On her latest album, Breakfast in Bed, JOAN OSBORNE got the chance to make her very own mix, a collection of soul classics and new songs she wrote to fit in seamlessly alongside them. "I love this music and these songs," Osborne explains wistfully. Breakfast in Bed isn't the first time Osborne has channeled classic soul singers. In 2002, she recorded How Sweet It Is, an album entirely made up of R&B covers, and later that year she appeared in the award-winning film Standing in the Shadows of Motown. What drew her back to the classics was the challenge to write new songs in the style of the legends, new songs that would end up fitting so flawlessly beside the old that even the engineers in the recording studio couldn't tell them apart.
Breakfast in Bed comes quickly on the heels of Pretty Little Stranger, a country-tinged record Osborne released in late 2006. The trek from country to soul might seem a long and winding road to some, but not Osborne, who has spent her life experimenting in different worlds. Her musical pilgrimage has taken her to India, where she studied with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan then later returned to perform for the Dalai Lama; the deep South to uncover the roots of the blues; and into concert halls in every corner of the world to perform with artists whose names would never otherwise be uttered in the same sentence: Taj Mahal, Luciano Pavarotti, Spearhead, Bob Dylan, The Dead, The Dixie Chicks. "It wasn't a deliberate decision," Osborne explains. "I've always been curious about different kinds of music. If you dig deeply enough into any genre you find they cross over, like that the roots of Moroccan music are familiar to the roots of Irish."
This is a refreshingly creative path for someone whose major label debut stormed the charts with the runaway smash "(What If God Was) One of Us." The whirlwind that followed included a Top 5 hit, multi-platinum album sales, five Grammy nominations, and a second life a decade later when the song was tapped for the critically acclaimed CBS series Joan of Arcadia. Her brilliant follow-up album, Righteous Love, was released in 2000, and her R&B covers album, How Sweet It Is, came in 2002. Along the way, Osborne was asked to sit in on lead vocals with The Dead (formerly the Grateful Dead), opened for the Dixie Chicks, performed at the Grand Ol' Opry, and traveled the world seeking out her musical muses.