Five Questions With Darlene Olson

Edmonton, AB-based country artist Darlene Olson recently released her new single, “Living It Up”.

Check out the song below and find out more about Darlene in our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Darlene Olson.  I was born and raised in Alberta and call Edmonton home. I am one of seven children, and have a twin brother… I grew up around music all of my life, singing and playing for family and friends.  I began singing at an early age… My Mom would always record my brothers and sisters and I, singing up a storm… We always had music playing in the house, so it was very natural for me to then just pick up a guitar and learn to play.  I am a self-taught rhythm guitar player and write all of my recorded songs.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My latest album, “Busy Lives,” is my third album…I have two other albums, “Stay Up & Fight” and “The Hunger Years.” My new single, “Living it Up,” is a song that I’m proud to have on this album. It’s a song that represents freedom, and the “not looking back,” “the taking charge”, and “the standing up” for yourself….

It’s interesting, how sometimes in life, we feel left out and out of control, and have nothing going our way.  Well, I’ve been there and I know a little bit about feeling that way, so the idea for, “Living it Up,” came to me very naturally and very quickly.

I like to write songs that say something or make you feel something. All of my music comes from experiences happening around me, things that I hear, and sometimes things that I don’t want to hear. Writing music for me is a way to understand and appreciate the human condition. We all have challenges in life, and it’s nice to know that we’re never alone in these experiences, someone somewhere has gone through a similar thing. I sometimes get people coming to my shows and telling me that a certain song I’ve sang is exactly what happened in their lives. I had this one guy this one time, tell me that my song,” Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” made him cry and that it touched his heart because it was something that had happened in his life.

And then there are songs that I write that I leave for others to figure out.  Sometimes, people have their own interpretation of songs and can relate to what I’ve written, while sometimes others have a completely different take on the song.

Songs can be very objective, and or subjective depending on the person’s interpretation. It’s always about who’s listening, and what they are hearing….

The idea for a song can come from the strangest places. I once wrote a song from seeing 3 letters on a license plate. “UBU.” This song, off the latest album, “Busy Lives,” came to me because of those three letters.  Reading the license plate as letters didn’t make sense to me, But, once I read the letters from that plate, as words, I was able to write the song.  It’s sometimes amazing where an idea for a song can come from. I guess that’s just life telling a story…

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

My independent label, DogGone Music and my management, are currently working on a new tour, I’m looking forward to getting back out on the road, and sharing this new music.  My last two projects were recorded in Toronto, so I really love coming back to Toronto. I’m hoping that this tour will bring me back for a visit. Toronto is like my second home, and I really have a great time in the city…

My stage show is a combination of songs and story. I like to talk and to tell people how and why the songs came to be. For me, the songs I write tell a little about my own experiences, and me experiencing someone else’s life.  I’m like a fly on the wall, listening and learning from watching.

My live show is a mixture of energetic, hard-hitting tempos that gets you out of your seat, to soft heartfelt ballads.  I have a seven-piece band that travels with me, and each night these guys and gals play their hearts out.  I’ve been playing shows for quite some time, and enjoy playing for the audiences each night. People seem to enjoy the music that I bring to my shows.  I find it awkward to say these are my shows, when in fact; I couldn’t do the shows without the fantastic musicianship of the band that I work with each night. I’m very aware that I couldn’t do this alone, and recognize the talented musicians that support each show. I’m blessed to be working with such gifted and talented musicians, and never forget their contributions…

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

A few years ago, I wrote a song called, “Homeless,” with my brother, Teddy.  This song hits home for me because my brother lived on the streets himself. The song is about the homeless world that the average person, doesn’t get to see, the banding together, the supporting each other, the sharing of food and drink… we just see what we want to see, we don’t see the comradery of the homeless, the honor among the homeless.  This is a world that we never see, yet we judge based on limited knowledge of the homeless. We see poverty, maybe laziness, maybe lack of motivation, but we really don’t see the community that exists in the homeless condition.  We see only what we want to see.  This song, “Homeless,” really resonates with me, and I’ve committed all of my proceeds from this song to support the efforts to end homelessness in Canada and around the world.  We are a rich nation, supported by strong economies, yet someone somewhere tonight will not have a blanket to cover themselves with, as they lay on the streets in one of the most viable countries in the world.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/artists?

I really enjoy the music of Bryan Adams and other Canadian artists, (Alana Morrissette, Sarah McLaughlin, and Gordon Lightfoot, to name a few.  I will always support fellow Canadians and those hard-working songwriters in the business.

I’m very fortunate to be able to write my own music and know the challenges of writing. So, when I see other artists who are successful and have written their own music, I’m proud and optimistic about the future. The music business is not easy, there are often things that are out of your control, but the one thing that is within a songwriter’s control is the ability to write music. You never know what song or message will resonate with the listener. Because I’m a songwriter, I always lean towards the hard-working songwriter/singer.  It’s not easy trying to write songs that you hope people will understand.  You never know what will happen when you write a song or what it will do, or what impact it will have. It’s always going to be a crapshoot because you just never know… At the end of the day, it’s about writing a good song.

That’s the beauty of it all… You just have to write it and watch what happens… hopefully, the listeners will come….

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to share a little bit of me with the rest of Canada, and want to thank Canadian Beats for the opportunity to share my music. I look forward to meeting everyone out there on the road…

If you’re looking for my music, please check out the new single and the new ring tone on iTunes, Spotify or Apple Music.  You can also go to my web site for tour details, and for more information about me.

I hope to meet with you out on the road but until then.

Let’s enjoy life, and “Live it Up”

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