BWW Interviews: Marie Osmond and her latest album, MUSIC IS MEDICINE

When people hear the name Marie Osmond, they conjure up visions of a squeaky clean lifestyle and big teeth. But, when you look beyond the superficial aspect, you see someone who has spent her entire life in show business rubbing elbows with such greats as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Lucille Ball. In recording her new album Osmond stated on her website, marieosmond.com, "I'm singing, with all my heart and soul. That's why this album is so special for me; each song has its own story and its own personal meaning. I hope you will find your connection and meaning in each song as well."

BWW had a chance to chat with Marie Osmond as she prepared to release her latest album, MUSIC IS MEDICINE. She shared her life's journey and many unique experiences she has had in growing up in show business.

You have grown up in show business and have worked with some of the great show business royalty. What are some of the life lessons that you have taken with you as you have known them?

What haven't I taken away? Name a name and I swear I worked with them. It's unusual. I was a very young child who got to rub shoulders with some of the greatest entertainers in the business. I learned the difference between being a celebrity and being an entertainer. One is an entitlement of this is what I get and these people showed up. They were prepared, they were on time, they were brilliant, they appreciated their craft and they were always making it better and better and better. They were never satisfied with phoning it in, you know what I mean? What I took away was a work ethic. Like Sammy Davis, Jr.; you can have kind of a layout of songs but you should always be ready to change it if the audience needs a change. He was that personality that would say, in 20 years of performing, then you'll know how to walk out onstage.

After all these years performing, do you still get nervous when you go out onstage or is it just like old hat to you?

It's always exciting. I think that if you lose (the) butterflies or whatever you want to call it; then I think you should retire because you are there to please that audience and if you really listen to your audience then you will know what's working and what isn't. Even when you're doing a Broadway show, even though it's a set script, you can tell if the audience is enjoying it, you can tell if you're pushing, you can feed off the audience. I do. I enjoy it.

I know the most important thing in your life is your family. How do you manage to keep yourself and your family grounded through all of this?

I think it's difficult for anyone in this day and age, don't you? I think that I had amazing parents who set great examples and it is difficult. It's difficult when you work to be there. I think you just have to give it your best shot. It's like a performance. If you're worried and try to compare it to this or that, I think you have a really bad show. And I think you try to compare your family life to what you think it perfect. I think you have to follow good guidelines and do everything you can to do it how you think it's correct. Then you breathe and you pray a lot.

Let's talk about your new album, MUSIC IS MEDICINE. I had a chance to watch the video. I love how you included the children in such a sweet video.

As far as MUSIC IS MEDICINE, music has been truly been my drug of choice. I never got into the drug scene. I never got into alcohol, smoking, nothing. Part of the reason was my faith-based beliefs, but in this business and being so young; the other thing that really convinced me was I lost many of my friends who were very talented. I lost many of my friends to those abusive things. I have a weird voice. In the (Vegas) show, I sing multiple genres. Like when my son passed away, that's the first time I sang opera live publicly. I did that for my son and music once again heals you. In the show, I did "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." Sometimes music can say things for you that can't be said any other way. It can document a time in your life. It can take you to a moment; whatever it is, music is power, it really truly is. Being part of my own healing as music was, which is the direction I was going.

The other thing I think it important in this is that music should not be age defined. I believe that on this album I have chosen topics of songs that will walk you through life. I know the fans that have grown up with me will relate to these songs. I also know from people listening to this album now that I have a whole 20-25 year old audience that is finding Marie Osmond and they're relating to these songs. That just tells me that...there's a line in MUSIC IS MEDICINE that says, "That they categorize it makes me mad. There's only two kinds, good or bad." And I believe that and probably because I have sung so many different kinds. I am a little bit country. I chose country at 12. I was in the studio with Sonny James and the Jordanaires and everyone was in the same room. I was 12 ½ when I recorded. To me, if Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, these great women can bring it on at our age, then I say I'll bring it on. Let me try. And as long as it sounds contemporary and current and has something to say I think every woman should continue to sing.

Are you going to do a solo tour?

I would love to. We're in Vegas right now. What I would really like to do is some symphonic dates because there's not a lot of people who actually sing legit symphonic music where you could have full orchestrations of beautiful songs. Someday, I'd love to do that while my voice can still sing opera.

I also know you have an important involvement in The Children's Miracle Network (CMN), benefiting Children's Hospitals. Tell us a little about the album and also about CMN.

I believe everyone needs to give back. I believe we want to give back. We want to know that it goes to the cause we're actually giving it to. That's how Children's Miracle Network was created. John Schneider and I, we founded that. One hundred percent of the money goes to the kids. I thought, what a great combination. My love of music as my medicine and music does heal. It really truly does. So, we filmed it (the new video for MUSIC IS MEDICINE) at a children's hospital and at the very end of the video, you see that I bring awareness to Children's Miracle Network. We've raised over five billion dollars for kids. All of it stays local where it's raised. It goes to the kids in their neighborhoods. It's really cool. I realized with John that if you're a celebrity, if you do this cause, then you can't do that one. So we thought all of those causes have to be treated and children's hospitals are last on government funding. They need our help. That's how it happened. Statistically, they say that everybody will use a children's hospital sometime in their lives. Your kid, your grandkid, whatever it is, you'll be in one.

Do you ever have any plans to slow down or retire at some point?

Oh, yes. Absolutely, unless Broadway wants me to play a funny old lady part someday because I love humor; bring it on. That would be fun to do. I don't know if I'm over yet but if I can still sing and I feel like...that's how this album happened. I had producers come to the show and say, "Marie, your voice is still very contemporary, very, current; very strong." As long as my instrument still holds up. But for me to go out to sing, I feel like you want people to enjoy what they're listening to.

Marie along with her brother Donny continue to perform at The Flamingo in Las Vegas. Marie's new album is available now on iTunes. Be sure to check out Marie's website as well for all the latest.



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From This Author Kathy Strain

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