Five (or more) questions with Kate Voegele

Kate Voegele, photo courtesy of the artist

No need to worry about a low-energy performance from singer-songwriter Kate Voegele. The Ohio-born musician and actress (she starred on “One Tree Hill” for four seasons) is currently on a tour sponsored by LUNA bar. So, nine grams of protein: check. Gluten free: check. Amped up, pop-savvy songs: check. Voegele is on the road in support of her most recent EP, Wild Card. She makes a stop at The Grey Eagle on Sunday, Jan. 18. Leroy Sanchez opens. 8 p.m., $12 advance/$15 day or show.

Mountain Xpress: Your first full-length album in four years is due out this summer — will it include some of the songs from your Wild Card EP, or all new tracks?
Kate Voegele:
It will mostly be new tracks, which I’m really excited about. One or two songs from the EP might make the album, but it will be an entirely separate statement. I’m excited about experimenting with new sounds and instruments and making something with a bit more punch this go around.

Are you able to write songs while you’re on the road, or does most of your songwriting happen when you’re in one place?
It completely depends, but I’ve noticed I write really well when I’m in transit. I love to travel and I’m definitely a wanderer at heart, so I think being on the move helps me dream up new ideas in a lot of ways.

You’ve recorded the same number of EPs as full-lengths. Do you like one format better than the other?
I think in 2015, anything goes in terms of releases, which is really fun. There aren’t really concrete rules anymore and that allows for a lot of creative freedom. I do still love the concept of albums, though — and I’ll always make records in a traditional sense, no matter how many singles or EPs I put out. I love having the option to do both and being able to give fans some variety.

How do you think acting in a TV show helped you with your live music performances (or vice versa)? And any plans to get back to acting?
It was definitely helpful. I kind of stumbled into acting by accident when I auditioned for “One Tree Hill” on tour. I was already signed and playing shows, but I think being in front of a camera all day definitely helped me get supercomfortable on another level onstage. I would certainly do it again, though I much prefer being onstage, in front of a live audience, playing music, to being on camera reciting lines. Both are cool creative processes, but nothing beats playing a great gig in my world.

You had a hit with your cover of Leonard Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah.” Why did you choose to cover that particular song? And, since so many others have also performed their own renditions, is there another version that is especially meaningful to you?
The Jeff Buckley version knocked me on my ass in high school when I first heard it, and like so many other people, that was the version that meant the most to me. I started messing around playing the song in my dorm room because I just loved it, and I’d play it in our college common room for all my drunk friends. One night I decided I’d play it at a gig, and for some reason, people really connected to it when I sang it. Part of me felt unworthy to sing such a meaningful song, but I think that songs that good deserve to be heard, no matter what the vehicle is. I’m honored that people appreciate the way I interpreted it.

You’ve been on a pretty extensive tour. What has been an especially surprising stop?
[This winter] we had to drive to Omaha in a ridiculous blizzard that we were dreading, and I think we were all a bit convinced we weren’t going to make it there. We had the night off, but we were so overwhelmed with anxiety from the drive … that we all posted up in the hotel, ordered a bunch of pizza, opened some wine and binge-watched movies. It ended up being awesome! And the show the next day was great, too.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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