When Gravity Happens: an interview with Kate Voegele

“We’re just driving through Nebraska, just driving through some cornfields”, Kate Voegele casually announces while calling in from her tour bus. Currently on the road promoting her third studio album, Gravity Happens, the lyrics on the record pinpoint so well those subtle sentiments that are sometimes felt, but not always apparent or often articulated.

Engaging and expressive is the way Voegele translates emotion into song—quiet moments of happiness alone or a passing gesture of tenderness with someone else. Most admirable of all, Voegele is unrelentingly honest in all that she does.

Does your latest album, Gravity Happens, feel like a continuation of stories from your last two records or a completely new project?

I think a mix of both. There are definitely new stories, but I think that who I am as an artist hasn’t drastically changed, so in that way, definitely a continuation.

Referencing the single, “Heart in Chains” and lines like, “I need your venom” and “I don’t want it any other way”, is there a bit of masochism in all relationships?

I think that it totally is a case-by-case basis. For me, that song, what I wanted to write about was exactly that—this feeling of being chained to your own emotion. And even though your feelings for this person are somewhat unhealthy, you still are addicted enough to not care.
It’s a bit of a dark song, but it’s also a song that, on the flip side, illustrates the rush that you get when you have that kind of obsession or you’re experiencing that type of love. It’s a little bit scary, but it’s also something that you don’t want any other way—you could relish in that feeling of being imprisoned.

Your bio says that people fabricate things because they are afraid that who they are and what they stand for isn’t interesting enough. How do you remain honest to yourself and not get swept up in an industry that can be obsessed with fabrication?

In the last couple years that I’ve been in this industry full time, you learn pretty fast that fabrication is the easy way to quick success. The reason that I write music, the thing that makes me love my job, is when a fan comes up to me and goes, “Hey, I can relate to exactly the music you wrote. Thank you for being so honest in that song. It made me feel better”. That’s my job. I love that because that’s my philosophy on writing. That’s why I want to do what I do because it helps people.

There are a few obvious parallels between you and your One Tree Hill character, so much that fans may get confused between the two. What are some major difference between you and your character, Mia?

The thing about Mia is that she lived less life than I have and it’s not just because she’s a few years younger than me, but I think she is still a bit immature in that she’s feisty and she kind of likes to stir up drama…With her, she’s sort of is a wise guy because she can be a little snarky on purpose. I’m a feisty person for sure, but I don’t know if I’m quite as ballsy when it’s about stuff like punching another girl in the face. We’re a little bit different, but I love channelling that.

Besides touring, what other things are you keeping yourself occupied with?

I just released a pair of sunglasses that I signed with Oakley. That was really fun. We released the glasses with the album so if people buy my sunglasses, they’ll get my record with it as well. The design for the glasses is kind of the same doodles and drawings on the cover of my new album. It was a really cool parallel that was such a fun tie in.

Can you finish off this sentence for me? When gravity happens, you have to…

The line in my song is, “If gravity happens, then I’ll fasten wings to my shoes”. So that’s how I would finish the sentence. When gravity happens, you have to figure out how to beat it, how to rise above it. A lot of times people think that just because it’s there, it exists, it’s this force, and I mean this figuratively – just because hardships are going to come about no matter who you are, it doesn’t mean they have to ruin your day or ruin your life. That’s such a huge part of figuring out who you are, is when you get a huge obstacle throw in your way and all of a sudden, you can’t just float. You have to figure out how to get around it. It’s not easy, but it’s what defines and builds your character. I’m definitely still learning that.

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