Facebook Twitter

This guy’s in love . . . with the Salt Lake audience

Donny Osmond will perform for the hometown crowd on Tuesday

SHARE This guy’s in love . . . with the Salt Lake audience

Donny Osmond knows that when he plays Salt Lake City the audience expects a lot from him.

"It's a different situation than other places," Osmond said by phone from his home in Provo. "You have neighbors and family members that are there, who have known you since you were a kid. So, yeah, it's different playing for the hometown crowd. But it's also nice because you know the audience."

This time around, Osmond said he focused more on the set list and the music than the effects and presentation. "I want people to hear the music. There's a saying in the music business that goes, 'When the audience is going home, they can't hum lights.' And it's true. I want them to remember the music, not just the light show."

So Osmond scaled down the light show and is playing with a four-piece band. "Also this concert is based around the new album ("What I Mean to Say"), which was released last December. There are songs on this album that I want the audience to hear."

One of those songs is his remake of Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You." "I actually covered the song when I was 14. I sang it as an 'I-love-you-and-need-you-even-though-I'm-only-a-kid' song. You really can't sing a song like that at 14 and get all the meaning. So I wanted to re-record it as an adult, to get that desperate confidence thing going. It's more like an 'I-know-I-will-get-you' song now."

But Osmond says that's not the only exciting thing about this album. "The album has surpassed my expectations. It hit the charts at No. 26. That was good news. Also, this album is more like a smooth-jazz album. And smooth jazz is usually linked to those musicians who are considered serious musicians.

"That's not to say I'm not," Osmond added quickly with a laugh. "I've been in this business for more than 40 years, but I don't think a lot of people consider me a smooth-jazz artist."

"What I Meant to Say" actually started off as an acoustic album, he explained. "But things evolved, and we began arranging the songs and had a batch of something like 30 songs we had to whittle down to 12."

Other songs on the album are Osmond originals "Keep her in Mind," "In It for Love" and "Whenever You're in Trouble," just to name a few.

" 'Whenever You're in Trouble,' as I've said in other interviews, is the most personal to me," Osmond said. "My son Brandon was serving his mission and e-mailed me because he was missing home. I wrote that song for him. I also had my mother in mind when I was writing that song. She died last year."

Although the concert will spotlight the new album, Osmond said he knows he'd be lynched if he didn't sing his old songs. "I have concocted a jazz rendition of 'Puppy Love' that I sing at the piano. I also do things from the 'Soldier of Love' era and, of course, songs from 'Joseph.'

"When I choose a set list I go back and look at the ones that everyone wants to hear and the ones that I like. It can get interesting and difficult because I know there will be some songs that will be left out of the show that people want to hear."

In addition to the new album, Osmond and his recording label, Decca Records, have released a live DVD, "Live in Edinburgh Castle." "The European tour last year was amazing. We had taped a few shows, and I had released a previous DVD of one of the shows and didn't like it. When we got to Edinburgh, there were 14,000 people there. And I knew we had to tape it. I enjoyed that show so much that I knew I wanted to make a DVD of it."

If you go

What: Donny Osmond

Where: Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $34-$40

Phone: 355-2787 or 888-451-2787

Web: www.arttix.org

E-mail: scott@desnews.com