B.C. pop singer Madison Olds finds success on TikTok

B.C. pop singer Madison Olds finds success on TikTok

A little more than a year ago, B.C. pop singer Madison Olds was stuck at home and struggling to find success on TikTok.

“I was really discouraged,” she says. “I thought I’ve given up on this app entirely and wasted my time because I don’t understand it.”

As a performing artist, Olds found herself on the sidelines due to the coronavirus and although she had been on TikTok before the pandemic drew millions more to the platform, she wasn’t reaching audiences the way she had hoped.

“I was trying probably too hard to be perfect or be polished because I’m so used to all the other platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook,” she says. “I think there’s definitely this idea that everything has to be polished on those platforms. I was missing the target of TikTok.”

At around the same time, Olds had an ongoing GoFundMe campaign that was raising money to pay for stem cell treatment in Colombia for her boyfriend Derek, who was involved in a serious motocross accident a few years earlier that resulted in him needing to use a wheelchair.

Looking for a way to spread the word about her campaign, Olds turned to TikTok and began dancing in a bid to raise money for the treatment.

“At the time I thought, well, my life is falling apart right now, my TikTok is totally flopping and I need to come up with [thousands of dollars] for somebody I care about. I thought, well maybe I can kill two birds with one stone and I started dancing,” she recalls.

Each day she posted a video featuring her boyfriend and she had managed to raise around $35,000 by early December. In an attempt to raise more awareness, Olds posted a video and tagged famous YouTuber, David Dobrik.

“I was just hoping, hoping that he would just duet the video and get the word out to his 20 million followers,” she says.

But instead of dueting the video, Dobrik did something much more meaningful. The California-based YouTube star, in partnership with Postmates, donated $50,000 to her campaign — ensuring that Olds reached her goal and had the money needed to pay for his treatment in Colombia.

“I never ever expected him to do what he did,” says Olds. “I am so incredibly grateful to him and everyone else who donated on the platform.”

Fast-forward nearly a year and the Vancouver-based singer, who now has more than 420,000 followers and 13-million views on TikTok, is back on stage.

On Thursday (Oct. 7), she will be performing at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney in what will be one of her first live shows since the onset of the pandemic.

“I am so flippin’ excited because I feel like I haven’t played a show in a very long time and the team at the Mary Winspear Centre has been so incredible to work with. They are top-notch, very professional talented people and it’s going to be a pretty awesome show,” says Olds, who has opened for Willie Nelson, Kacey Musgraves, Neon Dreams, Scott Hellman and others.

Olds will be performing a variety of songs including tracks from her newest record, Drowning in My Thoughts, which was released this past July.

“We go from bad heartbreak ballads to some mental health anthems to just having some fun with our friends and drinking and partying,” she says. “So, the EP is definitely a bit of an emotional roller coaster, which I’d like to say this last year has been for most of us anyway. It kind of encompasses everything that we’re all feeling.”

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@madison_olds #stitch with @daviddobrik ♬ original sound – Madison Olds

The pathway to a career in music for Olds began pretty much from birth.

“My dad studied opera and jazz composition growing up, my mom used to do theatre,” she says. “So, when I came out of the womb, I was tap dancing and singing all the time. There was no stopping me. Even if my parents tried, I was ready from day one.”

By the time Olds was 12, she was competitively dancing and at the age of 13, she had begun playing the guitar and writing her own music. In 2019, Olds released her first record, Blue, and her song Best Part of Me reached as high as 22 on Billboard’s Emerging Canadian Artist chart.

“It’s definitely pop,” Olds says about her sound. “But with the way that music industry is changing, I think pop is not really pure pop anymore anyway, so I probably describe my sound as alternative pop.”

“Sometimes, you get a little bit of R&B and sometimes you get a little bit of punk coming out … and sometimes you get a soulful ballad, and other times you get straightforward pop.”

Nearly a year on since her GoFundMe campaign and TikTok explosion, Olds continues to post videos — sharing Derek’s recovery progress and becoming a voice for improved stem cell treatments in Canada.

“Derek has started to see a little bit of movement and improvements,” she says. “We actually leave for his third round of treatment in Colombia in a few weeks.”

Olds says the reason Derek has to travel to South America is that the treatment he requires isn’t available in either Canada or the United States because neither country offers stem cells at the potency he needs and hopes her videos spark more awareness.

“It’s a shame that the treatment is not offered in Canada and we’re hoping that this opens up the conversation to make the bigger picture here,” she says.

Madison Olds performs at the Mary Winspear Centre on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $18.90 and can be purchased online at http://marywinspear.ca/event/madison-olds

Vancouver-based pop singer Madison Olds takes the stage at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney on Oct. 8. (Photo submitted)

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Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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