Marie Osmond Talks About Her Life,
Upcoming Tulsa Show
by Jennifer Chancellor
September 1, 2011
Marie Osmond is a cultural phenomenon. She's made it through nearly five decades as a performer with her career, sense of self, her health - and her humor - intact.
She performs Friday at River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa for her "A Little Bit Country ... and a Whole Lot More" tour.
The tour concept came about after she posed a question to her social networking sites asking, basically, "What would you want to hear?" The answers were all over the place.
So that's where she's taking her show: from country to pop and opera and back again, by fan request.
"I went on Twitter and my Facebook, and I said, 'Okay guys, I haven't toured in like 15 years - not this kind of show - and I said 'What do you wanna hear?' It was so eclectic that it made me laugh. Honestly," she said during a recent telephone interview.
"And I said, you know what? We're just going to rage. We're just going to have so much fun, it's going to be very eclectic."
At age 51, Osmond has been in the biz her entire life. She also recently celebrated a 500-show run with brother Donny in Las Vegas.
The pair are both on solo tours right now, she said.
Is that their way of taking a break?
"I've really wanted to do it because ... fans wanted to hear me do a lot of my other stuff, my country stuff, like 'Meet Me in Montana' and 'There's No Stopping Your Heart' and 'I Only Wanted You' and some of those. They wanted to hear 'This is the Way That I Feel,' I mean, we're going way back on my tour."
Boy, does she have stories to tell.
There's music and family history and television and Broadway and Hollywood and touring and Las Vegas. There's also the charity she helped found back in 1983, The Children's Miracle Network, recently named No. 1 in a poll by USA Today.
She also took time to answer more questions:
Q: How long does a typical solo set last?
A: We can go anywhere from 75 to 95 minutes, depending on the venue. There’s a film piece that I put together of some of the old, old songs, three song segments. I had to go way back in the archives, and it’s really difficult to pull images from stone tablets. But I managed.
Q: You're 51. Honestly, considering how long you've been in the business, you're still very young. I talk to guys who have been in the business for decades, and they'll joke, "Well, I started when I was 3." But with you, it's true.
A: No, I’m 29. (laughs) ... I did, actually I did. I was 3. It was on “The Andy Williams Show.”
Q: How was growing up the only girl with a house full of boys? You also were the youngest of nine.
A: There’s a part of the show where I’ll talk about some of the history. You know, my brothers had all this thick, black, beautiful hair and these long eyelashes, and I was born with the stringy, wavy hair and thin eyelashes, and I was like, “Really? Am I a part of this family?” I was the only girl, you know, and I thought, “Well, I guess God knows that I can buy my lashes.”
Andy Gibb (the youngest brother in the Bee Gees) was one of my dear friends. He grew up with his brothers and I grew up with my brothers, and we always thought, "Do you want to join them or go in a different direction?" It was a choice. It really was. I was never officially part of "the Osmonds."
Q: How have you made it so long in this business?
A: Really, as a woman, as a female, it’s very unusual to have a career this long. You’re lucky to get five to seven years in a career. I worked hard and wasn’t just a country singer, and moved into big band, jazz, classical, soprano, opera and worked hard to keep trying things.
And, you know, Minnie Riperton, she sings (breaks into song) "Lovin' youuu, is easy 'cause you're beautifulll ..." I love that song, it's in that key of outer space. That's what got me fooling around with opera. ... I just worked with so many incredible people that kept piquing my interest. So I feel blessed that way.
Q: You are often cited as one of the most "re-tweeted" women on Twitter. You're unfiltered, but in an endearing way. Is that planned?
A: I love to laugh. I think humor saves us. My last book, “Might as Well Laugh About it Now,” well, I think you can tell I loved Erma Bombeck. So my writing style is kind of like that. ... I don’t know. I’m just kinda off the wall ... And I tweet at three in the morning in London and Paris and say “Talk to me,” and ‘“I’m trying to find my kids’ pet gerbil in the house” and you know, asking for advice.
Q: In 2010, you released "I Can Do This," a collection of hymns and spiritual songs. Proceeds from that benefit the organization you helped found, the Children's Miracle Network of hospitals. How important is spirituality in your daily life, and how has it contributed to and helped to keep you focused?
A: They really do go together. The God part of your life — your belief system, whatever you want to call it, your higher power, mine is God — I believe that you have to give back. I believe that through serving others you find who you are.
Q: Does it run in the family?
A: It’s like my youngest daughter. She’s 8 years old … she’s knitting. She makes little preemie beanie hats and donates them to our local children’s hospital, one of our CMN hospitals. I think you have to start ’em out very young, like my parents did. I did many, many charities throughout my life, and there are so many great ones. ... The hospitals get a lot, but the kids give me more. They’re amazing kids. All of them.
Q: In 2007, you came in third place on the fifth season of "Dancing with the Stars." The more you danced, the more people noticed something else - your weight loss. You worked off 50 pounds.
A: I actually lost 10 pounds before I even started “Dancing with the Stars” and then lost 30 while I was doing it and 10 more pounds after. Someone on “Dancing with the Stars” asked me how I lost it, and I said “Nutrisystem — Oh, they should pay me for that endorsement!” and they came to me. I’ve kept it off for four years. It works. It really does work.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: River Spirit Event Center, 8330 Riverside Parkway
Tickets: Tickets start at $75, available at River Spirit Gift Shop or at tulsaworld.com/riverspirit For more information, call 918-995-8518