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There is no easy road to fame and success. Similarly, there isn’t one easy way to keep your limelight shining. But beloved American idol Donny Osmond seems to have it all figured out. At an early age, Donny had to face the realities that came with his reputation. Donny Osmond was a singer, actor, triple-threat television series host with experiences across different talk shows, game shows, and variety shows. He made history by celebrating almost six decades in show business with the release of his 61st album, One Night Only: a live album accompanied by a DVD of his sold-out UK tour in January 2017. Donny has earned 33 gold records, selling over 100 million albums and becoming a worldwide music legend. Listen in as Dan Clark interviews one of the most iconic entertainers of all time, Donny Osmond, and reveals the ways Donny has managed to keep his fame and success throughout adulthood.
Donny Osmond On Managing Fame And Success As A Child And Through Adulthood
This is an interview with one of the most iconic entertainers of all time, Donny Osmond. Each week, I bring you an inspiring message from an extraordinary human being who will share their secrets on how you can tap into your personal power to become everything you were born to be. Thanks for spending some time with me.
In this episode, I’m with my dear long-time friend, Donny Osmond, who has 33 gold records, 20 gold records before the age of thirteen, 65 albums selling 100 million copies and performing 2,000 shows as Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He starred with his sister Marie in a weekly hit tell television show and on Broadway. He was on Dancing with the Stars and headlined the number one show on the Las Vegas Strip from 2008 to 2019.
He is starring in his own solo Vegas show, shares his life of up and down struggles in his climb to the top of his and how he, the amazing and incomparable Donny Osmond, has kept his moral code, his character intact, his focus on family, God and country while keeping his music and showmanship relevant for many years.
Welcome to my show, my old friend. In 1977, I remember the Riviera Apartments. In 1978, you married the beautiful Debra. Your birthday is amazing. You have changed millions of lives, not with your voice, your stage presence and your natural charisma, but because of who you are off stage. Your commitment to faith, to family, to country, to friendship and giving it everything you have got one less would be sufficient. Ladies and gentlemen, before I even ask Donny one question, you need to do whatever you need to do. Pay any price and travel any distance to see him live wherever he is performing.
I have returned from an amazing stint in London, England because Donny gives everything he has got one less it would be sufficient. When you get to get up close, personal and sit in the front few rows, you women will go crazy because his perspiration sprays all over you. He keeps dancing, singing and moving. I’m telling you what, Donny, you have never ever given at half in anything you have done. This is the most amazing human being on the planet. Ladies and gentlemen, Donny Osmond. Let’s talk, brother.
Thank you so much, Dan. That was more than I could have asked for. I do have to correct you on one thing. It is 65 albums, not 62.
I think you turned 63 in 2021 so you couldn’t have been a superstar for 60 years.
I will correct you on that one too. I’m now 64.
Let’s cut right to the chase. You grow up in a family and describe your siblings, all of them, not the four famous brothers and your little sister. Teach the world about your entire cadre of siblings growing up in this amazing family with your dad and beautiful mom.
You hit it right there on the head. The foundation or the crux of it all was my mom and dad. They walk the walk and talk to talk. I never saw any hypocrisy in their lives. My father was strict and we knew the boundaries. We did not appreciate it as children but as adults, I appreciate the fact that I knew where the boundaries were. My mom would always have that loving shoulder to cry on, to hold and that tender touch.
They were the perfect combination. It is the perfect example for me of what a marriage should be like. When I married my sweetheart, I made a vow and a promise that I would treat her like a queen, like my dad treated my mom. I never heard him swear and raise his voice to her. I’m sure that there were some disagreements and arguments, whatever but I never saw them.
He taught us the value of work. That work ethic has stayed with me in my entire life and all of my siblings. We have worked hard for the successes that we had. We had some trials and challenges, as everybody has in life. Our life is an open book. Everybody knows that we have gone through ups and downs. Back in the early ‘80s, we lost everything financially. We had to rebuild but life has a tendency to throw curveballs at you at some time. I wrote a song about it on my new album. The album is called Start Again.
It talks about you have been through some problems. This is the bridge. I said, “Life is not always simple because you have stumbled and crawled but things will always work out. You see, I have been there. Yeah. I have been there before.” When I wrote that, I came up with that and I thought, “Wow.” It is prolific in the fact that I have the ability to say, “Things would get better,” and sometimes people say to themselves, “You have no idea what I’m going through.” No, we do not know what people are going through until we walk in their shoes but I’m grateful for the hard times that myself and my entire family have been through because we can be empathetic towards others.
You have to dig yourself out of a hole every once in a while in life because life can be tough on everyone. Whether it be career health, financial, political or whatever it might be. Having an attitude of gratitude is what we are grown up to learn to live by and be grateful for what you have and not for what you do not have.
One of the most intriguing questions that everyone wants to know the answer to is, in this crazy world of entertainment, the temptations and the ups and downs, as you have described, how have you been able to maintain your good, clean, pure, powerful and positive image of Donny Osmond? I want you to share with the readers, at what juncture in your life did you receive phone calls from your contemporary, Michael Jackson and others saying, “Donny, maybe you change your name. Maybe you should go get arrested for possession of drugs.”
Even though it is a joke and a scam, it might make you that hardcore hipster. Yet you have maintained this unbelievable high level of integrity. When people hear the name Donny Osmond, it has never wavered in our minds and our hearts of the superstar human being that you are, regardless of how superstar you have been on stage. Take us through some of those experiences where you struggled with, “What is my next move? What do I do? How do I get a record plate on the radio,” and the history behind Soldier of Love. I’m going to stop talking and let you talk.
Life’s not always simple. You stumble and crawl, but things will always work out.
Let’s go back to Debbie for a second. How do you maintain a career? How do you maintain popularity or relevancy? We need a little scandal. As Bonnie Raitt said, “Let’s give him something to talk about.” Yeah. There was a plan for me to get busted for drugs in the whole bit and it would have worked for five minutes. I would have been on newspapers and news outlets all over the world for five minutes.
What would have happened later on in my life, Dan, when I started having children, “Dad, why did you do that?” What about my grandkids, “Grandpa, why did you sell out for five minutes of notoriety?” Not popularity but notoriety. We find it happening nowadays with social media, people doing outlandish and outrageous things to get a little bit of fodder out there and some likes. It is a dangerous place to be in life.
You can only imagine how in this world of show business, the temptations are amazing. They are always there, especially when you are a teenager or whatever but more importantly when you are an adult. Let’s be honest with each other here. It is everywhere. I could indulge in anything I wanted to do but I always think back to a great quote that Paul Newman said one time when someone asked him, “Why don’t you go have an affair and live life a little bit, enjoy yourself because you are so loyal to your wife?” He said and I love this quote, “Why settle for a hamburger when you got steak at home?”
Isn’t that a great quote? I love that and that is the way I apply life to my sweetheart. Why would I want to ruin something beautiful? What would happen to my children, my grandchildren and completely lose respect? It is exciting. It is five minutes of thrills or whatever it might be. Is it worth it? No, not in the long run. It is not worth it. That is what keeps me on the straight and narrow in that respect. Let’s talk about it from a career point of view. You mentioned Soldier of Love.
You hadn’t had a hit for how long until Soldier of Love came.
I lost my recording career when The Donny & Marie Show started. I had the Donny & Marie recording career but the television show propelled that but as far as the solo artist is concerned, nothing was happening. It was from 1976 to 1989. After the Donny & Marie show ended, I started recording again while I’m trying to back on the charts. It is a four-letter word, Dan. It is called WORK. It is a lot of work. You got to get out there and not promote yourself.
In my situation, I was not starting from ground zero. I was starting below ground zero because the name Donny Osmond was a joke. Let’s be honest with each other. In the ‘80s, if you mentioned the name, Donny Osmond, you would start laughing and in certain circles even nowadays. I was reading an article about how Donny Osmond has struggled to get above his image. Open your eyes a little bit more and see what is going on now. Quit living in the ‘70s and the ‘80s but it is taken a lot of work, Dan, to get to that point and stick to your values.
Now, let’s go to the getting busted for drugs. It would have worked but I remember making a promise to myself that I would never do anything outlandish for the sake of being popular. If I was going to be successful in this business, I wanted to do it with my talent and nothing more than that. It is easy to go out there, do something scandalous to get fodder going on and get everybody talking about you. I’m not interested in that. I want people to love my music. This show that I’m doing in Las Vegas right now is so satisfying to me to be able to see that crowd at the end of the show with smiles on their faces, enjoying themselves for the last 90 minutes and said, “What a journey we went on.”
Raj Kapoor is one of the most talented directors. He is in charge of the Grammys and the Oscars. He is one of the best in the business. He directed my show for me. I called him up one day. I said, “Raj, we are trying to fit 60 years of show business into a 90-minute show. I got an idea, what if I did like Hamilton and I do a rap.” Crickets on the other end of the phone.
All of a sudden, Dan, I hear him start to laugh. He said, “Donny, that is the greatest idea I have ever heard of my life. Donny Osman rapping. We have got to do it.” Keith Harrison, my music director, he and I started putting this thing together. He wrote this and it was going to be originally called 6 and 6, 6 decades in 6 minutes. There is too much content. It is now a ten-minute rap.
It goes, “It all began back in Utah. I was four years old. I started singing with my brothers and the sound was like, go. My folks took a leap and said, what the heck? We got to get these monsters out to California.” It keeps going and faster. By the time it was over, everybody was like, “You got to be kidding me.” I even say, “You got to be kidding. I did all that.”
The first time I did it, Dan, I thought I made a big mistake because the first time in front of an audience, I had no reaction. I thought people would say, “I remember that and they applaud at the end.” They were doing nothing during the rap. Finally, in the end, everything exploded. It was massive applause. I realized there is no time to react because, by the time they react, I’m onto something else. It is one of the most fun parts of the show.
Another fun part and this plays into how much I’m enjoying my career right now is the fact that I put all 65 albums on the big screen behind me and for about 10 or 15 minutes, it is all improv. We do not know what is going to happen. I turn the show over to the audience and I say, “I’m going to let you pick any song from any album that I have done in my entire life.” We do it. We do maybe 5 or 6 songs before we move on to One Bad Apple and we finish it up with One Bad Apple. It is so fun because people have stories about a certain song and whatever it might be. It is a fun show to do.
It is more than serendipitous because that is your career. What is next? It is a ten-minute rap with no time to rest. Let’s keep moving on. Talk about you being contemporary with Michael Jackson. How close was that friendship? Did he ever call you when you were down and had the upswing but the downswing? Did he ever call you with any advice?
I asked him for some advice. I was one of the first ones to hear Thriller. He needed a ride over to see Quincy at A&M Records. I said, “I will give you a ride.” He put in a cassette of Thriller and started playing it for me. The level was eleven and it was unbelievable. After he played Thriller, I said, “Mike, how do I get back out on the charts? How do I do this?” He said something quite offensive. He said, “Donny, your name is poison. You got to change your name.” I said, “I have worked too hard to establish a name.” He said, “But that is the problem.”
Years later, I realized he was right because that is how Soldier of Love became a hit. The radio station started playing it but they were embarrassed to say that they were playing Donny Osmond’s music. They played the record because they loved the music and the requests were crazy but they disclosed who the artist was. Michael was right all along. The name got in the way and the music spoke for itself.
Life can be tough on everyone, but you need to have an attitude of gratitude.
Let’s go back to when they wanted me to get busted for drugs. I said, “I’m going to let my music speak for me.” That is exactly the way it all happened. In my opinion, you are going to gain much more longevity in a career when it is based upon talent and not hype or any scandalistic thing that is your intention to create hype because you have no foundation to fall back on.
I tell some funny stories and experience of whatever and then I will go into a song and sing it. I’m getting a little philosophical here but there is an interesting philosophy when it comes to producing a show. Many producers and artists miss the mark because they think, “I have to throw as much money at this show as I possibly can to create eye candy.” That might work for some stadium shows and stuff like that.
That is why I love the room that I’m in here in Las Vegas because it is a smaller, intimate and more intimate room. I can shut down the production, the dancing, the visuals, whatnot with a mic and a spotlight and sing a song. That’s what Frank and Andy did and I learned from these people. Elvis did it. He was the king of rock and roll. You talk about excitement on stage now, the bar has been raised ever since that but back in the day, it was the ultimate excitement, his dancing, singing, all that stuff but then he would shut everything down. “Give a spotlight. I have a love song tonight.” The way he sang it melted the guy’s heart.
I saw him live in 1973. I was one of fourteen men in the entire Salt Palace of thousands of women like your live shows in Vegas.
My career has always been predominantly female. That is what it was. My teeny bopper-based career was all females. The guys hated me. They were into Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and all that stuff. The furthest thing they wanted to hear was Donny Osmond. When we came out with Crazy Horses, it was like, “Really?”
Ozzie Osbourne told me Crazy Horses is one of his favorite rock and roll songs.” I thought, “In your face, guys.” The other night something interesting happened to me. There was this guy in the front row and I do not know what happened to me but I reverted back to my teen years because he was not reacting at all. I thought, “This guy hates me. His wife dragged him here. He can’t stand it.”
Finally, at the end of the show, “Let’s stop the dance tonight.” The place is going crazy. We are dancing, “You and me together.” We are having so much fun and the show ends. He is the first one up on his feet, rips his mask off and he is smiling as big as he can. I could not see his face but he was having a great time. It took me back saying, “That whole dynamic of my teens is over.” It is so fun to even see the guys having a great time at my concerts.
To your credit, what we do is appreciate your work ethic. It comes out in every song and every move. We appreciate your longevity and consistency with integrity and love of music and life. My wife pulls up a video of you singing The Prayer. To see how you hit every note and how you embraced every emotion of every lyric and dovetailed right into the perfect harmony with that gentleman Italian. It was such a feather in your cap that what would have been fun is to do a side-by-side of you when you were thirteen on stage with your long hair and to see the quality of your voice has never changed.
It has not changed in your commitment to bringing in every song. It is amazing. I want to ask you, what is your first memory of growing up in a home with harmony everywhere? It begs the question, can people learn to harmonize and sing? Can monotone folks learn to carry a tune? Were you born into this family and tight harmonies were part of your church service, dinner table and family gatherings? Talk to us about your youth, how you caught the vision that this was extraordinary for you to be able to do that as brothers and a sister.
You are talking to someone who has been singing all of his life. It is easy for me to say it is a learned skill. It is not a gift. I do not know any other way to say it but I think it is learned. I never was trained but I always had my brother singing harmonies around me. When I got the opportunity to audition for Andy Williams, when I was five, I had been singing since I was four around the house with the brothers.
My dad would say, “Come on, join the group. Sing lead with us.” That is why I say it is a learned skill because all it is is a muscle. Your vocal cords are a muscle and you just harmonize. I’m going to turn this into a vocal lesson. I’m sorry but some people sound great in the shower but they should record themselves and play it back.
That is what my dad did but he would record it. We had this little Craig tape recorder. He would record us and play it back. We will hear ourselves sing. If you want to become a singer, sing into your phone and play it back. Do not sing in the shower because everything sounds great in there or find a song that you love, go online, find a karaoke version of it and record your voice on it.
I have got a story that popped into my mind. This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I get a call from a friend of mine and her name is Deena Katz. She said, “We are doing a show and it is going to be called The Masked Singer. You are the first person I’m calling. I said, “Explain it to me.” She said, “We are going to have all these contestants. They all wear masks. Nobody knows who you are and all you do is sing. We see who wins.”
I said, “Hold on. I will call you right back.” I called my manager. I said, “Jim, there is a show called The Masked Singer. It is going to be on Fox. I need you to find out is it real? Is there any money behind this?” He said, “I will call my friends at Fox.” He called me back about an hour later. He says, “Donny, it is real. There are millions of dollars behind this show.” I called Deena back. I said, “I’m in. Let’s do it.” The producers called me and said, “What’s the first song you want to sing?” I was the first one. I started this whole franchise and I said, “The perfect song to start this is The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman.”
The producers went over to the publisher and said, “You can’t have the song.” I said, “Why not?” “It sounds like a stupid show. Everybody was wearing a mask. We have to protect our music.” They called me and said, “Donny, they won’t clear it and explained why.” I said, “No, I do not take that for an answer. Give me a day.” I found a karaoke version of The Greatest Show and I put my voice on it, “Ladies and gents, this is the moment you have been waiting for.”
I did a whole version of it. I sent it to the producers. I said, “Walk this back over to the publisher.” They walked it in and the guy said, “Dude, I told you, you can’t have the song.” I said, “Just listen to this.” They played it. Afterward, he looked at him and said, “Who is that?” He said, “We can’t tell you. All we can say is he is going to be a peacock.” He said, “Based upon what I heard, the song is yours.” I got the song. It all gets down to what I was saying earlier, “Do not sing in the shower. Record yourself, hear it back and then perfect those little things.”
Learn to live by and be grateful for what you have and not for what you don’t have.
When you do scales, hit the note and then create all of these tools that you can grab. I’m going down rabbit holes. Why jazz is such an important technique is because you grab these tools that you honed inside you. You have all these cards up your sleeves that you can pull at any time. You have all these little different tricks that you can pull immediately. My mom would always say, “Prepare yourself and the opportunity will come.” The Masked Singer was the opportunity. I was prepared and I nailed it but T-Pain won. I almost won it but T-Pain got it from me.
Let’s start to wrap up and reminisce. A tough question, of all the songs that you have recorded, what stands out as one of your top ones that means so much that still has the same impact on the audience that it did the first time you sang it?
I got the song and it is going to surprise you. It is Puppy Love. Do you know why?
I have told this story before. Forgive me if I’m repeating something that you already know. It happened to me in 1989.
When did you first record it?
It was in ‘72 and I was thirteen years old maybe. It was done live with a full orchestra. The same conductor and arranger that used to do it for Frank Sinatra did it for me. My producer at the time was in the booth and everybody was live. Here is the experience that changed my life and why I say, “Puppy love.” Interestingly enough it was exactly 50 years ago, in 2022, that I had recorded or released Puppy Love.
I’m out on tour. Soldier of love is now a hit and I’m doing a setlist and Puppy Love is not on the setlist. I’m at the Count Basie Theater in New Jersey. I can’t remember the theater and the places packed. The audience is into it but every once in a while somebody yells out, “Sing Puppy Love.” The more they say it, the angrier I get.
Finally, I stopped the show. I turned around to the band, off-mic. I said, “Guys, I can’t take this anymore. Give me a heavy metal version of Puppy Love.” The band thought, “This is fantastic.” “They call it puppy love.” The audience is funny, obligatory giving me a little bit of applause. After the show was over, I walked out the stage door to get onto the tour bus and this lady stopped me.
She said, “Why did you make fun of Puppy Love?” In a very cocky way, I said, “It is my song. I can do what I want to do with it.” She said something, Dan, that stopped me in my tracks. She said, “You may have had a hit with that song but Puppy Love was a big part of my childhood memories. You have no right to mess with my memories.”
I stopped and I realized that woman was right. It does not just belong to me. The reason I say Puppy Love is because, yes, I had bigger records. Go Away Little Girl was a huge record for me. My first number one, One Bad Apple, Soldier of Love, Sacred Emotion, Who, my latest single, I love that song but Puppy Love defined who I was and who I am in a way I grew up and embraced the past. We all do that the older we get. It is the third song on my setlist. I do not make fun of it anymore. I sing it legitimately with a beautiful arrangement. I allowed people to relive those memories back in 1972, 1973, just like I did and treated them with respect. I’m going to say, “Puppy Love.”
You have five amazing sons, two of whom I know. The one I became good buddies in my world, as you know, with Donny Jr. The question is, how tough would it be to grow up as Donny Osmond’s son? Your children and grandchildren have turned out so well. Teach us how you have managed to balance celebrity dad, “He spilled on his shirt on a Sunday meal, dad,” and the real Donny Osmond.
Help us understand how you have been able to segregate, if necessary or amalgamate the famous from the family man, from behind the scenes, from when we met in your living room and we were reminiscing on stories growing up. We laughed about so many of the kids’ stories. He is all about, “Put on your parenting hat now, put on your spouse hat.”
Debra treats everyone as if they are her friends. That is the most amazing attitude of gratitude of any superstar I have ever met. It teaches how you consciously make sure that that works so that your kids know that they are not Donny Osmond’s son. They have an identity. They are born on this Earth to become everything that they were born to be and they do not need to live in your shadows. It seems like you have always refused to let them live in your shadows. They have become men in their own right.
I’m not going to paint a rosy picture here because it was not all rosy for them. I would rather them speak for themselves because I do not want to put words in their mouths but from my perspective, it was difficult being Donny Osmond’s son, particularly Donny Osmond Jr. Don and I have had so many wonderful conversations about this but at the end of the day, he loves the perks of being Donny Osmond Jr.
I do not want anything to do with business. He runs a multimillion-dollar 401(k) company in Austin, Texas. He loves it. Sometimes, he will take advantage of the fact, “That is my dad.” People will say, “You got an interesting name.” He said, “I know. That is my dad.” One time Jeremy was in first grade and we were living in Irvine, California at the time. He comes home and he stares at me. I’m thinking, “What is the matter. I do not do anything about it.” He is constantly staring at me. I walk up to him and say, “Jeremy, what is the matter?” He says, “Dad, you are a star.” I said, “What makes you say that?” He said, “My teacher is in love with you.”
In a way, we all grow up and learn to embrace the past.
My third son, Brandon, he and I were having a father and son moment, a nice heart-to-heart talk in our living room one day. I do not let anything get in the way between those father and son discussions. They are wonderful. My phone rings and I see the caller ID. I said, “Brandon, I’m so sorry. I got to take this call.” He said, “That is okay, dad.” I said, “How are you?”
He could hear. That is when I lost my dad, “I want to say, I’m so sorry that your dad passed away.” We spoke for about five minutes. I said, “That is so kind of you.” I finally said, “Thanks, Michael. See you later. Bye-bye.” Brandon looked at me and said, “Was that Michael Jackson?” I said, “It was Michael Jackson.” Brandon told me years later. He said, “I went from you being a dad to you being a superstar that knows Michael Jackson.”
The reason I’m telling you all these things is because there are fun times. There are perks but there are some bad times too because kids can be cruel in school and make fun of you. The bullying that went on with my children certainly did happen. There are good and bad. I do not want to put words in my kids’ mouths but they have such a wonderful mom and I have always tried to teach them along with Debbie, teaching them to treat people the way you want to be treated. If somebody is mean to you, kill them with kindness and revenge can hurt you. Be kind. We need a little more kindness in this world.
The Irvine days with Peter Vidmar and dear friend, Gordon Jump. All the gang in your neighborhood, I knew all of them. That was so crazy. You and I may have not connected as deeply as we are now but that was quite the neighborhood there in Irvine. Where are your shows? Where do we find tickets? I need to ask you one more final question.
I’m now the new face of Harrah’s. They got my face on the front of the building now. We opened up here on August 31st, 2021. I have been doing this for a long time. You never know if it is going to stick. You do your best, you try your hardest and surround yourself with the best people but at the end of the day, you do not know if it is going to work.
A lot of people said, “It is not going to be as good as The Donny & Marie Show and all that stuff. You are nothing without Marie.” No, I’m nothing without Marie when it comes to The Donny & Marie Show. This show encompasses Donny & Marie’s elements, The Osmond’s elements, my career but I did roll the dice. I got sevens, I will say it because it is working. I found out that I got the Best Residency and Best Performer in Las Vegas.
You had the number one show. I go way back with Chip Lightman back and Danny Gans. We used to do corporate events together all the time. That is when I first met Chip and I know the story bout it.
They were our original producers when The Donny & Marie Show first came to Vegas. They rolled the dice on us.
Advice to anyone in the music business, you bring it every night. I laugh when I speak, I stand up and I say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to take you on an emotional roller coaster ride and maybe conclude by lip-syncing three Britney Spear songs so you will never be the same when they always laugh but more truth than humor.”
When someone comes to your show, I think the reason why you have such longevity is that we appreciate not your talent but your artistry and your commitment to giving it everything you have got. Advice to young entertainers, folks who dream of being on stage either as a dancer, is a dear family friend with her daughter and is friends with my daughters and my connection with Marie.
It is the whole connection that we have as families and mutual friends. What advice do you have to someone who wants to make it as an entertainer, dancer, singer, musician or anything in your industry? What is the bottom line advice you would give any parent to encourage them in any young man or young woman who wants to pursue and eventually become the new Donny?
One of the things we are lacking these days is patience and work ethic. You got to be patient with yourself because we are living in a day and age where you want everything and you want it now. We can, with the advent of Amazon and things like that. You have things at your fingertips. There is a word that goes back to biblical time to scripture time. It is called long-suffering.
It is not suffering but the interpretation of that word is hard work and patience with yourself. If you are going to be in this business and want a long career, expect the ups and downs, the hard knocks, the good and the bad because it is good to taste bitter so you appreciate the sweet. You will taste the bitter, believe me, if you jump into show business, no matter how good you are, no matter how talented you are. I could write several books, volumes on that one.
I will go back to that four-letter word, work. If you want to do this and you want to be in the business, you better love it because it is going to take a lot of work. You got to climb a mountain. Once you summit that mountain, there is another mountain in front of you that you got to summit as well and it is never-ending.
With that, enjoy the journey. Enjoy what you do because, at one point in time, I did not. I acquired a terrible case of anxiety because I had to be perfect and the greatest advice anyone ever gave me, including the best psychiatrists out there, was my wife. When one night, I could not go on stage, this was during the Joseph years. I called and he understood. I said, “You got to go on for me. I can’t do this show.” She turned to me and she said, “Donny, why do not you do yourself and the audience a favor? Do an average job tonight.”
The interesting thing about that is that because I have such a type-A personality and I work hard at what I do and I get 110%. Every show that I do, no matter how tired I might be, an average job is way above average but it gave me license to enjoy what I was doing. Even if I made a mistake, I would enjoy it. It happened in Las Vegas. I was doing a song and I can’t remember what it was. I cracked a note and I stopped. I stopped the music. I stopped everything.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
I said, “You came to hear me sing a song and I did not do a very good job. I’m going to do it again.” The audience loved it. I learned that from Sammy Davis Jr. You couldn’t do it too many times because people do not have patience for too many mistakes but enjoy what you do. If you are going to jump into business, it is going to be hard work so you better enjoy it.
Donny, I want to have your back. I’m coming to Vegas to see your show.
I will get you the worst seat in the house, buddy.
I appreciate it. I will be that guy who takes off my mask so you finally recognize me on the nineteenth row and I will be cheering.
I want you to see this. It is the journey. Let’s put it that way. That is the word I used.
I will be down sooner or later and thank you for joining us. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Donny Osmond, who started at the age of four on the Andy Williams Show. He quickly took the limelight away from his brothers, Marie and everyone else on the planet. I love you, brother. I honor you. You epitomized everything that I’m about, character, consistency and everything I dream to be. You epitomized every day of your life. Thank you.
Thank you, Dan. It’s good to see you. Have a wonderful day.