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Country star Steven Lee Olsen returns home to perform at Casino Rama

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Fans packed into Casino Rama Resort Saturday night to see country music star Russell Dickerson take over the stage, with hometown hero Steven Lee Olsen as the opening act.

The singer-songwriter grew up in Newmarket and lived in Barrie before moving to Nashville 17 years ago.

"After high school, all my friends went off to college, and I started really leaning into my guitar, and I realized that I needed to move to Nashville to learn how to write songs, to be the artist that I always dreamt I would be," said Olsen in an interview with CTV News on Saturday.

Since moving south, Olsen has had a rise in international success, with two number-one hits in the U.S., including his Grammy-nominated song 'Blue Ain't Your Colour' performed by country superstar Keith Urban.

Olsen said it's one of his greatest career achievements to date.

"I was bringing my mom to the Grammys and it was a three-time platinum song that completely changed the trajectory of my career as an artist and as a songwriter," Olsen said.

Now Olsen is working on new music, including a special song about his roots.

"We're working on our next single right now which something that, I basically wrote it about Barrie. I wrote it about Barrie, I wrote it about Newmarket, about Aurora, all the places that I lived, all these small towns. It's a song I hold really dear," he described.

Olsen shared some advice for young artists after years of highs and lows.

"It's super important that when everybody loses faith, or maybe when the chips are down that you have to keep this much belief at least in yourself to keep going and just not quit. You live to write or perform another day, just stick with it and if you're passionate about it and truly love it, do it for those reasons."

While Saturday's show was the last stop on the Canadian leg of Russell Dickerson's tour, Olsen will be heading out to the West Coast this summer for shows in British Columbia and Alberta.

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