Rising Star: Kate Voegele

Kate Voegele may look a little familiar.

This season, the pretty Ohio lass with the pin-straight dark brown hair, those shy, flickering eyes, and her perfectly plumped lips joined the cast of “One Tree Hill” in a multi-episode arc as singer-songwriter Mia.

At first, fans of the show saw her as the shy, piano-playing backing member of Jason’s (Kevin Federline) band. As his ego grew, however, and her talent was observed by Peyton (Hilarie Burton), Jason was dropped and Mia was dragged out of her shell, eventually becoming a super successful music star in the fictional “One Tree Hill” world.

Now, this AccessHollywood.com Rising Star is poised to do the same thing in real life.

Voegele is joining the ranks of an emerging scene of young, solo, American female singers like Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat, who play their own instruments and write melodic songs full of emotion and depth.

She may only be 20 now, but Voegele is no newcomer to the scene.

Before she’d even signed a record deal, some of the demos she recorded with her father helped net her a slot opening for John Mayer and Counting Crows in 2003.

In addition to a tour place, Voegele’s songs also won awards. Before it was even performed on “One Tree Hill,” her cut “I Won’t Disagree” took first place at the New York Songwriters’ Circle in 2006. That same year, another track – “Only Fooling Myself,” won the USA Songwriting Contest.

The tour slots, demos and accolades had the majors calling, but Voegele signed on the dotted line with MySpace Records, distributed by Interscope.

“When I walked into MySpace, I really didn’t know what to expect because the label was just starting out,” Voegele said. “But the atmosphere was really cool and so different from the other labels I’d been to, a lot of which were cold and intimidating. MySpace wasn’t like that at all.”

There she met everyone’s friend, Tom, who she said was “really easy to talk to.”

The new-at-the-time label gave her “artistic freedom” and promised not to make her music “anything it wasn’t,” Voegele said of the reasons she landed with the imprint.

In late January, her debut album, “Don’t Look Away,” hit store shelves and people began responding to her personal tunes about life and loving people who aren’t what they seem to be.

“It’s my personal goal to continue the standard set by those before me,” Voegele said of her songwriting. “No matter how a song develops, my main goal is to reach people, because there were so many musicians who spoke to me, and still do, to help me to deal with situations. It’s so easy nowadays with all the technology for people to fake it. For me, it’s just so important that the true musical talent and passion for the songs be there.”

In addition to the acting slot on “One Tree Hill,” where she performs her own music, Voegele’s songs have found homes in episodes of “Ghost Whisperer” and “The Hills.”

This summer, her profile is only set to grow as she crosses the country opening the Verizon VIP Tour featuring Natasha Bedingfield and The Veronicas.

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