She Declined Med School to Play in a Band – What’s Next for Chloe and the Steel Strings?
“I know deep down that music is my calling; it’s the best and only option for my life. I have this urgent feeling that if I give Chloe and the Steel Strings my all, unbelievable things will happen.”
– Chloe Wagenhauser (lead singer, songwriter, rhythm guitar)
Unbelievable things are happening, many of which Chloe would have never expected after declining her medical school acceptance last November to pursue music.
Flash back to an earlier time – identical twins Chloe and Anna Wagenhauser (piano/backup-vocals) grew up in a musical family: their father quit his job when they were 10 to pursue an opera singing career, traveling to NYC from their hometown of Toledo, OH for lessons and auditions. The sisters followed suit in their early years, singing and playing music whenever they could. As the years passed and college came around, Chloe declared a biology pre-med major (as she had always been bright). Though she had done well in her other science classes, her college courses were particularly strenuous, and Chloe soon realized that she had declared the pre-med major more so to please her family and friends than to pursue her own purpose. Writing music became an outlet for Chloe to overcome the stresses of school and family pressures – especially when Chloe and Anna’s parents began a messy divorce in September 2016.
As her song collection expanded by the day, Chloe decided to bring some of her original music to an open mic night near the University of Toledo’s campus. Walking into the open mic, she saw a mysterious and dark-haired bassist named Connor Ward: she complimented him on his cover of the Beatles’ “Rocky Racoon,” and soon they were meeting daily to play music together. Connor had been in a successful band in high school and encouraged Chloe to record some of her original music; he also gave Chloe a unique perspective on life, music, and what it means to be happy.
With Connor’s encouragement, Chloe went into Firefly Studios in Toledo to record her original music that November. What began as a 4-song EP turned into 8 songs, as Chloe continued to write about her family’s difficult situation, the struggle of deciding a career path and deciphering her relationship with Connor. Chloe realized she wanted more for her songs than simply acoustic guitar, and eventually invited Connor and Anna to play bass and piano (the group that would later blossom into Chloe and the Steel Strings).
But picking between happiness and “stability” was just one challenge for Chloe to overcome. Chloe and Anna had been living with their parents throughout college, but with persistent fighting in the house and multiple police visits, they had little choice but to move out. With almost no money saved, and the help of their grandparents, the twins packed their belongings and found themselves taking on adult responsibilities that they weren’t prepared for – including figuring out how to fully fund their own album. The following year flew by, however, as the girls settled into apartment life, Chloe prepared to interview at medical schools in the Fall, and Chloe and Connor played a summer full of live shows as Chloe and the Steel Strings.
It was soon time for Chloe’s interview at the University of Toledo Medical Center in September 2017. The interview began with an introductory video about all Toledo has to offer: the video showed shots of the Toledo skyline, accompanied by an ironic number of shots about music and performance – people singing, playing guitar and recording music. She felt immediately out of place, acknowledging for the first time that music was her true calling and biggest dream. Chloe left the interview feeling uneasy about her future… She received her medical school acceptance letter a month later and declined the offer, to the dismay of many family and friends. However, Chloe is confident in her ability to achieve her goals, and knows she won’t regret the decision to chase her dreams.
Chloe and the Steel Strings is in its first full year of existence, and wonderful things are happening for everyone in the band personally and professionally. Chloe will graduate in December 2018 with her degree in biology, and then plans to pursue music full-time. The band is also raising money for a tour bus for Summer 2019, and they invite you to be part of their journey.
Their new single, “Like Mad,” describes the story of Chloe and Connor’s young relationship as Chloe struggled to hold back her feelings for Connor in a world where people are afraid of getting too close. It is available on all major music outlets on October 1, 2018.
“Chloe and the Steel Strings is on the rise…” – The Toledo Blade
“Though the band is young in more ways than one…that fact belies their comfortable stage presence and effortless energy.” – The Toledo City Paper
“… Chloe and the Steel Strings is the areas hottest band…” – Beinstrumental Foundation
Like Mad – Promo Video
Face the Day – Official Music Video
Live Performance – Covers of Blind Melon, The Black Keys, and Tom Petty
- Waterloo Arts Festival 2018 – Cleveland, OH
- The Ann Arbor Arts Festival 2018 – Ann Arbor, MI
- The Elbo Room – Chicago, IL
- The Applebutter Festival 2018 – Grand Rapids, OH
- The Crosby Arts Festival 2018 – Toledo, OH
- Gibsonberg Art and Wine Festival 2018 – Gibsonberg, OH
- Fremont Outdoor Festival 2018 – Fremont, OH
- The Levis Square Park Concert Series 2018 – Downtown Toledo, OH
- The 2nd Annual Chris Shutter’s Peace, Love and Harmony Benefit – Downtown Toledo, OH
For booking and media inquiries:
Anna Wagenhauser – Manager
Freespirit Music Management
For Sponsorship and Partnership inquiries: