On Kate Voegele and resigning oneself to emotional abuse

(edit: oh well apparently I haven’t been “given permission” to embed the video, so I guess linking it will have to do.)

I discovered Kate Voegele in 2004 or 2005, when someone on a forum suggested her on a thread about musicians similar to Michelle Branch. I guess the comparison was drawn because they were both guitar-wielding brunettes singing pop songs, but after listening to a few live clips of Voegele singing, I decided that they while they may have looked the same, Voegele’s voice was much richer, and did not quite fit in with the rest of the Pop scene at the time. Indeed, their careers took very different turns; by that point Branch had already reached her pinnacle of fame for her single Everywhere, released her sophomore album Hotel Paper, was still being confused with Vanessa Carlton, and then went Country. Voegele, on the other hand, released her debut label-album Don’t Look Away, and shortly after joined the cast of One Tree Hill as Mia Catalano, and thus she was inducted into the Hall of One Tree Hill Musicians. She’s fairly popular amongst OTH viewers, but the rest of the world are pretty oblivious to her existence.

Which is a shame, because I think she is one of the most underrated artists out there. She recently released her third album, Gravity Happens, which sees Voegele a more content, wise and world-worn person than in her last two albums, but still retaining a youthful hope for future happinesses in life and love.

Although you probably wouldn’t be able to tell from the album’s first single, ‘Heart in Chains’. The chorus has a light, catchy beat, but is essentially about being resigned to staying in an emotionally abusive relationship. Maybe what surprised me the most was the imagery and metaphor used in the music video; it’s not what I expected of Kate Voegele, given that her past music videos have been more typical pop songs, and were treated as such. I’m supposing the video treatment was written up by Grandson & Son, who directed and edited the video, and they did a fantastic job. There’s so much vulnerability and a sense of being fragile conveyed through shots of scraped knees hidden by white lace; forts and shadow puppets, crowns and stars are reminiscent of childhood, and the simple need that a child has for attention and love.

There’s a lot more I could talk about that I find interesting in the music video, like the use of white, the covered heads, ghost imagery and the butterfly in a jar, but this blog entry is in danger of becoming an English essay. So I won’t. Suffice it to say that the music video certainly reflects the song’s troubling themes of hurt and internal struggle that comes with being with/loving someone who’s constantly wrecking you in every sense. At least the way I read into it — though I do tend to read into things a lot.

But basically, you should listen to Kate Voegele’ music. It’s fantastic, she’s fantastic.


‘Heart in Chains’
Artist: Kate Voegele
Released: 2011
Director: Grandson & Son


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