An Interview With The Award-Winning Actress and Musician, RENEE OLSTEAD!
Posted On 05 Feb 2018
Get to know the award winning actress, singer-songwriter and activist, Renee Olstead!
She recently released her new single “Help Me Make It Through The Night” which can be heard here. It is now available iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and all other digital platforms. Renee is currently working on her third studio album which can be described as “alternative country”.
She recently performed at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Patron of the Artists Awards alongside Kristen Bell, Katharine McPhee, Sara Bareilles and Diane Warren
On the acting side, her breakout role was playing Madison Cooperstein on ABC Family’s hit show The Secret Life of an American Teenager. More recently, she starred as Jess Felton in the Universal Pictures “UFRIENDED” which is out now on DVD. The film was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Thriller Movie.” She has now amassed over 9 seasons of television appearances as a regular on CBS Still Standing and ABC office comedy Work Mom.
Olstead has a large social media presence with a verified Twitter account of over 81,000 Twitter followers and an verified Instagram account of over 69,000 followers.
Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture and a Grammy for Best Arrangement for “Summertime” from her self-titled debut album (produced by 16-time Grammy Award Winner David Foster).
Learn more about Renee Olstead in the following All Access interview:
Happy New Year! Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Well I kicked off the new year with a trip to Bali, but I’m back home to LA now and back in work mode. Excited for what 2018 has in store!
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Care to share them with us?
2017 was a year of transformation for me. I started work on a new album which is due out this year. One of my resolutions is to play more live shows and tour to support this album!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I started singing really young, singing in Opry houses in Texas and singing competitions. I think I was about 4 or 5? So, music has always been a part of my life. Truly, I can’t imagine my life without it.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your home has affected you and your music today?
Texas had a huge impact on me. I’ve always loved the classic artists I was introduced to early in life. Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Bobbie Gentry… I pull a lot from artists from decades past to create something I believe is unique and contemporary.
When it comes to music and acting, do you think that you enjoy doing one over the other? What do you think is your true passion? Is it difficult or easy to wear the two hats throughout your career?
Well, the best (and hardest) part about music is that unlike acting you have to be yourself. I love acting but it’s a lot easier to step into a role than nail down exactly who you are as an artist, what you want the vision to be etc. People build so much of their perception of you as an artist from first glance, you have to make sure all the elements are perfect.
Let’s talk about your most recent single, “Help Me Make It Through The Night.” What was the inspiration for it? How do you think it prepares listeners for your forthcoming third studio album? How has it been going putting it together?
It’s been a blast. We have a lot more music that’s almost ready to go. We’re entering the mixing/mastering phase now. There’s been a lot of influence from classic country artists and I’ve also written a lot of tracks myself.
How do you think that you have grown as an artist over the years? Has what motivates you to be a singer transformed much at all?
I think the biggest lesson as an artist is that not everyone is going to like your music. When I was on a major label, it was tough because there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen, telling you stuff like “we’ve decided you should be more bohemian and not wear shoes on stage now”… For me, it’s so important to be authentic. Not everyone is going to think I’m doing it ‘right’. The best thing I can do is be the truest form of myself and embody the things that inspire me most.
What was it like performing at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Patron of the Artists Awards?
Amazing! I sang ‘Blue Velvet’, I’ve always loved that song! There were a lot of incredible artists that night singing songs from motion pictures… people like Kristen Bell and Sara Bareilles. I was so honored to be included in such a talented group!
Where do you find that you at your happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording music, writing songs or elsewhere?
I would have to say on-stage. Writing songs is a close second, because I love it when you fall into the ‘flow’ of creating a great song. It’s like magic. That said, my favorite would have to be performing my music for fans, hearing what they think, and meeting them afterwards. It’s so awesome to meet the people who listen to your music and hear their stories. It always blows me away when someone says ‘hey, I danced to your song at my wedding’ or ‘I listen to your albums on the way to work every morning.’ Such a trip!
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
I think music has always been amazing at inspiring us to get thru the rough patches and give us strength when we’re running low. It’s my hope that the music I create lifts people up.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I’ve always wanted to write and perform a song with Dolly Parton. I have so much respect for her as an artist and a person. She’s been an endless source of inspiration for me!
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you find that a lot of your music has a greater meaning behind it?
I hope my music inspires people. Rather that means pursuing music for themselves, finding the courage to try something new, or just getting through the rough patches. Songs mean different things to different people, but I hope that my songs are there to help people create new memories or new realities.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your music with our readers?
Be sure to follow me on social media (instagram & twitter: @renee_olstead) for more updates on when I’m releasing new music! There’s a lot more to come. I love hearing from fans, so if there’s a song you love or a cover you’d love to hear, feel free to comment at me!
Thanks for having me, All Access Music!