When your father is a pioneer of heavy metal and your mother an infamous music manager, it only seems inevitable that the spawn of such greatness would grow up to be in the business. Born on October 27, 1984, in London, England, Kelly Osbourne was literally born into music royalty. Her father, Ozzy Osbourne, fronted Black Sabbath, one of the most influential metal bands of all time, while her mother, Ozzy's manager Sharon, was one of music's most feared and respected managers. As Ozzy began a solo career in the 1980s, Kelly spent much of her childhood attending concerts, traveling the world and witnessing the life lasting affects drugs and alcohol had taken on her often-absent father.
In 1995, the Osbourne family relocated from the rainy gray skies of London to sunny Los Angeles, California. In early 2000, while various media outlets, including MTV, visited Ozzy, they couldn't help but notice not only the strong familial bond between Ozzy and his children but the outgoing and often outrageous personalities of the entire family. In the height of reality TV mania, MTV coughed up enough money to put cameras in the home of the Osbournes 24 hours a day. In March of 2002, The Osbournes debuted on MTV and their teenagers Kelly and Jack's lives were changed forever. A few months into the show, MTV realized they had a hit and saw several marketing angels, including a compilation soundtrack for the hit TV show. Young Kelly recorded a reworked version of Madonna's classic track "Papa Don't Preach" for the CD.
The combination of Kelly's punk look, pop sound, and most of all her brash personality, struck a chord in MTV-teens and soon after Kelly's singing debut, Ozzy's longtime label, Epic signed Kelly to a record deal of her own. Epic wanted Kelly's debut out as soon as possible so they rushed the recording of Kelly's November 2002 album Shut Up. A bratty mix of teenage angst, snotnosed pop vocals, and lightweight punk fare, Kelly co-wrote almost every single song on her album. Unfortunately, only six months after the poor sales of Shut Up (SoundScan recorded that only 150,000 copies sold), Epic dropped Kelly from their roster—Ozzy soon too parted ways with the company. As soon as word leaked that Kelly left Epic, Sanctuary Records stepped in to help the metal princess out. In September of 2003, Sanctuary took all the tracks from Shut Up, repackaged them with new album cover art, tacked on some live recordings, the Madonna cover and most interestingly, a duet with Ozzy on the old Black Sabbath hit "Changes." During this time, Kelly took up a romantic relationship with Bert McCracken, singer for the rock band The Used. While Kelly's career seemed to be doing better—in the United Kingdom, Kelly and Ozzy's duet was a number one hit and sold over 500,000 copies—her high-profile relationship with Bert ended messily.
In 2003 MTV signed The Osbournes on for another year of the show with a $20 million-plus contract. With Sharon's onset of cancer, Jack's drug abuse, Ozzy's consistently odd behavior, and Kelly's bratty shenanigans, there was never a dull moment on The Osbournes, nor a lapse in good gossip in the press. For a while it seemed like everyone forgot about Kelly's music career, including Kelly herself. In 2004, she began to rethink her career. She knew she only got a record contract because she was a celebrity, but she wasn't about to make the same mistake again with her next album. Because her first record was so forced by the record company, Kelly knew she wanted her next collection of songs to be her own. Since 2002 she had dramatically changed and matured and she wanted her music to reflect that. "If you look at every single twenty-year-old female who is in the music industry—Avril Lavigne, Ashlee Simpson, Fefe Dobson—they're all really talented girls, but the way they are marketed is very, very contrived," Kelly told Rollingstone.com's Jolie Lash. "I don't want to be a part of that."
Kelly's career was quickly put on hold in spring of 2004. A year after her brother Jack had been in drug rehab, in April of 2004, Kelly was checked into Malibu's Promises Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center for addiction to painkillers. While she was in rehab, Kelly began work on a new album with songwriter Linda Perry. Known for writing hits for Pink, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera, Perry was a perfect choice to bring out Kelly's love of dance music, pop hooks and mass-market appeal. Co-writing songs with Perry helped Kelly tap into a whole new musical direction. "Originally we talked about doing something that was very raw … no backing vocals, nothing too electronic. But suddenly we had this '80s pop vibe and we went with it," Kelly said in her Sanctuary biography. "I wanted an album that would be played at any dance club in the world."
2004 was a very busy time for Kelly—not only was she working on her new album and trying to stay sober, she also started her own fashion line, Stiletto Killers. In October, Kelly got a starring role on a new ABC show Life As We Know It.
After years of letdowns and shakeups, Kelly was ready to reinvent herself. In June of 2005, she released Sleeping in the Nothing. The first single, "One Word," was a noir synth-pop dance tune that showed a completely different side of Kelly. Not only did the new songs reflect Kelly's love of '80s dance music, this time her lyrics were clearly a lot more personal. The lead single "One Word," was especially important to Kelly. "'One Word' is a song about how one thing can change your whole perspective on life," Kelly told MTV.com. Prompted by a moment she shared with her mother when she admitted she needed help to kick her drug habit, "One Word" took a real-life experience and blossomed it into a song. Billboard's Keith Caulfield called "One Word": "Absolutely nothing like any of her previous material, which was grounded in screechy punkypop. On 'One Word' she glides through the space-age number like she's the princess of the new wave dancefloor."
For the Record …
Born Kelly Lee Osbourne on October 27, 1984, in London, England; daughter of heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne.
Starred in the MTV reality show The Osbournes, March 2002-2004; recorded a cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" for The Osbourne Family Soundtrack, 2002; signed with Sony/Epic, 2002; released debut album Shut Up, 2002; dropped from Sony, 2003; signed with Sanctuary Records, 2003; re-released album as Changes via Sanctuary Records, 2003; checked into drug rehabilitation spring 2004; starred in ABC show Life As We Know It; released Sleeping in the Nothing, 2005.
Addresses: Record company—Sanctuary Records, 75 Ninth Ave., New York, NY, 10011, phone: (212) 599-2757, website: http://www.sanctuaryrecords.com Web-site—Kelly Osbourne Official Website: http://www.kellyosbourne.com.
Shut Up, Sony, 2002.
Changes, Sanctuary, 2003.
Sleeping in the Nothing, Sanctuary, 2005.
Billboard, June 11, 2005, p. 50.
Entertainment Weekly, April 15, 2005, p. 79; June 10, 2005, p. 107.
Interview, August 2005, p. 136.
"Kelly Osbourne," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (May 13, 2005).
Additional information provided by Sanctuary Records.