Although their platinum-selling debut album THE WHOLE SHeBANG was not released until 1999, the three sisters comprising the country vocal group SHeDAISY have performed together since the early 1980s. The trio take a distinctly nontraditional approach to country music, featuring influences from pop, rock, and musical theater, which has earned them comparisons to the New Country crossover appeal of such performers as Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks. Advocates of SHeDAISY’s hybrid of country and popular music genres laud the trio’s tight vocal harmonies and expansion of the boundaries of country music, while detractors attack the absence of standard country music instrumentation and subject matter, the encroachment of popular music influences, advanced technological studio techniques, and an emphasis on feminine glamour.
Kristyn Osborn, the eldest of the three sisters, was born on August 24, 1970; Kelsi was born on November 21, 1974; and Kassidy was born on October 30, 1976. The sisters are three of six children raised by David Osborn, a small businessman, and his wife Robyn, a homemaker who resided near Magna, Utah. They exposed their children to music from an early age by
Members include Kassidy Osborn (born on October 30, 1976), vocals; Kelsi Osborn (born on November 21, 1974), vocals; Kristyn Osborn (born on August 24, 1970), vocals, songwriting.
Began performing in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the Osborn Sisters; signed to RCA, early 1990s; changed name to the Violets, then to SHeDAISY; signed to Lyric Street Records, 1998; released debut album THE WHOLE SheBANG, 1999; released Brand New Year, 2000; appeared in Mickey’s Once upon a Christmas Holiday, 2000; released THE WHOLE SHeBANG—All Mixed Up, 2001.
playing music tapes in the family station wagon that they drove on vacations every summer. The family’s musical tastes were eclectic, encompassing such diverse artists as the Beatles, Stephen Sondheim, and Steppenwolf. Robyn Osborn taught her daughters how to sing harmony by playing Beach Boys and Beatles records.
Kelsi was the first Osborn daughter to exhibit musical talent; she began taking voice lessons as a young child and orchestrated neighborhood concerts featuring herself and the other Osborn children. When she was 12 years old, Kelsi won the lead in the musical Annie, performing with the Sundance Summer Theater. She also won a national talent competition, sending the family on a visit to New York City, during which they immersed themselves in musical theater. Kelsi and Kassidy began performing as a duo first, playing retirement homes and county fairs. After attending a concert by the country band Alabama when she was 12 years old, Kristyn introduced her sisters to country music, which became a staple in their repertoire, then joined the act herself after graduating from high school. Billing themselves as the Osborn Sisters, the girls refined their professional skills while performing throughout the western United States and singing the national anthem at the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Utah Jazz games.
The two younger Osborn sisters were still high school students in the late 1980s when they began spending their summer vacations in Nashville, Tennessee. The three sisters worked in stores at a local mall to earn money while they performed at showcases hoping to win a recording contract. The Nashville music recording industry, however, was more interested in nurturing the nascent careers of such young male country singers as Clint Black, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks. The Osborn Sisters signed with RCA Records for two years in the early 1990s, but no material from this period was released. “We were three young girls singing pretty progressive stuff,” Kristyn told Country Music’s Michael McCall. “The record company didn’t know what to do with us.”
When their RCA contract expired, they changed their name to the Violets, refined their vocal harmonies, and tried to earn another recording contract. At the same time Kristyn began composing songs with several of the recording industry’s most successful songwriters, including rock musician and songwriter Richard Marx. In the late 1990s, female country singers such as Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill began to claim large audiences with a musical approach that combined elements of rock music production with a cosmopolitan fashion sense and visual style. The Disney Corporation’s Nashville label, Lyric Street Records, signed the sisters, who again changed their name. Now known as SHeDAISY, which they claim is an American Indian word for “my sisters,” the group worked with producer Dann Huff to produce their debut album.
Kristyn Osborn cowrote each of the eleven songs on the debut SHeDAISY album, THE WHOLE SHeBANG, drawing from a variety of influences that included rock musicians Sheryl Crow and Sting, as well as songwriter Mike Reid. The song that won them their Lyric Street contract, “Little Good-Byes,” was also their first hit single. THE WHOLE SHeBANG was released on May 11, 1999, attained platinum status (one million units sold) on March 28, 2000, and continued to sell well two years after its initial release. The collection also yielded two more hit singles: “This Woman Needs” and “Still Holding Out for You.”
While some critics compared them unfavorably to the female country trio the Dixie Chicks, defenders noted that SHeDAISY was the first of the two groups to win a recording contract. SHeDAISY also included more Contemporary instruments and studio techniques, giving some songs a sonic resemblance to hip-hop recordings. Village Voice critic Frank Kogan described the group’s music: “The Osborn sisters don’t just sing country’s unison harmonies; they also sing multivocal countermelodies and ‘dit-dit-dit’ syllables that derive ultimately from the black vocal-group tradition but are now standard pop (e.g., Backstreet Boys) and so don’t come across as ‘R&B.’… Nowadays it’s the general emotional sense of the music, rather than this or that musical element, that determines whether it gets onto country radio.”
In 2000, SHeDAISY released an album of Christmas songs, including “Deck the Halls,” which the group had initially recorded for a Mickey Mouse video made for Lyric Street Record’s Disney parent corporation. Brand New Year, SHeDAISY’s official second album, furthered their explorations into various musical styles, including jazz, hip-hop, rap, and techno-beat. The following year, they issued THE WHOLE SHeBANG—ALL Mixed Up, which features alternate versions of each of the songs on their debut album.
THE WHOLE SHeBANG, Lyric Street, 1999.
Brand New Year, Lyric Street, 2000.
THE WHOLE SHeBANG—ALL Mixed Up, Lyric Street, 2001.
Billboard, September 1, 2001, p. 65.
Country Music, December/January 2001.
Country Music Weekly, October 31, 2000.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 6, 2001, p. 12E.
Village Voice, July 24, 2001, pp. 71, 121.
“SHeDAISY,”All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll (December 14, 2001).
“SHeDAISY,” ARTISTDirect, http://www.imusic.artistdirect.com/showcase/country/shedaisy.html (December 14, 2001).
SHeDAISY Official Website, http://www.shedaisy.com (December 14, 2001).
“SHeDAISY,:THE WHOLE SHeBANG,” Great American Country, http://www.countrystars.com/index.html7/countrystars.html (December 14, 2001).
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