Kate Vogel is a singer and songwriter that started her career at a young age. She started writing in the 4th grade but couldn’t seem to get the right words together. In 2009 her friend, Darcy, tragically committed suicide and to cope with the pain, she tried writing again. “The horrific event just unlocked pandora’s box inside me.” When she was 15 she decided to pursue music because she honestly loved to sing and write. She then got a chance to move to Nashville and work with award-winning artists and writers there.
It seemed promising. “I say it so much that my friends make fun of me, but Nashville truly is the greatest city on earth. I love New York and Los Angeles and many other cities for their diversity and culture and opportunities, but Nashville has the highest number of musicians per capita, and it is so freakin cool. You just walk into a grocery store and walk past songwriter of the year, pull up next to country music stars at the gas station, see them at the bars, pass them on the streets, meet them at parties, I used to ride up and down the elevator in my apartment building with award-winning musicians just chillin. There is nothing like this city in the world. You have the quiet darkness of the country, and the Broadway city lights, you have the bonfires and the lake nights and the midnight stars above the fields of Leipers Fork. A community of artists and creatives just like you. I’ve never felt more understood or that I belonged anywhere more. A bunch of talented people writing stories about their feelings.”
Her first song written there was a song titled ‘Skeletons Don’t Lie’. The song was about her highschool boyfriend who asked another girl to Homecoming in Ohio while she was in Nashville recording her first demo. “It’s obviously very funny to me now, but I’m still proud of my songwriting as a 15-year-old. ” The song is available for listening to her Reverbnation account. As her career started to take off, she had all of her dreams right in front of her and a label to back them.
Shortly after, she started to noticed things changing. She says that people around her started to change who she was and who she wanted to be, forcing her to do things she did not want to including sexual assault. She was still a teen. The situation caused her to stopped singing for the next nine years. “I think certain people are scared shitless I will expose them. Good. I hope they’re scared. I hope they live with that fear every day of their life. That is an instant, I will end their reputation. Maybe I will speak up about them one day, maybe I won’t.” She cites that the #MeToo movement changed everything for her. “Now people know, it really happens. A lot actually. To be honest though, when you say the name of someone who’s done something to you, there will always be someone who wants to hear “their side of the story.” Every predator usually has a family that loves them and refuses to believe it. they’re often married with children. And in my experience, my predators were Christian. So they have the added cloak of religious excuses, “he could NEVER! He’s a Christian!” We see it over and over again with how women are scrutinized and accused of lying and wanting “attention.” Lmao, please. To that I say, be assaulted, then come back to me.
“Don’t let anyone tell you who to be or change you into something you don’t want to be.”
Deal with the repercussions of years of self-blame and self-doubt, then come back to me. Face your darkest fears of being treated as less than human, as an object, face recurring nightmares and paralyzing anxiety, sleep with a knife beside your bed because you are terrified you will wake up to someone on top of you and inside you again, end up in a hospital bed, then come back to me. Until then, no one wants to hear your ignorant opinions.
Victims don’t exist to help hold your hand through their trauma. You should be supporting us, not demanding details like you’re Sherlock Holmes. Sorry if that’s harsh but people can be really clueless when it comes to talking about assault, people have asked me to graphically describe like I’m on a crime show or something. “So like how exactly did he assault you? Did he stick his fingers In your vagina?” is an actual question I’ve been asked. Many people don’t understand that asking a disgusting question like that can cause us to have physical reactions like feeling nauseous, ruining our day, giving us nightmares, running to throw up. Strangers who don’t know me, don’t get to ask those questions. Strangers are not a jury so I don’t care if they believe me. The people who’ve been through it, *know* I’m telling the truth. And those are the only people who matter to me. I hope to pass on to them the same key that I used to escape the dark dungeon of keeping someone else’s heinous secret. It’s not our secret to keep.
I am empowered by other friends in the industry who are pursuing charges against their predators. I am empowered by friends who are rising to the surface despite everything. I am empowered by friends creating art to channel their pain and healing. Everyone has different paths. For me at this point, I want to be so successful that no one will ever know names. And I’ll be honest, I don’t mean to be rude but it’s the truth = a lot of people are stupid. Just plain stupid. You could show them a video of blatant sexual assault and some people will still find a way to blame the victim. I don’t have the energy. I’m not going to fight stupid people. Let them fight themselves to death. I’m more concerned with letting people know ~it happens~. It really happens outside of SVU and the movies and your favorite crime shows.
“Face your darkest fears of being treated as less than human, as an object, face recurring nightmares and paralyzing anxiety, sleep with a knife beside your bed because you are terrified you will wake up to someone on top of you and inside you again, end up in a hospital bed, then come back to me “
It happens in real life, it happens to your friends, your family, your classmates. Another reason why many people don’t seek justice in court, besides the fact that 99% of predators roam free, is it worth your mental health being viciously and methodically attacked by lawyers set out to win cases? Many of your own friends and family will doubt you. Some people are just idiots and will never understand how life-altering assault can be. It will steal your productivity, steal your time, steal your money, steal years of your life trying to recover, even steal the happiness from you in random moments even after you do recover.
Just recently I had to leave a concert of my favorite artist that I was seeing for the first time ever because I was overwhelmed with the memory of a sexual assault. That is probably the angriest I’ve ever been in my entire life, that something that happened a decade before ruined what was supposed to be one of the best nights of my life. Everyone is different, but for me personally, I am trying to show that healing and moving on with your life is possible without justice, since 99% of victims will never receive justice. Predators go on to live happy lives, so we should fucking too.
Over the next nine years, she continued to struggle with the things that occurred. She eventually developed PTSD. Because it never was treated she became overwhelmed. In 2018, she tried to commit suicide. “A culmination of a lifetime. I just snapped. I was overwhelmed with all of the evil in the world. It was too much to handle. This is a common symptom of untreated PTSD. I also just felt like I would never be someone I’m proud of.
After this horrific moment in her life, she finally decided to seek help. “I wish I could say all the symptoms are gone, but trauma can take a long time to reverse course and undo, so I still experience symptoms now and then but after starting trauma therapy, which has helped a lot, my symptoms are down from 99% to about 5%. There is a treatment called EMDR that works really well for me, and other people, including activist/actress Jameela Jamil and singer/songwriter Jordan Pruitt, who were both violated and experienced similar situations as well. I’d just encourage anyone who is struggling to tell a loved one and maybe do research online because research helped me feel less crazy and alone. I’m a textbook case and fit my PTSD diagnoses very well, but until you know what’s going on, you just think something is wrong with you. Learning more about what was happening to me was so important. Knowledge is power”
Do you think the music industry has gotten better with how they deal with young artists? “I think young artists can have a little more power now in that the dynamics have shifted with social media. I watch girls circumvent the (completely broken) justice system and warn other girls about criminals on Twitter. I watch young girls have 10K followers on Instagram and have an army of people ready to defend them. That is new. Of course, the patriarchy is still very much in place. And cancel culture can be very dangerous and harmful to growth and learning. We should all be canceled for multiple things we’ve done over our lifetimes honestly. I need to get better at giving myself and others grace because we’re all human and all we can try to do is grow and improve.” But overall yes, I think younger people have more power now because of social media. Also, record labels seem to be generally waiting until artists are over 18 so they can avoid these situations. But creepy men are RAMPANT, I’ll say that. Even post-Me Too, many men are still trying to use their power in the industry to get away with assaulting women and they do. I heard of an incident with my singer friend just two weeks ago. They get away with it because everyone is connected and it makes you look “difficult to work with” or “a liar” if you expose them, creating enemies for yourself when you did nothing wrong. Also if he grabs your ass, what proof is there? What are you going to do, go to the police station and say “he kept grabbing my ass”, and then the dude will deny it? And if you punch him in the face, then YOU can get charged with assault. So what does that accomplish besides making an enemy? Just trying to be real here. Things are still bad, and I’ll be talking about it every day until I die because I believe the future is worth fighting for.“
“I hope to pass on to them the same key that I used to escape the dark dungeon of keeping someone else’s heinous secret. It’s not our secret to keep. ”
What do you think can or should be done in order to prevent what happened to you from happening again? “Education, raising awareness, and holding predators accountable are probably good solutions.. But unfortunately, it is a power game more than anything. Whoever holds the most power, gets away with the most stuff.”
Do you have any advice for young artists in your shoes 10 years ago right now that is afraid to speak? “You are in control. Don’t let anyone tell you who to be or change you into something you don’t want to be.”
How did the #MeToo movement help you with your recovery? “In the same way that listening to songs helps validate your feelings, seeing other people write out what you feel in your head, but are too scared to face, can help you process and validate your feelings”
How did it feel getting back in the studio for the first time? “Oh god. I was so scared. It took me almost 10 years really. It took a lot of attempts. To this day, a lot of male producers still have been first and foremost interested in dating me instead of actually treating me like an artist and valuing my songs, which has led to many false starts just when I thought I was going to put out a song again. I’ve found some great musician friends that believe in me as a writer and singer, so I owe A LOT to them treating me with respect to help me start making music again“.
Kate released her first single “Reasons To Stay’ and impacted thousands with her story. “Someone messaged me today that Reasons to Stay saved their life a few weeks ago, and I know exactly what they mean because I was in their shoes once, and someone’s art by the name of Vivek Shraya did that for me. His video made me feel understood. So to hear that my song is saving people’s lives, I’ve heard that someone was going to kill themselves but heard my song and decided to get treatment at the hospital instead, I have no words. Truly speechless. I am honored beyond belief and finally feel like I’ve become someone I’m proud of. I don’t care how many records I sell or if I’m broke as shit for the rest of my life if someone is profoundly changed by my lyrics, that makes everything worth it.
You have released three singles so far, which one was the hardest to record and why? “The hardest song to record is actually coming out on December 29, it’s called “The Cycle.” When I recorded it, it knocked me on my ass for 4 days. I couldn’t get out of bed or leave my apartment for 4 days. Called out of work. I physically could not get up. This is the most painful song that I’ve ever written, but it might be one of the most important. It is about how trauma is cyclical, passed down from generation to generation. So that song is coming, and I hope it touches a lot of people who deal with generational trauma.”
What can we expect from you in 2020 music-wise? ie. Tours, Music Videos, etc. ? “In 2020, I’m just gonna keep releasing music and songs that I’ve written. I’ll be playing live shows, making some music videos, writing every day, and working on a debut record. I moved to Nashville in 2010 to do this, and so it feels like I am 10 years late, but as my wise friend told me “Nope you’re not late. You’re right on time”
It is never too late to speak your truth, by doing so you take your power back. I am so happy that as a journalist, I am able to shine a light on stories like these and watch women such as Kate Vogel come out on top with music that touches millions of souls and not only tell her story but ignite the fire for others to also tell there’s.
From Kate Vogel To Her Fans & Supporters
“I would like to say a personal thank you so much to my friends who have supported me from starting to sing again on my Snapchat stories a year ago, which moved to Instagram Stories, and now to Youtube, Spotify, Apple. I’m so happy to be sharing the songs I’ve kept to myself for too long. And for people like you who are interested in sharing my story as well. Thank you so much!!!”
You can view the article in Issue #40 here.
You can also get her latest track, ‘The Cycle ‘ here.