‘I didn’t know what I was getting into’

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TOGETHER with his siblings he has sold more than 100 million records, has 51 gold and platinum recordings under his belt, a star on the hallowed Hollywood Walk of Fame and features in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest artist to have a Number One record in the UK charts.

It is a record that Jimmy Osmond has held for decades.

“Isn’t that crazy?” he asks, “It’s the 40th anniversary of Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.

“A good song at the right time is unstoppable, and Long Haired Lover from Liverpool – as cheeky as it is, is unique.  Once you hear it, you know it.

“I’ve taken a lot of cheeky hits over it, but in the UK at least, it really let people focus on Jimmy rather than just one of the Osmonds...

“ I can’t help but be grateful that I was part of it,” he acknowledges.

Jimmy is 49 years young, and has spent 47 of those years in the public eye.

Few people, royals apart, have to grow up with the spotlight shining brightly on them.

It’s a unique, strange position to be in. But the Osmonds had the best mentors.

“For showbiz advice we had the privilege of working with Elvis – he’s the one who introduced us to his costume designer Bill Belew, and that’s where all the jumpsuits and flares came from.

“We worked with Frank Sinatra over the years, and he was always so gracious to us.

“I remember one time there was a party we were supposed to go to with all the big recording artists and he called us up and said, ‘I don’t think this is your kind of scene’, when Frank Sinatra tells you that, you don’t go,” he admits.

As much as he felt part of the Osmonds, Jimmy never saw the showbiz career as a long time venture, and opted to look at other opportunities: He got involved in merchandising for the family brand, forged a career in real estate and showed his skills as a producer.

“...but it gets boring,” he counters, “I like performing and interacting with the audience...”

And later this month he’ll do just that, with a return to Boogie Nights in Concert.

The 70s musical begins a 50 date UK tour at the end of January – and visits Milton Keynes Theatre in late February.

Jimmy will top the bill with his brothers Merrill and Jay.

Gareth Gates also returns to the city, joining former EastEnder Louisa Lytton, X Factor finalists Chico and Andy Abraham, and Shane Richie Junior in the jukebox musical.

“This Boogie Nights tour is a project for me, and projects are fun because they end and then you move on to the next,” he explains.

“I know I am going to have fun because it’s with my brothers and is a proven success.

Boogie Nights is a rousing tour through music of yesterday, but what about the industry of today, Jimmy?

“There’s some really great talent, but nowadays it seems like some of the class has gone.

“Maybe that’s me showing my age, but I grew up when people dressed up to go to a show and it was a big deal.

“We are being fed so much information at so many different levels that we have become a little bit complacent as a people.”

Let’s talk reality shows: Among his list, Jimmy appeared in I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.

The easy question is ‘why’?

“Probably stupidity, I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I did some of those shows,” he said.

Jimmy was a popular camp mate though – almost making it to the final.”It wasn’t hard, only being away from my family. I was told I could go and stay at the Versace Hotel, we’d all have a nice vacation and I’d get voted off first ... it didn’t happen that way and I was in there the whole time practically.”

His personality obviously struck a chord with the public.  But Jimmy rationalises it differently.

“When I went in, I had nothing to sell, I didn’t have an album out, nothing.  I went in wanting the adventure and I think people can see the difference in somebody that goes in with that mantra and someone who goes in just to get visibility.”

Ever the busy bee (“There is plenty of time for rest when you are dead”), Jimmy will fill his time on tour working towards another children’s book – he is a keen and accomplished illustrator too.

Essentially though, it all comes back to en famille.

“It’s been a great ride, we probably don’t deserve it, but we’ve had a lot of amazing projects,” he says giving a rather modest nod to the past.

“But at some point you have to enjoy your family too, and you can’t not be in their lives.

“Every day is such a gift..I am trying to enjoy every moment.”

> Boogie Nights in Concert, MK Theatre, February 26 & 27.

Call the box office on 0844 871 7652.