Marie Osmond: Looking Back… And Looking Forward

In this SLN exclusive, Marie Osmond looks back at her country music career and explains what inspired her to record again. 

Written by Chuck Dauphin
Marie Osmond: Looking Back… And Looking Forward
Artist publicity photo

2016 marked the “return” of one of America’s favorite female performers to the Country Album charts with the release of Music Is Medicine by Marie Osmond. The disc hit the top ten on the sales chart – marking her first appearance on the Country charts as a solo artist since 1989’s Steppin’ Stone.

Osmond – who has just announced that she will team up with brother Donny for a ninth season next year at The Flamingo in Las Vegas – said she wasn’t quite so sure that she was going to record again. But, that inner voice persuaded her.

“There was this voice saying ‘Marie, you should never let age define your music,” she said after one of the Flamingo shows. “If you can sound contemporary, then you should be singing.’ When you stop doing what you love doing, you die.” She tried her new music out, and was surprised by the reaction. “I was visiting a Children’s Hospital – and I did ‘Music Is Medicine,’ and it turned out to be the truth for me. I have a weird voice, and can sing a lot of different genres. But, Country Music does it the best. There’s just the honesty of the song. That song is very special to me.”

As it turns out, the new album made an impact on of the format’s biggest stars, as well. “They asked Blake Shelton what his favorite new song was, and he said ‘Marie Osmond’s Music Is Medicine album.’ That meant a lot to me. That was really cool,” she said with childlike enthusiasm.

Osmond has been no stranger to the Country charts over the years, and Sounds Like Nashville asked her to reminisce about some of her biggest chart moments, which kicked off with 1973’s “Paper Roses,” a track that was produced by the legendary Sonny James. She has nothing but fond memories of her beginnings in the format, saying that “I could have chosen any musical style. I had more of an “in” with my brothers’ in the pop world than I did with Country. I chose it because I fell in love with the innocence and the honesty of it, like Loretta Lynn. Sonny James was the Elvis of that era, and when he heard I wanted to sing Country, he said ‘Let’s do it.’ He just believed in me. I’ll never forget flying into Nashville, and at that time, everything was recorded live. I walked into the studio, and saw Sonny. I remember that The Jordanaires were there to get everything live. I was so blessed. I was twelve years old, and will never forget that experience. Of course, Sonny’s nickname was ‘The Southern Gentleman,’ and he was absolutely a gentleman. He was an unbelievable man.”

In 1986, all grown up, Osmond returned to the top ten with “There’s No Stoppin’ Your Heart,” for which she filmed a video that will always have a special place in her heart. “That was a very different concept for a music video, at that time. It was mostly performance. I was a single mom at the time, and the video showed me rushing to get home after a performance, and at the end, you see my son running out. That was a fun video, and the song served as a rebirth back into my Country roots.”

Later that year, she found herself at the winner’s podium of the 20th Annual CMA Awards as a winner for Vocal Duet of the Year with Dan Seals, due to the success of their chart-topper “Meet Me In Montana.” She laughs when saying that Seals and she had something in common – a knack for harmonizing. “A producer friend of mine asked me how many people I had sung with in duet situations. It’s way over five hundred. But, there if there’s a person who knows how to sing as a duet, it’s Dan Seals. Of course, he was part of England Dan and John Ford Coley. I remember (Capitol exec) Jim Fogelsong telling the two of us that we would be awesome together, and we went in and nailed the song in about an hour and a half. We looked at each other as if to say “Oh, you’ve sang a duet before, haven’t you?’ I was honored to sing with Dan, and I was honored that God let me sing that song. I feel that way about certain songs in my life. But, that’s one where you just say ‘Thank You.’ It was such a beautiful song.”

Osmond enjoyed another number one duet that year, as the singer paired up with songwriter Paul Davis – one of the writers of ‘Montana’ for “You’re Still New To Me.” She was already a fan of Davis’s 70s hits such as “Sweet Life” and “I Go Crazy.” As it turned out, when Davis pitched her the song, she knew she wanted to cut it – and with whom. “He was such a dear friend, and he brought ‘You’re Still New To Me” to my attention, and I said ‘You know this is a duet, Paul.” He looked back at me and said ‘I guess it is.’ Again, it was one of those moments that I am just grateful for. Because he was such a great friend, and it was such a great song.”

Osmond has just released a new single to radio, “Baby You’re Crazy.” The song is very special to her, and fans that see her in concert will no doubt be moved by the love story that the video that plays during her performance portrays.

“I called Bonnie Tiegel at Entertainment Tonight, and told her I was marrying my first husband again, and asked if she still had any of the old footage. She said ‘I keep everything,’ so she sent me the footage. When we came out with the song on tour, I show the back and forth of getting our marriage licenses from thirty years ago and now. I love that song. Once again, it’s the truthfulness of the words. It’s probably one of my favorite songs on the album.”