Life after The X Factor brings Tim Olstad success, serendipity and strength

Tim Olstad. Photo by: Paul Weaver.
Tim Olstad. Photo by: Paul Weaver.

You might remember Tim Olstad, the humble young man from Minnesota who finished in ninth place on season three of The X Factor USA. The musician, in his mid-20s, was a new grad working as a server when he decided to try out for the show, letting his life-long love for music shine through.

Known for his beautiful live cover of “You Raise Me Up” and a timid audition for the show, Tim’s voice is a cross between Sam Smith, Clay Aiken and John Legend, with a little bit of the Backstreet Boys.

Since The X Factor USA, Tim has been signed to Brooklyn Basement Records and is working on his first album.

We caught up with Tim to see what’s to come:

  1. Describe what it was like to grow up in Minnesota… What do you love about this state? What makes it home for you?

Minnesota will always be my home. That’s the only place where I ever use that word. I would not trade growing up in Minnesota for anything. I love that the city I grew up in was surrounded by bluffs. I love that it falls right along the Mississippi River. I love that you go to the grocery store knowing you’ll run into at least one familiar face. My family is my everything. The people in Minnesota are second to none.

  1. When did you first realize you had a passion for music?

I realized this at a very young age. I feel like everyone says that, but it’s true. I grew up with music. Both my parents are music teachers, so they have always been supportive of my passion for music.

  1. Where did the inspiration for your debut single, “Piece of You,” come from?

It came from the feeling of still having feelings for someone even after the relationship is over. The relationship ends, but the feelings don’t. You’re left wondering if maybe they still have those same feelings too.

  1. You finished ninth place on The X Factor USA. What was the best part about being on this show?

The best part was being able to share my voice with an incredible amount of people. I also made some life long friends along the way.

  1. What was the most challenging aspect?

There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes. I think some people don’t realize that it’s reality TV. My song was switched on me at least twice with only a day or two before the show was going live. It was also challenging having to answer people who asked, “What’s next?” after I was eliminated…because I didn’t know either at the time. I’m so fortunate to now be signed with Brooklyn Basement Records as of last September.

  1. You are working on your first album – how has this experience been for you?

It’s been great so far. It’s cool because I’ve played some of the songs that will be on the album at a few shows. They just haven’t been released yet. So, it’s cool to get immediate reactions from people before the release. I always try to keep myself busy. I have some writing sessions coming up with other musicians that I’m very excited about.

Tim Olstad. Photo by: Paul Weaver.
Tim Olstad. Photo by: Paul Weaver.
  1. What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned about yourself throughout this entire journey?

“To thine own self be true” – William Shakespeare

  1. Why is it so important for you to chase your dreams?

It’s so important to chase my dreams because I can’t go a day without thinking about it. I don’t want to live the rest of my life thinking to myself, “What if?” If you don’t chase it, it will never happen. No one said it would be easy…if it was…everyone would be doing it.

  1. What about the music industry intrigues you? 

It is always changing. I like to keep myself up to date on as much as I can within the industry. I like that you can share the passion of music with others who have the same love for it.

  1. What type of strategy do you use to get the message out there to your fans, and beyond, about the music you’re creating?

I make sure that I’m always performing from my heart. I literally feel a release when I perform. [In terms of] social media, I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all that good stuff to try and keep people engaged. It’s fun, but I also like to have a life away from it.

  1. Who would you say is your biggest musical inspiration? 

Adele. Her voice is absolutely incredible, and it leaves me speechless.

  1. What would you tell to other up and coming singer-songwriters? 

Do not give up. Give er’ hell and keep fighting!

  1. What is your favourite song?

“The Wanderer” by Marc Broussard. That dude’s voice is so good. I’ve been a fan of his for years. The words are great, and he goes off on the bridge/chorus, especially if you go see it live.

  1. Everyone has good and bad days on the job – how do you get through the bad days? 

I write. I go to the beach. I call my family and friends back home. I hang out with friends here in LA. I think of all the things I’m thankful for. I basically just do anything that can get me out of a funk.

  1. Do you have any other advice you want to share with our readers?

Always make sure you surround yourself with real people. Take risks. Enjoy the little things, and have fun!

We can’t wait for Tim to release his first album! Check out Tim’s iTunes page for updates and singles.


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