Weiser native busy writing winners for music industry

Singer-songwriters Michael McMillan, left, and Weiser native Tony Olson, right, took some time to talk with the Signal American July 21 at the Rolling Hills Golf Course. Olson’s latest song-writing collaboration is scheduled for release Aug. 25. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
He still has a day job but by night Weiser native Tony Olson is writing songs that are netting him worldwide recognition. 
 A couple weeks ago he was back in town with Glasgow, Scotland singer-songwriter Michael McMillan who performed at the Rolling Hills Golf Course July 21. 
 “I’ve been to a lot of states in the U.S., but never Idaho,” McMillan told the Signal American in a thick Scottish dialect. “I’m loving it so far.” 
 He is just one of many performers and writers Olson has been known to work with, some of them including band members for country music stars Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin, Chris Stapleton, and Garth Brooks. He has received many awards, almost too many to name, but the list includes five American Track Music Awards, four Global Music Awards, two World Songwriting Awards, 2021 ISSA (International Singer-Songwriter Association) Songwriter of the Year, and he won the 2022 U.K. Songwriting Contest, which is one of the largest and most significant songwriting contests in the world. He is currently a judge for the ISSA Awards.  
 He was a 2023 finalist for Singer-Songwriter of the Year via the International Songwriting Awards and has also been nominated for the Recording Academy
 The Recording Academy is an American academy of musicians, producers, recording engineers, and other musical professionals and is widely known for its Grammy Awards, which recognize achievements in the music industry.
 He has won awards in seven different genres, which is a testament to his lyrical versatility. 
 His most recent accomplishment is a new song he worked on with U.K.-based singer-songwriter “Ewelina.” 
 “Ewelina has an album called ‘Set in Stone’ and she has a song called ‘Voices,’” Olson explained. “I listened to the song and just felt I could rearrange it, rewrite the lyrics and make something that is just a little more commercially viable. She agreed to let me mess with it. We finally kicked out a song, and it’s money.” 
 Ewelina is currently working on a video for the single, which will be released on the usual music platforms Aug. 25. 
 “I let a DJ in Australia and DJ in the U.K. hear it and they said that it will chart high,” Olson beamed. 
 A 1976 Weiser High School graduate, Olson started writing songs when he was about 17, but wasn’t sure if he had the talent to pursue the art and did not have the money to record them. 
 “I got into banking and the music just kind of took a back seat to everything, but about six years ago, I finally made the decision,” said Olson who also wrote the Amazon best-selling book “Spin Game.” 
 “After the book became a bestseller, I thought maybe I should try music and see if I’m good enough to write with the big boys,” he said. “A friend of mine worked with Blake Shelton and introduced me to his band.” 
 The band members offered to do his demos. He also ended up having three singers from the hit television show “The Voice” do his vocals. His producer was Dave Demay, a former winner of the television talent show “Star Search.” 
 “It was just like everything was kind of lining up and telling me I should go down this road,” he said. “The first batch of songs turned out really good and did well in some contests, so I haven’t looked back; I’ve just kept the peddle to the metal.” 
 A more personal project he has been working on is a song rooted in his experience at Weiser High School and the people he went to school with.
 “I wrote a song for the class of ’76,” he said. “It’s called ‘Reunion.’ It’s how class reunions evolve over the course of time, how things can change at each class reunion and how people change.” 
 Olson recorded it a couple months ago with two of Blake Shelton’s band members and two of Easton Corbin’s people, plus Kenny Chesney’s lead guitar player Jon Conley. 
 “I’m putting together a little video of our class reunions over the years,” he said. “It’s just something I wanted to do. I’m finding some photos of my classmates throughout the years. It will make a nice backdrop for ‘Reunion.’ I am hoping to get it put together by the end of August.”
 As for his future, Olson said he is enjoying what he has accomplished thus far, but plans to keep moving forward. 
 “I’m having fun right now,” he said. “It’s not a money thing; it’s just fun seeing how far I can push the music envelope.”
 Visit tonyolsonmusic.com for more info or check out his Facebook page.


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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