Tyler Hilton (USA) and Kate Voegele (USA) will be performing together live in concert for the first time ever in Australia. After meeting on the set of US hit TV show One Tree Hill where they played characters Chris Keller and Mia Catalano, both based on their real lives as musicians, the two have been touring around the world together performing to sell-out crowds. This duo is the perfect throw back to your teenage youth to relive the soundtrack to all your past loves.
Kate Voegele began her music career at only 16 years old, landing support slots with Counting Crows and John Mayer off the back of her first EP The Other Side. Shortly after she was discovered and signed to MySpace Records by MySpace founder himself Tom Anderson. After landing what she thought was a 2-episode role, it turned into a 4-season stint on One Tree Hill where she performed her songs to millions of viewers each week. Life after One Tree Hill has been nonstop touring and writing. KATE VOEGELE’s fourth Album Canyonlands was released in October last year. Kate spoke to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles about the tour.
It’s hard to believe this time next week you’ll be here in Australia.
I know, it’s so wild. It’s seriously crazy. I can’t believe it. I’m so excited. I can’t wait. For the fans it’s going to be super fun.
I guess for a lot of people, I guess musically, anyway, they are new to the idea of Tyler and yourself touring together. How did the whole partnership come about?
We basically started touring together in the UK two years ago and, we decided to do that, after years of being friends. We have a lot of the same fans. We also have some different fans and we thought, it would be cool to see how people respond if we toured together. Since our first tour in 2015 we’ve been doing this a lot and people have really been loving it.
It’s been super cool to kind of take what we do individually and combine it and play our shows in a way where we’re both on stage most of the time. Playing on each other’s songs, creating harmonies, showing off the sound then sort of playing off of each other. Having a very cool hang out vibe and I think it really makes for a unique experience for fans that is really fun. You know, to bring something different and so, yeah, I’m really excited that we’re doing this together in Australia because we both have a ton of fans down under, which I didn’t realise how many there were. I’m so excited that the reception has been so amazing. I think it’s going to be a super fun way to kick off the month.
Did you ever think that yourself and Tyler touring together would come about meeting on a set of a TV show? Did you ever think, in your wildest dreams, that that would ever happen?
No! I honestly had no idea that any of this would come out of that. When I got the job on One Tree Hill, it was only supposed to be for an episode or two which ended up turning into four seasons of me being on the show and playing tons of music. Tyler was on different seasons of the show than I was so, we never actually worked together on the show. I think that’s part of what makes this tour really unique and it’s almost like a bonus season because we’re obviously being ourselves and not playing our characters. It’s two people who they didn’t necessarily get to see to interact on the show. It’s really unique and super cool that both of us participating on One Tree Hill led to this really cool musical collaboration.
What were those early jam sessions like where you and Tyler were just sitting in a room jamming on an acoustic or piano or whatever. Was it at that point where you thought it would be a really cool idea to play some shows together?
Yeah, we both spent time in Los Angeles so, yeah, we literally got together and just kind of tried stuff out and it was so great from the get go. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out the vibe with a group of people on stage but it was so effortless. That first tour that we did together, in the UK, we hardly had any time to prepare and it ended up just falling together so easily on stage that both of us felt like, wow, this is interesting enough to keep doing it. We have been very happy with every tour and the fans also really seems to love that we were playing together on tour. It’s awesome when we’re seeing this kind of work out that way where it’s easy for the people on stage and the people in the audience can feel that. I really believe that. It’s really cool that we have that.
With the shows, do you play Tyler’s songs and he plays your songs. Do you mix it up and confuse people or are you just both playing together for the whole show? I’m assuming there’s probably a couple of surprises in there with some covers and things like that?
Yeah, pretty much! We try to mix it up so that our fans get to hear our individual songs but it’s nice because both of us are guitar players, we both sing harmonies so, it’s cool to be able to show off the sound and play and sing on each other’s songs. The show is integrated, and we play some cover songs, jamming on some together and singing on each other’s tunes but it makes sense. It’s really fun that way because it keeps it from feeling like a recital where, it’s okay, here’s Kate’s songs and now, Tyler comes on.
When we did a few of our first shows like that we thought this could be a lot more interesting if we made it more interactive and create that hang out vibe where we’re up here playing off of each other and so, that’s really what is super unique about it. I think it’s what makes it extra fun for the fans in the audience.
Do you find it also sometimes frustrating as well that some fans just can’t separate you from the TV show? I guess that might be like that for a lot of actors but, do you find that you get that still?
Yeah, I can understand why some people might find that frustrating if they really felt like they were two separate entities. For me I feel like the same person. I was playing a character on One Tree Hill but there was so many things about my character, Mia, that I can relate to personally. A lot of her experience and the way I kind of embodied her was based on things I wanted to do when I was younger and so, for me it doesn’t bother me at all. I think I’m happy to see that five years after the show has finished, so many people are still more excited than ever to come share my music and to hear my new songs that were never on the TV show. That’s all that matters to me.
That show was a huge part of what led me to an amazing fan base who get my music so, I am so grateful for it and I still love playing those songs from the show because they are so real for me. So for me, it’s kind of all one and the same, which I think is really nice to feel like all of that can kind of work together.
So what is your passion? Is it music? Is it acting? Is it painting, or something else? Just seems like you can turn your hand to just about anything and do it brilliantly well.
Well thank you! I think what my passion is storytelling. That’s what I’ve discovered through all of this. There’s so many ways to be a story teller so, I love being creative. I love making things and for me, writing songs and writing music was the first way that I started doing that when I was young. Then, I was an artist doing an arts major. I love to paint. I love to draw and design. I stepped into this acting role and learned that acting is very much storytelling. Just like music and art, so I think that I’m passionate about being a storyteller and creating something that people can relate to no matter what medium I use to create that. It’s really been cool to be able to see it from a few different perspectives.
I notice both yourself and Tyler, have got four albums out. Is it kind of like a bit of a head to head competition? Like, I’ve got one out. No, I’ve caught up?
That’s funny! It is funny how we haven’t really coordinated it like that. It’s like “Oh so when are you releasing an album? Oh, okay, I guess we both release one and then tour”. We really haven’t done anything like that but what’s awesome about it is that we are both very much focused on our individual careers, but it seems to work. Who knows, if we keep doing that maybe someday we might have a little bit more of a system to it. It’s definitely unique! We are both in almost the same exact spot in our career and I think that’s what makes this partnership really cool because we are a guy and girl version of each other, career wise, in a lot of ways.
Have you thought much about album number five and what you might do with it?
Yeah, definitely! I have been working here in LA the last few months on my next project and I am really excited about it. There’s still a lot of work to be done but I’ll definitely be releasing it next year and we’ll probably be releasing some new material very soon. I feel like I have spent ten years doing this. The next project is really the first time that I’m going to feel like I can be one hundred percent real as myself now, if that makes any sense. When you get older you learn what it means to be vulnerable and it needs to be honest, as an artist and I feel like I’m really excited to share that next project. People will recognise a lot of the same song writing voice and everything but I’m excited for it to be a little more edgy and a little bit more raw. I can’t wait to share more soon.
Do you get much time to take in the sites when you come down to Australia? Or is it all airports hotels, sound check, sleep, get up and repeat the same routine again?
Yeah, it is a lot of that. The reason that it’s so busy is because these shows sold out so fast and we had to add more. So, I’m totalling grateful for that but it’s crazy how my schedule is. I was looking at all my flights today and in States a lot of the time we would drive between cities but you can’t really do that in Australia. It’s going to be a lot of planes and a lot of checked baggage and stuff.
The good news is I think we have maybe one or two nights off where we’ll get to do something in one or two of the cities we’re touring. I will have to crowd source some ideas from fans about what to see and I’m going to have to come back because there’s so much I want to see and do. I know I’m not going to be able to see it all on this trip but I’m glad that we at least get a glimpse because it sounds like an amazing place.
Well you’re going to have to at least get a photo for Instagram of you holding a Koala or something like that.
I’m afraid it sounds like a typical American saying that, but I’m glad you just gave me permission to say that! I totally want that picture!
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Tyler Hilton and Kate Voegele on the following dates…