Country music singer and songwriter Steven Lee Olsen has had a great working relationship with the Rascal Flatts over the years, which is why it would make perfect sense for the Ontario-native to tour with the legendary country band.
“I’ve been writing with (the Rascal Flatts) for a couple of years now actually,” said Olsen.
“They recorded a song I wrote with Jay DeMarcus when he was a member of the band – he actually produces them now,” Olsen recalled.
“I wrote this song called Kiss You While I Can and it was a really fun song, I had never written anything with so many key changes in it.
“But somehow Jay’s musical genius made it all work and it was kind of the start of a cool friendship. And now we have the same management.”
Olsen has opened for the band a few times since then, and he said this tour will be “no exception, like homies hanging out and partying and having fun and trying to bring the heat.”
He said he grew up listening to the Rascal Flatts so it’s a dream come true to see himself on the same stage as them.
“They were such big influences in my artistry, I grew up listening to those guys as well, so it’s definitely helped form my voice and I’m sure you can spot Rascal Flatts all over my music. Which I think is a compliment,” said Olsen.
Olsen is bringing a full, acoustic-only set-list to Penticton when the tour stops at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct. 30.
He said this way he gets the opportunity to give some background on the writing process behind some of his hit songs, much akin to the songwriters’ session format that has become so popular in Nashville, Tenn.
“I thought it was an interesting choice. I’m going to play all the hits that I have, as well as some that I have written for other artists as well,” said Olsen.
“I always find it a really fun part of the show when I can bust out and play Blue Ain’t Your Colour and kind of tell a little bit more of the intimate story behind it,” said Olsen.
“As well as like Girls Like You, and on top of that just the hits that we’ve put out in Canada. So I’m hoping that everyone knows every word and we all just have a good time.”
Olsen joked that he never wants to get off the stage when he is performing and it just might take his co-opener Aaron Goodvin backstage with a hook to get him to come off.
“It’s not really out of his character to do that,”said Olsen with a chuckle.
“He might have to, it’s a possibility, I might just stay up there and sing all of his songs too,” said Olsen with a chuckle.
First and foremost, Olsen is a songwriter so he has been grateful to use his downtime on the tour to look for some new song inspirations.
“As a songwriter, I’ve kind of trained my brain over the last 15 years to just constantly be searching for inspiration and titles,” he said.
“So almost keeping my creative peripherals always on, doesn’t matter what I’m doing.
“I usually come up with about six or seven titles and concepts a day. And that just comes from everyday stuff.”
Touring across Canada and the U.S. has given Olsen the chance to “visit home” in a way, and is excited to explore Penticton.
“It’ll be the first time I’ll actually have a couple of days off in between shows,” he said, adding his team is already researching some of the must-do experiences Penticton has to offer.
“I have a team on it. Every time I go somewhere, I’m bummed out when I find out there was cool stuff close by,” said Olsen.
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