Rolla Olak gained more than a little cash when he found out he made the top 20 in the Peak Performance Project this year.
“It’s opened up a support system within the music industry in Western Canada that I never knew existed, and I feel fortunate to live in a place that supports the arts,” said the musician and former Qualicum Beach resident during a recording session in Los Angeles last week. “It’s inspired me to write an ambitious new album and has given me the confidence to seek out the most talented people to work with.”
Olak will be performing with another Peak Performance finalist, Towers and Trees, in Nanoose Bay on October 5.
Olak grew up in Qualicum Beach and after graduating from Kwalikum Secondary School he moved to Toronto. He was asked to play the guitar in a pop band called Boy, and shortly after they were signed to Universal Music and were touring around the world. The group played shows in New York City, Austin,Texas, as well as a number of locations in Japan.
That gig lasted for about five years and then Olak moved to Vancouver and started focusing on his solo career. In 2009 he recorded his debut, self-titled album. Several songs from that album were selected to play in the VBS TV motorcycle documentary Doin it Baja.
In 2012 Olak released his second album Western Heart, which he recorded in his homemade backyard studio. The album features duets with Canadian pop songstress Louise Burns. It was that album that garnered the attention of the Peak Performance Project, he said.
Since being selected for the project—B.C.’s biggest music competition and the largest radio station project in Canada—Olak has assembled a talented band.
The twenty finalists in the Peak Performance Project receive an intensive one-week training program in the music business, among mentorship from professionals and some live performance opportunities. They each get $3,000 towards career development and the top five groups will receive cash prizes, with the top spot getting $102,700 this November.
Olak said he and his band emulate the styles of the great songwriters, like Tom Petty and Neil Young. They are releasing a single today, Tues, Oct 1, called Waiting for You and a free download is available on his website: www.rollaolak.com.
On October 5 Victoria Band Towers and Trees will join Olak at Nanoose Place. The group is described as indie folk and their single Montreal was the most highly requested Band of the Month song of all time on the Zone’s 91.3 FM in February.
The show this Saturday at Nanoose Place is $15 each or 4 for $50 available from Wilde and Sparrow in Parksville, Coombs General Store and online at www.arbutusevents.ca. Megan Olsen from Arbutus Events and Shelley Beeston from The Soundgarden teamed up to offer the show to the community.
The event is being billed as an old fashion, fun hall dance party for the whole family. Beverages and snacks will be available at the show. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
The online public voting period for the Peak Project will be October 18-25. For more on Towers and Trees visit www.towersandtreesmusic.com.
CONTEST: Win two tickets to the show. Email firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day Wednesday, Oct 9 with “Send me to see the Peak finalists” in the subject line. Include your name and phone number. Winners will be notified Thursday.