At just 21 years old, Madison Olds has already accomplished a lot, including a 2019 Western Canadian Music Awards nomination for Pop Artist of the Year. Bavi Bas photo.

Kamloops songwriter is ready to shine at the South Cariboo Summer Festival

Madison Olds will perform at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre on August 10

Madison Olds is a singer and songwriter born and raised in Kamloops, but nowadays she’s receiving critical acclaim nationwide. This summer, Olds will return to B.C. where she is looking forward to her first performance at the South Cariboo Summer Festival on Aug. 10.

“I haven’t really done any Western Canadian tours,” she said, “So this is kind of like my debut performance up that way.”

This will be her second time performing in the area, after making an appearance at the Interlakes earlier this summer as part of the Music at the Lakes concert series.

At just 21 years old, Olds has accomplished a lot and has garnered industry recognition, too. She credits her success to the incredible support of her parents growing up. They were never forceful, she recalls, but instead guided her through a shared background in music and entertainment.

Olds always danced and did musical theatre, but as a young teen, she decided to hang up her dancing shoes and pursue music. She got her first guitar at the age of 13 and her father began giving her lessons.

“Once I picked up the guitar I never really wanted to put it down.”

By 14, she had written her first song. She began working alongside her father, using his education in opera and jazz composition to help get started in her music career.

Read more: ‘Music at the Lakes’ kicks off summer of song

Her family even performs together, with her mother singing, her brother on the drums, and her father on bass guitar.

“We’re a whole family band now,” she said, joking that they call themselves, “Madison Olds and the Even Olders.”

Last week, Olds finished recording her last of four new songs set for release in 2020.

“They aren’t like anything that anybody’s heard from me before,” she said of the new music.

Olds plans to release those songs as singles, “dropping them like Easter eggs” rather than releasing an EP.

Fans can expect to hear some of that new music soon, within the next six months even, as the first single is set to drop this fall or at the latest, by January of next year.

This spring and summer, Olds has been working in Vancouver alongside Ryan Worsley at Echoplant Recording Studios.

Working in and representing her home province is very important to her, so Olds often chooses to support British Columbia photographers, producers, and promoters: “I still am a B.C. artist and I’m so proud to come from B.C.”

Before her band, Bees and the Bare Bones, began seeing some success, Olds had plans to study journalism or sciences at Thompson Rivers University. She decided to let school wait for another time.

Since then, she has continued writing all her own music and has made it a goal to write within more genres so that other artists can pick up her songs as well.

“It’s a bit exciting and not so exciting when an artist likes your song,” she explained, “Because then it’s on hold to be cut, and you could wait around for years and it could never get cut.”

The process is still fun, she said, but she does currently has a few songs “on hold”.

At the beginning of her career, Olds wrote and recorded a song for the B.C. Winter Games called “Moments in the Mountains”. She was still a teenager at the time and recalls feeling very nervous about the amount of pressure involved in the process.

“I had about a year to write it and I kept struggling with all of the criteria they were sending me.”

After some reflection, she communicated that her generation didn’t want a message “shoved down their throats”, so she set off on an early morning hike up the mountain with a good friend in hopes of gaining some perspective.

While the two young women were both experiencing personal challenges, they slowed time together to watch the sunrise.

“It was a very cathartic experience to watch the light rise and wash away the darkness. That’s kind of where the song came from, that experience. It ended up being such a cool moment in the mountains. Not only is it a great representation of what it was like to grow up in B.C. but it was a great opportunity to have the kids feel that experience, too, because that’s exactly what the B.C. Winter Games is, it’s an amazing opportunity for kids to shine in the mountains.”

Related: Countdown to BC Winter Games begins

Olds was also nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award this year in the Pop Artist of the Year category.

“I’m up against some pretty amazing ladies, I know a handful of them, so I’m not getting my hopes up, but it’s definitely an honour to be nominated amongst them.”

Her musical style is inspired by writers like Ed Sheeran and Julia Michaels, whose clever “tongue-in-cheek” lyrics she adores. Growing up, Olds also recalls being heavily influenced by artists like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. She grew up dancing and was captivated by Jackson’s showmanship, as well as his sound.

“I always thought that it was genius that he could break so many barriers, and so I always try to remember that when I put out an album or the next four singles or whatever it is I’m working on.”

As for Winehouse, it was her lyrics, in particular, that really impacted Olds as a songwriter.

“As an artist, I feel like [Amy] really embodied the element of emotion and soul. She didn’t do it because she wanted to be a superstar, she did it because she had to and that’s a good reminder to have. I do it because I have to, because I need to. I need to share. I’ve got a voice and I need to use it for as many things as I can.”

On August 10, Olds will perform at the South Cariboo Rec Centre, where visitors can expect music and even jokes.

“I’ve been told that I have a bit of a stand-up comedy-esque show,” Olds explained. Her father will perform alongside her at the Summer Festival this weekend.

“We’re always happy to be up there [on stage], and whether we have one person, two people, a hundred people, or five thousand people, it doesn’t matter. We always put on the same show and we always enjoy it.”

“One of the main reasons that I chased the commercial side of music was, I could have stuck with Indie and I would have paid my bills with it, but I think it’s really cool to be somebody and then use that for something good.”

Olds is happy to have built an audience who she hopes to influence positively. She is passionate about her activism and is involved with a variety of altruistic endeavours across the province.

“Anything that I can give back to support people, that’s the first thing I’ll do,” she said.

On Saturday, guests will get to hear music from Olds’ debut album, Blue, which was released on Feb. 22, 2019. Olds will perform in 100 Mile House from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and again from 5 to 6 p.m.

“We will play the best damn show we’ve ever played,” she promised.

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