Jeffrey Osborne, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, musician and lyricist brought his smooth soulful voice to town for the 2019 Berks Jazz Fest in April.
This was my first time at Berks Jazz Fest, which brings a variety of artists together at different venues throughout the city for two glorious weeks of music.
Jeffrey Osborne puts on an amazing show that celebrates his romantic style. Popping out from behind the audience to take the stage, Osborne kept the audience entertained with songs spanning multiple decades of his career.
Standards like "On The Wings Of Love" to "You Should Be Mine" (The Woo Woo Song), were sprinkled into the set alongside newer material "Work It" and "Worth It All", from his latest release "Worth It All".
Osborne brings every song to life with heartfelt conviction. Even if you go into the show knowing the songs, they somehow seem brand new when performed live by Osborne.
Things came full circle when Jeffrey Osborne, Jr. put his own rap stamp on "Holding On" (When Love Is Gone) a hit for L.T.D.
If you're a fan of well-structured romantic songs, check out Jeffrey Osborne. I sat down to talk with him at the Berks Jazz Fest venue at The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Reading.
Rodeo: How did you first become interested in music?
Jeffrey: Everybody in my family sang or played an instrument so it just came natural to me. I started singing professionally in nightclubs when I was 13 years old. Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island I met the group L.T.D. coming through Providence, and that was really the start of my career.
Rodeo: "On The Wings of Love" is one of your biggest hits. What advice or inspiration can you offer a young person who dreams of recording a hit song?
Jeffrey: A hit song is tricky. It's finding the right lyric to match the melody. There are songs that I've written that I've liked more but the people are the ones who judge what a hit record is and we never know. You need radio to be on it and to have a No. 1 hit, everybody in the country moving at the same time with that record up the charts.
Rodeo: "Love Power" the duet you did with Dionne Warwick, was on the Billboard Charts. Do you approach a duet differently than a song you would sing by yourself, and what do both singers need to make a duet connect with an audience?
Jeffrey: Yeah, you definitely approach it differently because you're working with another artist. I think the most important thing about a duet is to make a song work and not try to stand out as an individual.
Rodeo: You were a part of USA For Africa's "We Are The World". Can you share something about the recording session that isn't well-known? What was it like to be part of that special project?
Jeffrey: That was probably one of the most incredible projects I've ever been a part of. After the American Music Awards we all went up to A&M studio. We didn't get started until midnight and were there until 6 or 7 in the morning. The thing I remember most about that was there was a time when all of us stopped, took our music and we all walked around and everybody signed everybody else's music. I have mine in my studio framed.
Rodeo: In 2012, you created the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation, to support music and arts for children and their families. Tell us about what you would like to accomplish?
Jeffrey: Music education is very important and I think that's how most people got their careers started. I started playing trumpet when I was in elementary school. They had instruments that they gave the children. A lot of public school systems don't have music programs. With my charity we are trying to put music back into the public school system.
I have an organization called Amos House which takes people off the street and feeds people every day. They find them housing so it's more than just music education; it's about things that feel good in the community. I have another organization called St. Mary's Home For Children, that takes in abused children, and so we're trying to cover a little bit of everything.
Rodeo: Of all the projects you have been a part of what are you most proud of and why?
Jeffrey: Just that first opportunity to get a record played on the radio. I think that was the most incredible thing for me to finally hear myself on the radio.
Rodeo: What is the best thing about being nominated for a Grammy?
Jeffrey: The best thing about being nominated is just knowing that you finally gotten to a plateau where your hard work paid off. I think we all strive to be good at what we do and maybe make a difference in someone's life or be recognized, that's instant gratification when you get nominated for a Grammy.
Watch the entire interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTyvu6LJqfI&feature=youtu.be.
Rodeo would like to say thanks to the following people for being super, awesome, and cool: Jeffrey Osborne, Jack Nelson, and Scott Weatherspoon.
Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, age 13, Fleetwood, contributes entertainment columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.