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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
You quizzed 70s pop idol Donny Osmond

Donny Osmond, along with Merrill, Wayne, Alan and Jay formed the infamous 70s family singing group, The Osmonds.

His career has spanned over 35 years. By the time he was a teenager he had become one of the most popular and successful stars in pop history. Chart success included: Puppy Love, The Twelfth of Never and Hey Girl. His new album This is the Moment is released this month.

In 1992, Donny gave up a successful racing career to take the lead role in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice's musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which re-launched his musical career.

What was growing up in the public eye like? What has his greatest achievement been? Is he followed by hordes of adoring fans?

Donny Osmond joined us for a live forum..

To watch coverage of the forum, select the link below:

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Highlights of transcript:


Lynne Gaynor (a lifelong fan) Coventry, England:

When are we going to hear about your British concert dates?


Donny Osmond:

I have no concert dates right now. In about three or four weeks time, I go back to the United States and start my tour there that will last until mid-summer. After that I am going to take some time off with my wife and children and then I will return to the UK and do some European dates. I am not sure when these dates will be announced but on my website donny.com - I have a whole page dedicated to just that.


Newshost:

Describe a Donny Osmond concert - what is the format?


Donny Osmond:

It will be very interesting to find out because I am in the process of putting it together right now. I do want to revisit the past - sing Puppy Love - you have got to do that but mainly I will be concentrating on the new project.


Newshost:

Have you got a big orchestra?


Donny Osmond:

I am going to travel with my core band and then we are going to have string and horn sections picked up in the local areas - so it will be a full orchestra.


Ken Spence, Newcastle, England:

With your experience, have you ever thought about managing a pop group. I would imagine you could give immense guidance.


Donny Osmond:

It is probably true but I have no interest in managing somebody else because I am managing my own career even though I have management and all these people around me. Ultimately it is my decision - they are advisers to me - so in a way I am already a manager.


Newshost:

How much of your own time does it take up managing your career?


Donny Osmond:

It is a full job. You have to look ahead, you have to understand what is going to happen if you do certain things. The nice thing about being in the business for as long as I have - you know from history what will or won't work. So I would imagine I would be a pretty good manager!


Jackie Hudson, Oxford, England:

I have been a fan of yours since 1970 and was wondering, now we are getting a second chance to see more of you, do you mind fans still behaving like star-struck teenagers or would you rather we acted our age?


Donny Osmond:

Oh, it doesn't matter. As a matter of fact I did a show in New York last January and in that show I did Puppy Love and it was so funny to see all these women - 30 to 45 years of age acting like 13 year-old girls. But it was fine - let them act the way they want to act - Puppy Love doesn't just belong to me it belongs to everyone in that age group that is why I do it. Let them act the way they want to act. However, when I did the rest of my show they respected the music - that is what I loved about it. They listened, they knew where I was headed and in what direction I wanted to take my career and they appreciated the music for what it was.


Newshost:

How would you describe the direction that you have taken?


Donny Osmond:

It is lot more sophisticated obviously than singing teeny-bopper songs even though I do enjoy going back and singing Too Young and Twelfth of Never etc. But with the experience I have had in musical theatre it is whole different style of music, it is a whole different direction, it is a whole different me. However it is not something that I am trying so hard to change an image with because I look back on what I was doing in the 80s and its like I say - lighten up a little bit - the unshaven look and the leather jacket. It is more of just who I am now - I am a 43 year-old man.


Newshost:

So now you feel like it is the whole package?


Donny Osmond:

Absolutely. I not trying so hard to be a specific thing to a specific audience.


Peter A. Schofield, Frodsham, Cheshire UK:

How has "social anxiety disorder" (extreme shyness) affected the development of your career, and what advice would you give to other sufferers?


Donny Osmond:

You would think that somebody who has been in the business since five years old that the last thing they would have is shyness about going on stage. But it hit me around 1996 and it came out of the blue. I couldn't go on stage - and having to face my fears direct on and just go on stage and attack them that way was the best thing that ever happened to me in order to get over this hurdle.

You would be surprised how many people in show business have suffered from this problem. But it is nice to be able to just put that to the wayside now.


Newshost:

So did you work through it and come out the other side?


Donny Osmond:

Absolutely.


Newshost:

Do you have any idea where it came from or what it was about?


Donny Osmond:

I don't know to be honest but through lots of therapy it seems to stem from perfectionism - you are just trying to be perfect all the time and there is no way to do that. You just have to relax and enjoy what you do and granted you are going to make mistakes but that is fine.


Newshost:

Did you ever think it isn't worth this appalling stage fright and you were going to give up?


Donny Osmond:

Yes, it came close - very, very close. But I love performing, I love singing, I love getting on stage. So I had to force myself through it.


Newshost:

Peter goes on to ask, does a high-profile career force you to confront your fears head-on?


Donny Osmond:

Absolutely. If you want to stay on stage you can either shut yourself in a closet or face your fears and get rid of it.


Suzy Davies, Llanelli, Wales :

Will you be releasing a single off the new album here in the UK and if so which track will it be?


Donny Osmond:

Probably Seasons of Love but I am not sure yet because we are going to see what the reaction of the album is going to be. In the States everybody is gravitating towards Seasons of Love.


Newshost:

How does the CD balance out with regard to slow and fast tracks?


Donny Osmond:

You would have to hear it. It is strange because Phil Ramone - one of the best producers in the world - produced this album and we took ballads and put rhythm tracks to them and so they are not really considered ballads - it is more a mid-tempo thing. So you can't say - there is a lot of dance music, there is a lot of ballads - it is just a mixture of a lot of things - with the Ramone touch.


Helen White, Abingdon, Oxford, UK:

What are your plans now that the album is finished? Do you plan on doing any more acting in the future?


Donny Osmond:

If the right script, the right property, the right director and producer come along and I feel good about it - I will probably do it.


Newshost:

In what arena - theatre, films, television?


Donny Osmond:

In film probably if the right thing comes up but I am not jumping into film right now. With theatre, I have got a lot of experience there - and there are a couple of properties that I am looking at right now - they want me to come to the West End as a matter of fact and do musical theatre.


Newshost:

What about straight drama - would you go down that road?


Donny Osmond:

Here again if the right property comes along and if it would benefit my career and take me to the next level then I would certainly look at it. Because that is something that every entertainer needs to consider and that is going to the next step - going to the next level. Too many people are satisfied with the status quo - they hit a plateau and that is where they are going to stay. You have got to take chances in show business.


Newshost:

Have you always had a plan?


Donny Osmond:

Yes, but you can't plan too far ahead because things change too much - especially nowadays - doing this on the Internet - who would have thought about this ten - fifteen years ago. The business is going to change even more in the next five, ten, fifteen years. So you can't plan too far ahead, you just have to keep your options wide open and be ready to go anywhere.


Melanie Ling,London England:

Now that you are back in the limelight again and your problems in the early 90s have become better known do you find people react to you differently than when you were famous in the 70s and if so, how?


Donny Osmond:

Absolutely - they treat me differently just by mere age - they are not tearing shirts off or things like that any more - which I am glad about. It is much more now about the music rather than an image.

Although an interesting dynamic has taken place over the last few years since I did Joseph and the video of Joseph. It has gone to a whole new audience - little kids are coming to my concerts now. Here again I refer to that concert last January - I looked out into the audience and there were the women - I call them the Puppy Lovers and then there were little teeny kids and all the way up to grandparents who remember me from the old Andy Williams Show. So it is amazing what has happened over the years - they treat me a lot differently than they did back in the 70s.


Newshost:

How do you play to an audience of that range?


Donny Osmond:

There is the challenge isn't it and I haven't toured in about eleven years because I have been doing musical theatre and the talk show with Marie. So I don't know yet - come May, I will have a better insight to that. What is interesting is that it is a nice challenge for me to have because I am going to give them all kinds of different music - whether it be the Joseph stuff, the 70s or the current material - they will get the whole lot.


Newshost:

So this tour in America this summer, that will be the first time you will be on the road in eleven years? Are you nervous about that?


Donny Osmond:

I am very excited about this tour especially when I bring it over here to the UK.


Richard Newman, Birmingham, England:

If you could have the opportunity to do your career all over again, would you and have you any regrets about it.


Donny Osmond:

I don't know if I would wear the purple socks - I would probably get rid of those! Other than that - no - I think it has been a lot of fun. It has been a roller coaster ride for sure but I wouldn't change it or trade any of it. It has been a fabulous 38 year career.


Richard Salazar Jr., Las Cruces, New Mexico:

Being from a famous family did you always get your way?


Donny Osmond:

No.


Newshost:

Who did?


Donny Osmond:

Marie - being the only girl. We had an interesting system on how everything worked. We all had a voice - our father really made sure of that - that we all had an opinion and we all were heard and that really built self-esteem. It built the fact that we all belonged to a group and we weren't just a bunch of puppets. But ultimately, our father and mother had the choice to make a right decision.

On stage is was Alan - there has always got to be one boss - that is what pulls a lot of groups apart is that everybody tries to be the boss and we respected Alan was the boss. Here again, we all had a voice but we would always look to him and say - "OK, what do we do?"


Mathew O'Brien,Melbourne, Australia:

Can you reveal whether or not there was sibling rivalry in the Osmonds?


Donny Osmond:

Of course there was. We had this image of being the perfect family - we got along - referring back to the previous question - we always acquiesced to whoever was in charge - we may not agree but there has got to be a decision made.

There was some rivalry certainly. When doing the Donny and Marie Talk Show, you work together a lot of hours and you are bound to butt head once in a while. Marie and I would really go at each other off camera.

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See also:

03 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Donny's doting dames
08 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Joseph hits the small screen
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