Kate VoegeleView in iTunes
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Before launching her dual careers as pop-minded songwriter and television actress, Kate Voegele grew up outside Cleveland in the suburban locale of Bay Village, Ohio, where she began singing in her church choir at age ten. Though her father often played guitar during his daughter's childhood, it wasn't until she entered high school that Voegele first picked up the instrument with any serious intent. Spurred on by a teenage breakup, she began to write pop/rock songs while seeking musical guidance from her father, who decided to record her work. One of those demos managed to find its way into the hands of a Warner Bros. representative at a Michelle Branch concert, and soon Voegele had garnered some major-label interest, particularly from Madonna's own Maverick Records. In 2003, the burgeoning musician recorded a five-song EP entitled The Other Side with help from producer Michael Seifert. Before long, Voegele had landed performances alongside the likes of John Mayer and Counting Crows, which led to a wider array of opportunities: a stint at Farm Aid in Seattle, inclusion in the Women in Rock set at South by Southwest, and numerous label showcases around Cleveland. In the fall of 2006, the college-aged Voegele was officially signed to MySpace Records, a new label that issued her full-length debut, Don't Look Away, the following spring. Despite receiving accolades from organizations such as the New York Songwriter's Circle, Voegele struggled to assemble a loyal following until 2008, when she landed a recurring role on the TV sitcom One Tree Hill. By playing the role of Mia Catalano -- a young songwriter on the cusp of a solo career -- Voegele was able to promote her own music aggressively on the show, resulting in an upsurge of attention that helped jump-start the sales of Don't Look Away (which was subsequently reissued, this time in partnership with Interscope Records). Voegele remained with the show during the following season, during which time she also found enough leeway to record her sophomore effort, A Fine Mess. The album was released in May 2009, aided in part by a concurrent story line on One Tree Hill that saw Mia Catalano releasing her own album as well. A Fine Mess hit the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 chart, a feat not replicated by 2011's Gravity Happens, though its leadoff single, "Heart in Chains," was performed on the TV show by Mia. After leaving One Tree Hill in 2011, Voegele moved from Los Angeles to Nashville and refocused on her music career, self-releasing the EP Wild Card in 2014. ~ Marisa Brown & Andrew Leahey