BWW Interviews: DONNY OSMOND Releases 60th Album

BWW Interviews: DONNY OSMOND Releases 60th Album

When people hear the name Donny Osmond, they usually think of things like "Puppy Love" and purple socks. But, that once young performer has matured into something more than a teenybopper. The proof of that is the release of his 60th album of his career. The title of the album is "The Soundtrack of My Life." And what a soundtrack it is. Donny proves he still has the talent and voice to sing such iconic songs as Frank Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" and The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." But, if you are expecting a regurgitated version of these songs and others, you are wrong. Osmond makes them his own and shows that he is truly a legend in show business. After 50 years of performing, Donny stands among the great icons he pays tribute to in his latest album including Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and Elton John.

BWW had a chance to catch up with Donny recently as he prepared for the release of his 60th album. He shared with us some of the reasons for doing this album and why it is a tribute to all the people and who have shaped his personal life as well as in show business throughout his career.

This is your 60th album. How does that feel?

I can't believe it and I did 'em all. I knew this had to be a hallmark album because not many people can say they are celebrating 50 years in show business and they're releasing their 60th album. I decided rather than just put another album out with a bunch of songs, who really cares, there's gotta be a story behind it and a reason for it. Every song on this album has got such a significant story, backstory, to my 50 years in show business and that was the criteria when I starting thinking what songs to record. It's gotta have a very, very compelling story. For instance, Michael Jackson's song, "Ben;" that was actually written to be my song. It was written for me to record. The reason I didn't record it was because I was on tour at the time and they had to finish the movie. The producers said, "If you can't get Donny, there's this little kid named Michael Jackson, he's available." It became Mike's first number one solo record. Mike and I just laughed about that all the time how fate could have been a little bit different, that would have been my song. But, the thing that made us crack us is that I had a hit about a puppy and he had a hit about a rat.

Tell us about the Donny Osmond App previewing the music.

I decided to do that. I designed that app a long time ago. In fact, I thought, what a cool way to get the message out there 'cause everybody loves the price tag that it's free. Because every song has a story, I had to come up with a medium to put across my story so this was the perfect way to do it.

You've done mostly covers. I did notice that there are some originals. One song in particular, "Survivor." Tell us about that one.

There are three that you won't recognize. "Survivor, " I wrote that one. That's my wife's favorite song and probably mine too because of the message. There's a lot of ups and downs when you have to pull yourself out of that teen idol career and reinvent yourself as an adult performer. The audience was always there but the industry turns on you every once in a while. So, I wrote that song to the industry.

You decided to do the covers to give a history of your life and where you stand right now and the people that influenced you.

Exactly. It's autobiographical in a way. I love the story about the Elton John one. I love all the stories actually but the Elton John story of "Your Song" is probably one of my favorite ones because I was on a double date with my brother Jay. I was dating this girl named Tammie at the time and Jay took out this girl named Debbie. We went to Elton John's concert in Salt Lake City. I remember this specifically. When Elton sat down to sing "Your Song" at the piano, I looked over at my brother and his date and I remember thinking to myself, "Someday, I'm going to marry my brother's date." And Debbie and I have been married 37 years. What a life changing moment. The Paul McCartney story is a funny one too. 1973, I was staying in a hotel in Paris and there was a knock on the door. I opened up the door and it's Paul McCartney standing there with his daughter, Mary. Apparently, Mary was a huge Donny Osmond fan at the time and Paul says, "Can I get your autograph, please?" And he hands me a picture of myself and I said, "To Mary, Love Donny Osmond." And I gave it to Paul and he hands it to Mary and she was so excited. And he said, "Thank you very much." And the door closes and I remember thinking, "What in the world just happened?" Years and years later, I'm in London editing a music video at this studio and in the adjacent studio, Paul was editing one of his videos. I remember thinking, "I gotta go in there and verify this story. Maybe I dreamt it. Maybe I made it up." So I walk in and Paul and I are talking. I said, "Paul, I have to verify this story." I told him the story. I said, "Did that happen?" He said, "Donny, not only did it happen; your autograph is one of the very few autographs I've ever asked for in my life."

I also noticed you did "Moon River." That's your tribute to Andy Williams.

Well, I have to do "Moon River." That's my paying respects to the man who brought me into this business; who discovered me. Here's the challenge Kathy, in doing an album like this and this applies to every single one of these songs. If I did them the same way they were done, why don't you just collect the originals because the originals are so much better. Or if you're going to do it just like the original, that's called karaoke and I'm not interested in karaoke. I've gotta change them to a certain extent to make them my own. So, with "Moon River," I did the melody just like Andy did it for the first couple of lines. Then I take it someplace completely different. I did the same thing with Frank Sinatra's, "I've Got You Under My Skin." I really did some interesting things with the melody on that. In fact, when David Foster heard that he said, "You've gotta pull that one back a little bit and then you can go for it." It's the same thing that I do with Andy's "Moon River." That was a very interesting treatment of "I've Got You Under My Skin" because Frank, the way he did it originally was a big thing. The song is a very sexy song. So, I decided I've gotta take this song to a nice jazz nightclub. That's the atmosphere I want to create here and because the lyrics are so sexy, it's gotta be done in that kind of way. It's kind of dangerous to say Frank did something wrong but, I would've loved to have heard Frank sing it this way.

BWW Interviews: DONNY OSMOND Releases 60th AlbumDo you plan to release any singles from this album?

I don't know. I think nowadays everybody just downloads what they wanna download from the album and it's quite interesting. It was released over in England; highest entry level into the album charts I 've ever had in my life. Ever. You know how the albums kinda climb; this one went into the top 20. I've never had that. People download what they wanna hear. Whether I release a single or not, I don't really know yet.

So, it sounds like the new album is being received well then in the U.K.

Unbelievable. People are really happy with this one.

What are some promotions you will be doing?

Good Morning America and all kinds of stuff like that. But, social media is the way to do it nowadays. It's all on Twitter and Facebook. What I do is I spend a lot of time on Facebook and that's the perfect place to promote your product.

And you are back at the Flamingo?

Yep, two more years. It's gonna be an eight year run. It was supposed to be six weeks back in 2008 and nobody anticipated; neither Marie or I or anybody anticipated it going this long. The last three years, we've gotten the award for best show of Las Vegas. It makes you think, "Do we go out on top or do we continue riding the wave?" We're gonna continue riding the wave for another two years.

"The Soundtrack of My Life" can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon. To find out more about Donny Osmond and what he's doing, check out his website,, Facebook or Twitter @donnyosmond.

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From This Author Kathy Strain

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