Merrill Osmond rose to fame as the lead singer of one of the most successful musical families of all time, becoming a household name and going on to perform both with his family and as a solo artist. JLife’s Laura Sefton spoke to him to discover what the singing star is up to now.
You rose to fame as part of the famous Osmond family and you are still performing today, both with your brothers and as a solo artist. Who decided that singing would be your future?
We were discovered by Walt Disney and later appeared on The Andy Williams Show for many years. I was only four years old when I first appeared. I have great memories of Andy Williams and many tender moments. At such a young age though I was slightly afraid of him as he was our boss!
How do you think the world of entertainment has changed over the years?
Today it seems singers have instant gratification. Reality shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor allow people to become instant superstars overnight and it seems years of work are not required.
Which is your favourite Osmonds hit?
Let Me In. I still enjoy singing that one after all these years
And is there one song you don’t enjoy singing anymore?
Yes, One Bad Apple! It was one of our greatest hits and our first number one.
Is there anyone you would still love to duet with one day?
Paul McCartney. We have been friends for many years. I appeared with Susan Boyle last year, which was another highlight of my career.
What music do you like to listen to?
I’ve always enjoyed Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.
You’re set to perform on at Sant Angelo in Wetherby Valentine’s Day and it sounds like it will be a fabulous way to celebrate the most romantic day of the year. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done?
I took my wife, Mary, on a date before we were married to The Sundance Ranch and to meet Robert Redford. We have been married now for 43 years.
Of all of the accolades that you have achieved over the years, is there one that stands out?
The family was honoured to receive a Hollywood Star. This was a memorable recognition for us all.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I have always been a rocker. I did a solo rock tour in June of this year, which was a great success and I am planning the second rock tour for June 2017. I will be doing six dates in the UK.
You are doing a lot of solo dates now but what’s the best thing about singing with your brothers?
We all do our own dates, but when we do perform together there is a ‘oneness’ that comes easily after performing together for over 55 years.
You are patron of The Hearing Fund UK, the charity your son Justin founded. Can you tell us about this?
The Hearing Fund UK started as a dream of my mother’s. The two eldest Osmond brothers were both born deaf and we started singing as children to raise money to help buy hearing aids for them. My son, Justin, is also 95% deaf and continued my mother’s dream through our charity.
We raise money to pay for private music lessons and instruments for deaf children in the UK who otherwise would not know the gift of music. We also supported a mission in Bangladesh this year where over 500 deaf children were provided with hearing aids. We hold an annual gala each year in Leeds to help raise funds and awareness.
Complete the sentence: ‘If I wasn’t a singer I would be…
…a doctor. I have a healing programme called Serenity, which is a therapeutic weekend where guests enjoy treatments combined with music.
To find out more about Merrill’s rock tour dates and Serenity, visit Merrillosmond.com. For tickets or sponsorship for the annual gala in Leeds, visit Thehearingfund.org.uk.