The first artist signed in 2006 to MySpace Records in association with Interscope, the edgy and rockin' (yet charming and sensitive) Cleveland-bred singer/songwriter Kate Voegele had the pleasure of actually meeting MySpace president "Tom" Anderson in the flesh. As if that weren't great conversation piece enough, the label began its grassroots campaign for her stirringly melodic, edgy, and mostly electric guitar-driven debut with reference to some all-star associations that happened in her teens. At age 16 in 2003, Voegele opened for John Mayer and Counting Crows, which led to other opening gigs for Dave Matthews, the Wreckers, and John Mellencamp, as well as performances at two Farm Aid concerts. She also placed songs from her two indie EPs on a handful of TV shows. Two of her full-length debut's most engaging, pure pop/rock cuts, "Only Fooling Myself" and the bluesy, dark-chorded Fiona Apple-like "I Won't Disagree," won major songwriting contest awards; the latter took first place over 4,000 entries in the New York Songwriter's Circle, winning Pop Song of the Year. Those accolades and the compelling power of her hard-hitting vocals and crisp writing style should have been enough to launch her to stardom, but it actually took a recurring life-imitates-art role as an up-and-coming songwriter on the CW Television Network's hit series One Tree Hill in early 2008 to launch her to national attention.
The minute she began her multi-episode run -- which included her character's performance of some of this disc's key material, from "Only Fooling Myself" to the beautiful and emotionally searing piano-and-vocal closer "Kindly Unspoken" -- MySpace re-released the disc and suddenly she had a major indie hit on her hands. The album quickly hit digital album chart and the Top Ten on Billboard's Independent and Digital Albums chart. Her slow build via her MySpace page quickly became a rocket to the pop music moon as she racked up more than a million extra song plays. The coolest part of the Voegele experience is the perfect balance of vibe she offers, from the tribally percussive, jangling joy of "One Way or Another" and rockin' sizzle of "Might Have Been" to the lighter retro-pop soul sexiness of "Top of the World" and the gentle acoustic soul of the previously mentioned "Kindly Unspoken." All of this by age 22, yet it was only the beginning for an artist with the perfect package -- looks, intelligence, acoustic and electric guitar chops, a distinctive voice you can't forget, and -- lest we forget -- the most exciting and compelling indie disc of 2008. With Kelly Clarkson's star slightly on the wane, Voegele was primed to jump into the fray on her way to the top of the female rock world -- helped by the mysterious "Tom" and not the praise of Simon Cowell.