By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Jeffrey Osborne has been a touring musician for 50 years, and he still loves it at much as his L.T.D. days in the 1970s.
“I just love what I do,” Osborne says.
“I grew up in a big family, the youngest of 12. Everybody in my family sang or played music. It’s a big part of my life. We were always singing together.”
Osborne will bring his passion to the Chandler Center for the Arts on Friday, September 30.
“I do a little bit of everything in my show,” he explains.
“I get a lot of requests to do the L.T.D. songs that I recorded back in the day. I do quite a bit of L.T.D. and all of my albums.”
He saves his jazz material, however, for shows specifically geared toward the genre.
“Most are straight-ahead concerts, which is all the hit songs I’ve had over the years,” he adds.
As he mentions, family had — and still has — a heavy hand in his career. His father was an “incredible trumpet player,” and together, Osborne and his family performed together.
Osborne has been married to Sheri Osborne since 1983, and together they have three daughters — Tiffany Nicole, Dawn and Jeanine Osborne — and a son, Jeffrey Jr.
“My first love is in front of people performing,” he says. “I love recording. You really can’t do much unless you have hit records out there.
“But it’s a whole different chemistry having an audience full of people. That’s all I knew growing up. In a family of 12, they had me singing at the age of 3 or 4. I miss those holidays with us altogether. On Christmas, we’d all go out and sing Christmas carols.”
Best known for his songs “On the Wings of Love” and the theme to the soap opera “Loving,” Osborne is inspired by Jeffrey Osborne Jr., his sound engineer.
“He does all my live shows, and he’s very good in the studio,” Osborne says.
“He releases music digitally. These young kids are always putting something out digitally. He sings a little and raps a little. He’s an incredible engineer.”
Osborne’s son, who will do sound at the Chandler show, continually introduces his father to new music, especially while they’re driving together.
“The interesting thing is, they all sound alike to me,” he says with a laugh. “When I was coming up, there were so many distinct voices — you know, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand. Today, it’s hard for me to tell who’s who.”
Osborne’s songs stand the test of time, however, although he contends music has changed in the last five decades.
“I’ve been able to hang in there,” he says.
“A lot of my songs are timeless because people have been married to them. Those are the songs that stay around forever with people’s memories. I’ve had quite a few hit records. I haven’t had an album in a while, though.”
Osborne is unsure when or if a new collection will come, but he knows it will be on his own terms.
“I’m going to do it myself instead of through record companies,” he says.
“I’ll put it out for my fans and see if it catches on. I have quite a few followers, so I hope they’ll want to hear new music from me.”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, September 30
WHERE: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler
COST: Tickets start at $45