start until they're out of college, so I think I've got a pretty good head start.
Many young female artists tend to get forced into one of two boxes, either the sensitive, folksy singer/songwriter type, or the sex-kittenish pop diva. How conscious are you of your image, and have you found that people are surprised when they do see you perform and your style isn’t fitting into one of the typical molds?
I think a lot of times young female artists do feel like they have to fit in one of those stereotypical images, and it ends up changing the way they really are and making their material seem "manufactured." I don't think I fall directly into either category, but I think I definitely identify more with a folksy singer/songwriter genre. It's the art that's so important to me in my music. I also try to write within a wide range of "styles" so as to change it up and not just fit that archetypal folky girl-with-a-guitar mold.
Back to your songwriting for a moment. What are the themes you find yourself addressing in your writing, and do you find yourself more comfortable writing autobiographically, or in the third person?
I guess it depends on the song. A lot of times, songwriting is a release for me, so it's relatively autobiographical because it's most often a reflection of my feelings. However, sometimes I find myself writing in third person for something new or just because it seems to fit the idea of the song a lot better.
Are you always writing, filling up notebooks with ideas and phrases here and there and putting them together in songs later on? Or, do you just sit alone with your guitar somewhere and play around with thoughts until something coherent comes together?
I do both! I've got probably four different notebooks full of all kinds of random ideas that I go back to when I'm stuck on a particular song. Every song is different, because sometimes it stems from an idea that's two-years-old that I never did anything with, and sometimes it's something I was humming while playing around with a new chord progression.
I think the biggest thing for me with songwriting is that it can't be forced. It sounds kinda dumb, but it has to just sort of come to me. Otherwise, it's really not my best work.
Your five-song EP The Other Side, was released in Summer 2003. Have you continued to write new material over the past several months, and do you anticipate any additional recording, or putting out a full-length album, at any point in the near future?
I've definitely been writing new material since The Other Side was released. On top of all the stuff that never even made it onto the CD are at least 30 new songs I've written over the last few months. My dad and I put together a small amount of this new stuff on a four-song demo a couple months ago, but there's still so much more I'd like to do with it.
I'd definitely love to put out a full length album sometime soon, so I guess I'll just be on the lookout for whatever opportunities like that come my way.
The Other Side was released at a party held at the Hard Rock Café in your native Cleveland, where you’re performed other gigs recently as well. Talk about the local Cleveland scene a bit. What are some of the other rooms that you’ve played, and which venues have been the most supportive of original music?
The Cleveland scene has actually been pretty good for emerging artists. Hard Rock is always really welcoming and an awesome venue to play here. Over the summer, the Tower City Amphitheatre was really generous in giving me a spot on the second stage at Taste of Cleveland and Sprite Liquid Mix tour. I also played a benefit for the American Cancer Society at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the fall, which was another really supportive place to play. Last fall, I also opened for the Bangles at the Second City Comedy Club, which not only had great sound and acoustics, but also very supportive. I recently played both the Odeon and the Beachland Ballroom Tavern. Both of these being places that a lot of singer/songwriters I respect have played, I found them equally supportive of original artists.
Do you feel the Cleveland music scene has the resources to allow you to break out on a regional or national level? Where you see the next logical step being as you expand your touring area?
I think the Cleveland scene has substantial resources. So far, it's been [serving] me really well. I recently did a songwriter showcase program for Crooked River Groove at CCC, which was a great way to expose local artists.
I think, though, I'm not quite sure what the next step will be. I think that this summer will give me a lot of time to really get my name out there and continue to play out live. I'm also hoping to do some more studio recording sometime in the near future and possibly tour outside Cleveland if the opportunity arises.
You’re playing gigs with a full-band these days. Can you introduce readers to your band mates, and how long you’ve all been playing together?
My band and I have actually only been playing together since the middle of last summer. They're all really cool guys who are extremely talented and fun to work with.
My dad, Will Voegele, actually plays acoustic guitar (along with me) in my band which has really been a blast. He's played guitar since high school and has taught me everything I know about guitar and songwriting. He also gets a kick out of the fact that he's pretty much double the age of any other member of the band and is the only, as Fox 8 news called him, "older gentlemen" in the group.
My electric guitarist, Sam Getz, is incredibly talented and is 20 years old. He plays in his own blues band and also in a band called Cactus 12. Both my drummer, 18-year-old Mike Gould, and bassist, 18-year-old Phil Palumbo, also play in Cactus 12. On keyboards is 23-year-old Andy Sorenson, both an extremely talented musician and long-time friend of our family.
Why do you feel you’ve been drawn to an acoustic guitar, rather than playing an electric? Do you own an electric or ever play plugged-in, and do you consider that an option for building on your sound, or adding something different to the mix, in the future?
I own both types of guitars and I think it took me a while to feel out which I was most drawn to. I think my personal taste in music has something to do with my preference for the acoustic guitar, because I've always been a big fan of very organic songwriting, like that of Patty Griffin on the Living With Ghosts album. My guitar is acoustic/electric, so I almost always play plugged in.
Though I definitely find myself writing most often on the acoustic guitar, I like to play electric live on select songs, too. I think it helps to expand my sound and style and also allows for new ideas to come about.
On that note, what is your favorite acoustic guitar when performing? Are you a “guitar girl,” that loves to talk about instruments and explore music shops, or can you pretty much pick up anything that’s lying around and play with it?
I'm not much of an expert yet, but from what I've played, I think the most quality guitar make is by Taylor. There's something about the warmth of the sound and the low action on the bridge that makes it not only easy to play, but the best sound you can get. I learned to play guitar on my dad's baby Taylor, and he actually got a Taylor 614C a couple years ago that I used to play when I did solo stuff rather than with the band. Just this past Christmas, I got a Taylor 414 with a really gorgeous cedar wood satin finish that I'm totally in love with, so I'd have to say that it's the best make I've come across.
What’s the future hold for you over the next several years? What do you see as the timeline for doing more touring and expanding your exposure within the music industry? What’s in the works for the rest of 2004 that fans should look out for?
I've been given so many awesome opportunities, so I'm really excited to see what the future will bring. I'm hoping to do a lot more live touring over the summer, and to hopefully get some dates both in and out of Cleveland. I'm hoping that stuff I do this summer will be a catalyst for some other possibilities, but I'm just taking it all one day at a time and seeing what happens.
For 2004, I'll hopefully be able to record some more material, maybe even a full-length CD. For now, I'm so excited to be able to be doing this and am really looking forward to seeing where it takes me in the future.
30 minutes to 90 minutes. Mostly original with some covers
There are no upcoming dates at this time.