For Chloe Wagenhauser and Connor Ward, it all started at a coffeehouse.
“Connor and I both went to the University of Toledo,” she said while recording a Live & Loud episode in the Stanton Audio Recording Studio inside the Michael and Sara Kuhlin Center. “And we met at an open mic night at a coffee shop near campus.”
A little prompting from Ward began the journey that became Chloe and the Steel Strings, a combination that includes two friends of Ward’s who played with him in a band in high school and Chloe’s twin sister, Anna.
“Connor kind of encouraged me to go record some of the original songs I was writing at the time,” she said. “And we’ve been together ever since, writing and recording and playing local gigs.”
The band has developed a unique sound which they describe on the website this way: “Acoustically driven, the band’s music has remnants of singer-songwriter mellowness, romantic Americana authenticity, and a dash of psychedelic headspace.”
In their latest release, “Burning Bright” (available on Spotify and Apple Music), the band explores a number of themes. This includes one personal to Chloe Wagenhauser in “Right as Rain” for which she wrote the verses and Ward wrote the choruses.
“It’s kind of about the inner battle I’ve had trying to figure out not only what I want to do with my life, but kind of accepting that music is my whole life, it is what I want to do as my career every day,” she said. “It’s what I love.”
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. After graduating from UT with a degree in biology and chemistry, she turned down an offer to attend the university’s medical school to continue to follow her passion.
“Sometimes it’s hard to face the societal pressure of feeling like you have to go out and do the same things that everybody does every day,” she said.
Chloe Wagenhauser and Connor Ward’s three-song set can be seen on the BG Falcon Media YouTube channel and the songs will be part of future Live & Loud shows on WBGU-FM and Falcon Radio.