We first met Kate Voegele more than two years ago, when she was still a Bay High School student. Today, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter is still as down-to-earth as she was then, having just released her full-length debut, “Don’t Look Away,” for MySpace Records, an outgrowth of the mega-popular social site myspace.com. We recently checked in with her during a break in her summer tour.
What was your initial reaction when MySpace approached you? I was really kind of skeptical. ... It seemed weird. But, at the same time, I was really excited because [myspace.com founder and everyone’s first “friend”] Tom was really enthusiastic about the music. He just sent me a message on MySpace. That’s pretty much how I got my deal.
The fact that it seems nearly everyone under age 30 is a MySpace member must have been a major factor for you. The visibility thing was big to me. I’d been showcasing for a lot of major labels … and I have nothing against major labels. But I think starting out at an indie label that’s focused on artist development and finding your fan base before you have this big major-label machine behind you is so smart. When I found out MySpace was one of those labels, I was even more intrigued, especially because they have this marketing platform that costs them nothing and reaches 200 million people.
What musicians are the biggest influences on your sound? I grew up listening to James Taylor, [Eric] Clapton and my mom sang Carole King around the house, and there’s Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Bonnie Raitt. Those are my biggest influences and that’s really what I wanted to aim for this record — something that’s going to be modern enough people will relate to it, but also ties into that organic, classic music that is never going to be outdated.
Kate Voegele will perform Aug. 25 at the OutRun Ovarian Cancer race and walk at Voinovich Park downtown. For more information, visit