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Interview: Madison Olds talks mental health on new single “Best Part of Me”



Featured Image by Kaylee Smoke

At just 22, Madison Olds has already made a name for herself—from an impressive debut album and extensive tour experience, to the hit single “Moments in the Mountains” which became the official theme song to the 2018 BC Winter Games. Olds’ pop tracks often feature hints of her British Columbia origins with acoustic strings and soft folk instrumentation. Her latest single sees the rising talent explore new sonic and lyrical territory. “Best Part of Me” is an intimate confrontation with doubt, anxiety, and insecurity, all packed into a sleek and impossibly catchy pop track.

We caught up with Madison Olds to discuss her inspiration for “Best Part of Me” and how she’s been handling mental health amidst the pandemic.

You mentioned that “Best Part of Me” came out of a “moment of mental disparity” during a solo writing trip to Nashville. Can you share a little about how that experience inspired the song?

I remember staying at a couple dodgy airbnbs during that visit and was feeling pretty scared. On top of not knowing the writers I was supposed to be meeting with, it was my first time travelling to Nashville by myself, so everything was just way too over heightened. My already existing anxiety was just through the roof, so by the time I made it to the session to write, basically all I could think about was laying on the floor and crying. I desperately didn’t want to be writing, but I’m so glad I did. That’s why now, no matter my mental health or my physical health, I go into a session assuming I’m gonna write the best I possibly can haha.

You’ve previously said that kindness is your favorite human quality, and this track seems to promote being kind to yourself in hardship. Do your passions for kindness and social causes make their way into much of your music?

“Best Part of Me” is kind of the first song I’ve released that talks about anxiety and kindness to ourselves, but there are so many I write that will probably never see the light of day. I do really hope to continue to write songs about kindness and other things that need to be talked about. As an artist, I think there is a certain social responsibility to use your voice for what you stand for. Like to be an ACTUAL influencer.

Photo by Kaylee Smoke

There’s a line in the track: “Remember who I was, I forgot”, which mirrors a theme from your earlier single, “Moments in the Mountains” where you sing, “When I travel so damn far and I find myself lost / These moments in the mountains, they will call me home.” Is that a prominent topic for you in your songwriting—the process of self-discovery and returning to your roots?

Always! I think no matter how old we get or how much we think we know about ourselves, there is always something to learn within or experience that could change us entirely. Who I thought I was even months ago, is completely different from who I am today.

Has your approach to songwriting changed as you’ve experienced personal growth?

Totally! I find that as I age, my confidence grows, and I believe more in my ideas. So, while my writing might not actually be changing, I am having more faith and confidence to run with an idea I might have been too scared to try years ago. I have always thought that an artist with talent and confidence is unstoppable, and that’s what I’m trying to be.

“Best Part of Me” was produced and mixed by Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge, Nuela Charles, Mathew V) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Drake). What was it like to work with them on the single?

I didn’t get to directly work with Chris, but I love how the mastering turned out! Ryan on the other hand, we worked in the studio together, not only on this track, but several others and he is such a delight to work with! We always seem to have a great time together and it never feels like work at all.

Photo by Kaylee Smoke

You’ve previously opened for legends like Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves. Are there any other artists you’d love to share a stage with?

If I could open for or share the stage with anyone, 10 out of 10 I would pick Harry Styles. He just has such an undeniable energy when getting on stage. I think it would just be an absolute retro party of a show!

Is there any upcoming music in the works?

I’ll never tell ;)…. But yes, haha. New singles and an EP around the corner.

Lastly, you said that you hope “Best Part of Me” can resonate with listeners struggling with their own mental health during the pandemic; what have been your favorite quarantine activities to stay inspired?

My favourite quarantine activity has been baking, actually. It’s been a little cool here in BC this summer, so I’ve been craving fall recipes since June haha. Just the other day, I woke up and made a pumpkin pie from scratch, and it was absolutely delicious.

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