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Joan Osborne

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Singer Joan Osborne was born on July 8, 1962, in the town of Anchorage, KY, but it wasn’t until relocating to New York City in the early ’90s (to study at N.Y.U.’s film school) that she began to take a singing career seriously after singing Billie Holiday’s classic “God Bless the Child” at a local bar’s “open mic night.” In addition to Holiday, Osborne looked to such legendary vocalists as Etta James and Ray Charles as role models, as the up-and-coming singer decided not to cater to major record companies and formed her own label, Womanly Hips, which resulted in such releases as 1992’s in-concert Soul Show, among others. But eventually, Osborne decided to sign on with a major label, Mercury, which in turn issued the singer’s next release, ‘Relish,’ in March 1995. The album eventually racked up sales of three million copies and proved to have a long life, as almost a year after its initial release the track “One of Us” became a massive MTV and radio smash, camping out at the number-one spot on the U.S. singles chart for 2 weeks. Other tracks (“Right Hand Man” and “St. Teresa”) failed to match the success of Osborne’s first hit, but the singer still managed to connect with a large and appreciative audience, especially while touring as part of the 1997 edition of Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair tour. Osborne received numerous Grammy nominations in both 1996 and 1997.

Producing a worthy followup to Relish proved to be a time-consuming challenge for Osborne. Mercury tried to buy her some time by issuing a compilation release, ‘Early Recordings’ (which collected the early releases ‘Live at Delta ‘88’ and ‘Blue Million Miles’).

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