Kate Voegele has enjoyed the best of both worlds. Acclaimed for both her songwriting skills and acting skills, the two coalesced to great success when she starred in the acclaimed television high school drama One Tree Hill in the late 00s. The singer was raised in the small Ohio suburb of Bay Village, and first realised the power of her voice when she sang in the church choir in 1996. While her father often toyed with an acoustic guitar, the young Voegele was immune to its charms for much of her teens. That changed when he taught her to play during a family vacation in Florida. When the holiday was over the 15-year-old Voegele was sat in the back seat writing her first songs during the long 1,200-mile drive back home. And although the traditional spur of teenage breakup and heartache infused those early songs, it was clear to her father that she boasted real potential. Together they started to record her work and, once she got truly proficient, sending out demos to potentially interested parties. After one of those early demos landed with a Warner Brothers representative at a Michelle Branch concert, Voegele was cautiously courted, with Madonna's Maverick imprint the keenest suitors. After the interest petered out Voegele decided to record her first EP The Other Side, assisted by producer Michael Seifert. The seven-song set's second number 'Top Of The World' managed to garner some local radio play as Voegele started to play her first shows. She slowly graduated from the humble coffeehouse circuit to more prestigious slots supporting the likes of John Mayer, Mindy Smith, Jamie Cullum, Dave Matthews and Counting Crows as the word-of-mouth buzz around her spread. These led to further opportunities including sets at Seattle's Farm Aid, Texas's South by Southwest and a place in the final of CMJ's New York Songwriter's Circle, where she triumphed over 4,000 applicants with 'Only Fooling Myself'. Meanwhile songs from her EP had started to be licensed on TV shows including Club House, The Ghost Whisperer and Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County.
After a second self-released EP Louder Than Words in 2004 she was invited to sing the national anthem at Major League baseball games for both the Cincinnati Reds and New York Knicks, as all the while negotiations raged on with various labels keen for a bigger portion of the pie. In 2006 she finally signed to the newly formed MySpace Records and stepped into the studio to record her debut album with producer Marshall Altman, known for his work with Matt Nathanson and Marc Broussard. The 12-track Don't Look Away managed to cleverly combine the soulful acoustic influence of avowed heroes such as of Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell with the accessible pop feel of Sheryl Crow. For all its abundant charms Voegele struggled to amass meaningful sales when it was first issued in 2007. That changed radically in 2008 when she landed a regular role on TV sitcom One Tree Hill. Cast as Mia Catalano, a young songwriter on the cusp of a solo career, it couldn't have been more pertinent, and the fact that her biggest previous acting role was in the chorus for Once Upon a Mattress was neither here nor there as she settled into the role with graceful ease. It also allowed Voegele an opportunity to promote her own music with impunity, and MySpace even re-released her album on the same day as her TV debut appearance on January 22nd 2008, adding fresh sleeve artwork and the lure of three new acoustic songs for established fans. The accompanying upsurge of interest eventually brought the mighty Interscope into the picture and, with their help, it climbed to 27 on the Billboard 200. It was boosted by a video for 'Only Fooling Myself' that was partly shot on set and included One Tree Hill cast members James Lafferty, Stuart Lafferty and Lisa Goldstein Kirsch. The album's second single, her cover of Leonard Cohen's unavoidable modern standard 'Hallelujah', finally took her into the singles chart for the first time.
Voegele remained with the show for the following season while juggling a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at the University of Phoenix. She found enough leeway to record her second set, A Fine Mess, which soared straight into the US top ten. The album was released in May 2009 and closely mirrored a semi-biographical show storyline that saw her character Catalano also preparing a long-player. Voegele promoted it with her own headlining Lift Me Up tour plus dates supporting American Idol's R&B
chanteuse Jordin Sparks. The televisual synergy continued in 2011, when the first single from Voegele's third studio album 'Heart in Chains' premiered on the same day as an episode of One Tree Hill. Its parent set Gravity Happens was typically jammed with openhearted musings on love and life delivered via an inviting blend of rock, pop and folk. Third time around there was a more rootsy, Americana feel to proceedings as she picked up a mandolin for the first time without waywardly deviating from the formula that had brought her so much success. It proved to be her most mature and focused collection yet.
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