The legendary Osmonds have carved out a long and illustrious career in show business and in Jimmy Osmond’s current show, Moon River And Me, he tips his hat to the man who helped in creating their legacy, the great Andy Williams.
Jimmy Osmond is the youngest member of the famous family and has had a successful career in his own right as a solo artist, accumulating six gold records, one platinum record, and two gold albums.
Speaking to us from sunny Utah in the USA, Jimmy told us all about his show ‘Moon River And Me’ and how he’s had a busy but enjoyable summer.
“I love it here. My family's from here and it's been a really fun summer but I'm ready to get back on the road now and some fun there” said Jimmy.
“We’ll be heading out September 3rd and coming to Ireland first and then the UK before heading back to my theatre here in the US before returning to the UK once again. That will be me until January so I'll be hitting the road pretty hard, but my family will be with me so we'll have a good time.
Jimmy has had a long and successful career in the business and it is clear that his passion for performing still remains strong. “I just finished 54 one nighters which is enough to kill a guy but I love it. I love what I do and I love meeting people. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Ireland to enjoy the beautiful countryside. I love it there” said the legendary singer.
“I love the people and the diversity of places I get to go to. I have to pinch myself everyday. I m 55, started when I was three and I am still doing it and people still come to see us. It’s just such an honour. I like to stick around after the shows too, to meet people and make friends” said Jimmy.
Jimmy speaks of his mentor with great fondness, revealing how close his own family were to late great Andy Williams. “He was like family to me” revealed Jimmy.
“He was great. He had a big heart and he demanded excellence in everything that he did. You never saw Andy Williams not dressed up to the nines. He also demanded that of us too. He surrounded himself in that in whatever he did whether be videography, costumes or sets or musical directors, and he gave us those same people which allowed us to have that sound and career that we have had.
“I have been going over 50 years now in showbiz and none of that would have happened without Andy Williams.
“He was the guy that gave my family our big break in showbiz and he introduced us to all the who's who of Hollywood and we had a long career with him. I started performing on his show as a three year old boy but never in a million years would I have thought that he would want me to continue his legacy” revealed Jimmy.
In 2014 Jimmy took over the operations of the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri, part of the legacy in which he speaks with great affection.
“This show was first produced really for my theatre, but then people from around the world had heard about it.
“I become a friend of the great Daniel O’Donnell and his wife Mary. His crew and all his people played my theatre for a couple of years and they kept saying ‘hey Jimmy, this music that you are singing here is some of our favourite tunes in Ireland you really have to bring it’. I kept wanting to do it for several years and finally our promoter believed in it and decided to bring it across.
“It's got lots of footage and great songs and memories. But the show’s not just about me, it’s got Charlie Green from Britain’s Got Talent who is an amazing singer, and we also have the Moon River Band. We have these big LED screens which show everyone from the Kennedy’s to Bob Hope and Elvis, all the people who we have worked with over the years.
“That’s what so nice about the Moon River and Me show. Andy Williams was part of all of these great artists legacies. A lot of people don’t realise that but when you see the footage you’ll realise that he worked with Elton John, Elvis Presley, you name it. We ended up working with those people because they were his friends. That’s why he was such an important figure in my life and the lives of my siblings. He really stuck his neck out for us and helped us” said Jimmy.
“Initially when I produced the show I was not in it, but everybody thought that we needed someone who was actually there and who sang these hits with Andy.
“Then of course, in our shows people want to hear our own hits, because we had quite a run of hits thanks to Andy and thanks to a lot of people who stuck with us over the years so some of those will be there as well. The idea is to take people back to that day. It’s a real intimate kind of show.” said Jimmy.
And his favourite song from the show? “I still love ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ revealed Jimmy. “People love that song and they love to sing it, especially when they get to ‘I love you Baby’ and the whole crowd goes crazy.
“As far as Osmond’s songs, I still love our hit ‘Love Me For A Reason’ and I do that in the show as a tribute to my family and our career together. Also one of my other favourite songs is Love Story. I kind of sing it like how Natalie Cole sang it with her dad where Andy is on the screen and he’s singing a counter melody and people seem to really like that.
“I don’t pretend to sing like Andy Williams, nobody could sing like him, but I think when people hear these songs it does take them back to those easier days.”
Following the Moon River and Me tour, Jimmy revealed that he will be back on the road once more for his next show, the Jimmy Osmond's 70's Jukebox Show. At the minute, the tour is not scheduled for an Irish stop but he would love to bring it to Irish shores.
“I have no plans right now, but I would love to. Once the Moon River and Me show is just finishing we I go straight into my Jimmy Osmond's 70's Jukebox Show which is great fun. I sing hits and show footage of me with Neil Diamond and all the artists who I sang with fom Earth WInd & Fire, Michael Jackson, you name it. These were people that I knew and grew up around so it’s really kinda cool to sing these songs and cover all the great hits of the 70s with the people who were my friends.
“If the audience want to hear a couple of those songs, I’m happy to have the band kick into it so they can scream out whatever they want from Sweet Caroline to Blame it on the Boogie and we’ll do it” laughs Jimmy.