Donny Osmond has learned a thing or two since he first found fame as a 6-year-old kid singing with his brothers as The Osmonds. During his decades-long career, he has been a teen idol, part of the iconic brother-sister TV act Donny and Marie, a solo artist, a Broadway performer, a two-time reality TV contestant and a Las Vegas headliner with Marie for an incredible 11-year run. He’s currently back in Vegas with a residency at Harrah’s, but this time, the Utah native is running the show.
What does a Mormon do for fun in Vegas?
Although we have our home in Utah — now that we are empty nesters — [my wife] Debbie and I decided to buy a house here. It isn’t just the strip, there’s hiking and wonderful restaurants. Life outside of the strip is very normal. Prior to being empty nesters, I’d stay in a hotel and fly back home. Vegas was just a workplace, now it’s both.
Are you a tech guy?
I’m a real tech head. In fact, I created the whole computer system that runs the show. I’m an Android guy. I can control everything from my phone — that’s why I went Android, because there are so many more possibilities because of the open-source files — my waterfalls, my pool, my home, my car, everything is on my phone. I created the show on my phone. I write albums on my phone.
Vegas is five-nights-a-week of performing. Do you have a special diet and exercise routine to keep your energy up?
I go to the gym. I do the basics because I don’t want to wear myself out before the show, because it’s such a physical show. Debbie and I have decided to become vegans. Well, I’m going to say “chegans.” I cheat once in a while, because every once in a while a great steak tastes good.
At 64, you’ve had plenty of success. Why keep at it?
I have no desire to retire. It sounds boring to me. There will be a day when the curtain will come down, but it will be on my watch. Even when it comes down, I’ll still be involved in producing, directing, writing and things like that. I just don’t think you should ever allow yourself to stop. You can slow down, but you never want to stop.
What artists do you most want to work with, but haven’t yet?
I think it would be fun to do a collaboration with Justin Bieber — the parallel of both our lives. I was very close with Michael [Jackson], so to do something with Janet, she could be the other Marie for a split second. There’s an idea in the back of my mind I think I’m going to approach Imagine Dragons with — or The Killers.
Who is on your current playlist?
First one up is Charlie Puth, I love Charlie Puth; Harry Styles; Dua Lipa; definitely Stevie Wonder; Paul McCartney; I love Justin Timberlake; Bruno Mars; a lot of Chaka Khan in there; definitely a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire; Rihanna; Tower of Power; James Taylor; Al Green.
Best life lesson learned?
Show business, when you get right down to it, is smoke and mirrors. But we all like it, because when we go to a theater, we want to be entertained. We want to look at this star on stage who’s larger than life. I learned this from Elvis Presley when I met him when I was 14 years old in Las Vegas. I watched his closing night because my brothers and I were opening up the next day. “The King” on stage was untouchable. He had the crowd in the palm of his hands. I kept thinking, I'm going to be on that stage tomorrow night opening with my brothers. So the next night, we’re in Elvis’s dressing room getting ready — it’s about 10 minutes before the show starts — and the door opens up and Elvis walks in and he says, “Hi everybody, I’m Elvis.” Just him saying that impressed this little 14-year-old mind so much that I said to myself, Hold on. That was the superstar that I saw last night, and he’s just a real person. He doesn’t need to introduce himself, he’s Elvis. It really began the process in my mind to realize that show business is very temporary. It’s important. People love it. But when I walk off that stage, I go home. I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a grandpa, and that’s what’s real.
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