Friday, August 13, 2010
Jay Osmond book 'Stages' talks about his life
The youngest original member of the Osmond Brothers" and sixth in the family of nine, he was put on stage in diapers at the age of 2 and a half and literally grew up on a series of stages as part of the famous singing family.
"I hated when my world of creativity was interrupted by singing practice, and we practiced every day," he said. "I sometimes felt like I was in the prison 'Sing Sing!'"
It wasn't until much later in his life that he got the chance to decide if that's what he wanted to do. (He did.)
That's part of the reason he's written a new book "Stages" that details the Osmond story from his perspective, 50 years, 30 gold albums and 77 million records later.
"I wanted people to see how I saw it. I felt an urge to put these stories together, like scenes in a play. I wanted to take people along. My real purpose is to contribute, to lift, to offer hope, to offer another side of the Osmonds," Osmond confided in an interview with Mormon Times.
Osmond said there were 10 things an Osmond had to be every day of his or her life, including being a good example of Mormonism and pulling together as a family.
"Show business will beat you up if you're not grounded," he said. "We were grounded because of the gospel, and we stuck together as a family. That's the most important thing;we did it as a family. We're connected and we know that."
Osmond sang in the group from toddler age on. He did choreography, and he produced The Osmond Family Hour, the 1980s variety show including the "Little Bit Country/Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll" segments, and most recently, the Osmond 50th Anniversary Special.
He was voted one of the top 10 drummers in America by Flip Magazine and released a solo recording "It's About Time" of his favorite drum songs in 1994 and the sequel "It's About Time Again" in 2008.
He shared the lead on "Crazy Horses" with his brother Merrill, a rock song that became the Osmond's bestselling single overseas.
"We're marketed very differently in England," Osmond said. "They think we're a rock group."
He's shared the rocket ride to fame and fortune with his siblings and his remarkable parents, a ride that began in 1957 after Walt Disney heard them sing, and Andy Williams' father Jay "discovered" them.
In his book, he tells the tale of making the long ride to California after appearing on KSL's Eugene Gelesnik Show to meet with Lawrence Welk only to be put off and kept waiting for hours. Unwilling to waste the trip, George Osmond herded his family over to Disneyland and met The Dapper Dans, who introduced the boys to their boss. After another trip from Utah, they performed for Disney, and their careers were launched. ("I was so excited that we were singing for the guy who invented Mickey Mouse," Osmond writes.)
He talks about the whirlwind years of the '70s, (The One-Tale Osmonds had to learn to ice skate, tumble, juggle, play a variety of instruments and dance for the Williams' show) the pressures and hardships of the '80s, a talented, creative family living under a microscope but tethered by love of family and God.
"The real basic anchor was the gospel and how we were trained," he said. "Family Night was the forum. Our first stage was our living room. We played. We talked. We bonded."
He describes meeting the Queen of England and learning karate from Chuck Norris. He relates some of the challenges that came with working with the mercurial and often bizarre Jerry Lewis.
He harks back to the meeting with then-First Counselor to the LDS Church President, Harold B. Lee, who assigned the family to remember they were representing their faith, essentially calling the family on a mission.
"We're still on that mission. We're not finished yet," Osmond said. "None of us feel it's time yet to be released."
The book is available at JayOsmond.com.