For singer-songwriter Steven Lee Olsen, 2014 was a damn good time. After more than a decade of paying his musical dues in Nashville, the Toronto-born musician signed a record deal with one of the biggest labels in town and scored a cut with the artist of every songwriter’s dreams, Garth Brooks. Following songs recorded over the years by the likes of the Judds, Craig Morgan, Emerson Drive and Mark Wills, Olsen landed on the country icon’s big comeback album, Man Against Machine, with the steely breakup song, “Cold Like That.”
Those successes were sweet validation for the 29-year-old talent, who was turned down by label after label over the years. He finally scored an indie deal in 2009, releasing an EP that made major waves in the Canadian country scene. Olsen was nominated for a Canadian Radio Music Award for the collection’s first single, “Now,” while its follow up, “Make Hay While the Sun Shines” was one of the Top 25 most-played songs of the year on Canadian country radio. But his first real introduction to American country fans as a recording artist is the autobiographical “Raised by a Good Time,” which he co-wrote with Cary Barlowe and Chris Stevens for his first full-length album.
“Everyone has those memories from growing up where you and your friends were out, carefree, maybe past curfew, feeling like you were all getting away with stuff and just being young,” he tells Rolling Stone Country of the feel-good song’s inspiration. “I really look at those days as moments that helped shape who I ultimately became, and I wanted the video to reflect the spirit of that.”
Directed by Mason Dixon, the video swaps between performance footage of Olsen and his band and clips of teenagers doing typical teenager things: sneaking out of the house, meeting up (and flirting with) friends, starting bonfires . . . and getting busted by cops. But while the blue lights crash the party, they don’t bring it to an end — thanks to the singer running interference. Watch the exclusive world premiere of the “Raised By a Good Time” video above.
“Mason Dixon really helped capture the spirit of the song, from the cast to the energy of it,” says Olsen. “The video really brought back some great memories, and it was great to be able to create it with friends.”
The buoyant “Raised By a Good Time” will be balanced with some “Cold Like That”-style angry tunes, heartache numbers and old-school love songs on Olsen’s yet-to-be-titled debut album. He tells the Huffington Post that while the project’s tracks will be an eclectic mix, there’s one common thread: they “come from past experiences.”