Tollak Ollestad is an American harmonica player, singer, keyboardist and songwriter. He is best known for his harmonica work on several recordings since the 90's but he has also toured extensively as a keyboardist/singer with several well known acts. His harmonica playing has often been compared to Motown legend Stevie Wonder and Toots Thielemans.
Tollak Ollestad was born in Seward, Alaska and grew up in Seattle, Washington. After starting out in the club scene in Seattle in his early twenties he moved to Los Angeles in 1984. He first became known as keyboardist/singer touring with artists Ambrosia and Bobby Caldwell. Around the same time he started gaining notoriety as a session harmonica player, starting with being featured in the theme for the television series Northern Exposure, and then a series of live credits with artists such as Don Henley, Andrea Bocelli, Chet Atkins and Kenny Loggins as well as features on several artist's albums including Al Jarreau, Earth Wind and Fire, Natalie Cole, Gino Vanelli, Christopher Cross, Dave Grusin, Don Grusin, Billy Idol and Brian McKnight . As a keyboardist/vocalist he has additionally toured or performed live with other artists including Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Sheena Easton, Jewel, Edgar Winter, Al Stewart, David Becker and Seal.
Tollak has also released two albums of original music independently, respectively "Walk the Earth" 2004 and "Across the Rubicon" 2009.
In 2009, Ollestad recorded harmonica for the song "Which Way, Robert Frost" written by Roxanne Seeman and Philipp Steinke for Jacky Cheung, China's #1 pop icon, to record on his "Private Corner canto-jazz album. Andrew Tuason, producer of Jacky Cheung, was presented with a selection of top harmonica players by Roxanne Seeman and chose Ollestad. Ollestad recorded his part in The Netherlands.
He moved to the Netherlands in 2004 where he currently resides and continues to perform, record and teach, as well as elsewhere in Europe, America and other venues worldwide.