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Both David Nudo And Tony Olsen Are Nominated For International Singer Songwriter Association (ISSA)

Dave Nudo Interviews Tony Olsen on season 1, episode 2 of Dave Nudo’s Jam Session

Weiser native Tony Olson has once again been nominated for US Male Songwriter of the Year in the International Singer Songwriter Association’s (ISSA) annual awards scheduled for August 24th in Atlanta,GA. Olson won Songwriter of the Year in 2021 and has been a judge for the awards during the last two years. A win this year would make Olson the first person to ever win the award twice.

Tony started writing music in 1976 at age 18. A few years later, while living in Salem, Oregon, Olson met Marv Ross, the co founder and lead guitar player for the rock band Quarterflash at a private party. Ross asked Olson to play a few original songs and was impressed enough with Olson’s music that he suggested Tony get some demos recorded and pitched to some major publishers. Unfortunately, Olson could not afford the recording costs at that time. He eventually stepped away from songwriting in 1982 to concentrate on his burgeoning banking career.

Through the years, he would occasionally write a poem or parody song which would gain a bit of notoriety. However, he never took up songwriting again in earnest until thirty-eight years later.

In 2007, Olson suffered a traumatic brain injury which required extensive surgery. That brush with death brought home the realization of how quickly life can change, sparking a new sense of urgency regarding his dreams and bucket list. He finally took that “dream fishing trip” to Alaska, did a shark cage dive off the coast of Hawaii, wrote a best-selling book, and eventually . . . decided to get back into songwriting. “Since the surgery, I really haven’t had any truly bad days,” said Olson. “If I wake up in the morning . . . it’s a good day. I shifted into overdrive a few years back and have not let off the gas since. There are so many things I want to accomplish.”

The stars lined up

At the age of 60, Olson made his first trip to Nashville. Making a name as a songwriter is not easy. There are thousands of songwriters in Nashville alone. Being sixty years-old and without any real songwriting resume’, few people gave him much chance of success. He often received the standard patronizing comments like “Isn’t that sweet that you are trying to write music and follow your dreams at your age”. But Olson was not deterred. The stars had already started lining up . . . like it was meant to be. A friend of Olson’s, who worked for Blake Shelton, offered to help find the connections to get some demos recorded in Nashville. That led to a call from Shelton’s band leader offering the entire band for Olson’s recording sessions. At the same time, Olson met former Star Search winner, Dave Demay, owner and producer at Song City Studios.

Demay offered to produce Tony’s music and provide the studio. Demay was able to get three former Finalists from the hit show “The Voice” to do the vocals for the demos. “One minute I’m sitting in Idaho trying pencil out some songs . . . the next minute I am in a recording studio in Nashville with Blake Shelton’s band, stars from “The Voice”, and a former Star Search Winner who is producing my music”, Olson lamented, “It was a bit surreal”. Olson was also able to spend some time with several well-known hit songwriters who provided advice and support.

When the first batch of five demos were done, Olson entered them in several songwriting contests worldwide to see what the “experts” would think of them, and to get feedback on how he could improve his songwriting. He has continued to test his music via various competitions ever since. The results speak for themselves. In four years, Olson has won Five American Track Music Awards, four Global Music Awards, two World Songwriting Awards, and was named the 2021 Male Songwriter of the Year by the International Singer Songwriters Association. He is a nine-time Finalist in the prestigious UK Songwriting Contest, which he won last year. He has also been a Finalist in the Great American Song Contest. In 2021, he was nominated for The

International Songwriting Awards “Rising Star Award”, and a finalist along with co-writer Art Michel, for International Songwriting Team of the Year. Last year, he was runner-up for “International Singer Songwriter of the Year” in that same competition. Olson has won awards in seven different music categories, a testament to his versatility. “My greatest gift is my inability to sing or play at a professional level”, Olson jokes. “It’s made me a better songwriter because I am not writing songs for myself. As such, I can write comfortably in virtually any genre, male or female. It gives me a greater sense of compositional freedom.”

Asked about the success of his music in international competitions, Olson is quick to point out that being successful in competitions does not necessarily equate to music that is commercially viable. “Music contest judges really like my music because it tells a complete story and is well performed and produced”, Olson states, “But most of my songs are too long to get consistent airplay on mainstream radio stations, so I will end up having fewer major cuts. But I do get a ton of plays on Indie stations worldwide.”

Olson created the “Tony Olson Music Project”, aka TOMP, as a vehicle to get his music out to a global audience. Using some of the top musicians and vocalists in Nashville, Olson has been able to create a diverse array of world-class music. And a growing number of artists are recording his songs. The most recent offering is a song called “Voices” which was rewritten and rearranged in collaboration with British recording artist Ewelina Borkowska and released in late August. That song has been nominated for International Female Single of the Year in the ISSA

Awards. Other artists who have recently recorded his songs include Dusty Leigh, Rylee Nicholson, Dave Nudo, and Norwegian country artist Daniel Borge. Olson has also become a valuable resource for guidance among numerous up and coming songwriters and artists.

Despite the success of his music, Olson takes it all in stride. “I’m just having fun. That’s what it’s all about. I beat the odds and proved that you are never too old to follow your dreams”, Olson says with a sly grin. “I just wish I had started sooner . . . we might have been doing this interview on my yacht. Til then, grab an oar and start paddling.”

Fan voting for the ISSA awards is currently underway and runs through April 30th . Tony is hoping the people of Weiser will rally around his cause and cast their votes each day until the deadline. You can vote for Tony by going to issasongwriters.com/2024.vote Then go to “USA VOTE HERE” and scroll down to;USA Male Songwriter of the Year; located on the third page. Check the box for “TONY OLSON”, then scroll to the end and hit the “Vote” button. You can vote once per day per device/IP address. Finalists will be announced May 2nd.

Also, please visit Tony’s website at www.tonyolsonmusic.com.

Also Vote For Dave Nudo Band in his Category’s.

For more information about Living In The News .Com, please text (208) 602-7138.

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