by Steve Knopper - Newsday
August 25, 2011
Forty years ago, Donny Osmond hit No. 1 for the first time with his song "Go Away, Little Girl." He was absurdly clean-cut and handsome, and he would spend the next several years as one of the most popular teen heartthrobs in pop-music history -- especially teaming with his sister, Marie, on a TV variety show.
Osmond discussed the bizarre ups and downs of his career by phone from his Utah home.
Question: Your new tour is unscripted and you take constant requests from the audience. Is that spontaneity scary?
Answer: You better believe it! But that's why I'm doing it. It's the excitement of not knowing where the show's going to go. You have the structure of the show, but within that body of the show, let's say somebody says, "Hey, remember that weird video you did with Weird Al Yankovic?" Boom! There's going to be a video behind me on the screen.
Q: You and Marie put out an album in May and are doing the Flamingo in Vegas, as well as a cruise. How's the sibling rivalry compared to when you were younger?
A: It's funny, because back in the olden days called the '70s, Marie was just basically in tow: "Let's just do whatever they say." Well, Marie is her own person now. She has her say about things. ... Nobody's in anybody's shadow.
Q: You recently gave this advice to Justin Bieber: "Put on the seat belt, buddy, because it's going to be a bumpy ride and there's going to be times when people say you're not talented anymore. Never give up on yourself." When will his ride start getting bumpy?
A: It's happening now. You look at any little kid and talk about Justin Bieber, he's like "bleah." It's inevitable. What you've got to do is hang in there and keep putting out great material.