WFUV Pop Quiz: Joan Osborne
Originally a Kentucky girl, Joan Osborne came to New York a little over 20 years ago to study film at NYU. Her career path took a different direction when she started singing in the New York City clubs. Eight diverse albums later, she’s proved she can sing just about anything. On her most recent, Bring It On Home, she tackles a collection of blues, R&B, and soul covers with, if you’ll forgive the expression, relish.
Aside from your gear, instruments or your band, you do not go on the road without?
My yoga mat.
Any particular type of yoga you practice?
I’ve become really into that bikram yoga, the one that you do in the 100-degree hot room where you just sweat and sweat and sweat. I find that it’s actually really calming and soothing. It’s a lot of hard work but once you get out of that room you just feel so good.
What song do you wish you had written?
Oh boy. There are so many that I wish I had written. I wish I had written “Just Like a Ballerina” that Van Morrison song off of Astral Weeks. That song is just so beautiful. I love that song.
Who do do you wish had recorded one of your songs? Living or dead.
I mean, if Aretha Franklin every recorded one of my songs I would just be over the moon. That would be amazing. I feel there are a couple of songs that Eric Clapton could do really well with. And you know, it would be really great to get the Isley Brothers to do one of my tunes. I would love that.
What song would you sing in the shower but not in public?
Opera. I do sometimes sing the handful of light opera songs that I know. I will sing them in the shower but I would never do that in front of anybody else.
That’s probably a good way of keeping your voice tuned, right?
It is. It’s a good way to warm up but I don’t want anyone else to hear it!
What’s the first album you bought?
The very first album I bought, with my babysitting money when I was 13, was a Cher record. I don’t know the title of it, but I still see a picture of her standing on the cover with this huge headdress on and this beautiful flowing Native American outfit. I was just very impressed by Cher when I was 13.
Someone finds your iPod and they hit shuffle, what do you think will most surprise them?
I’ve become really into books on tape so they would hear things like Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls.
What’s your favorite Dylan song?
My favorite Bob Dylan song is, probably, “To Make You Feel My Love.” I’ve sung it hundreds of times and I never get tired of singing it and it always really impacts me very viscerally. I always feel it every time I sing it. I know there are a million great songs that he’s written, but for me I have a special relationship to that song.
What job would you have if you weren’t a musician?
A librarian. I love to read, so I’d be a librarian.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Well I make a mean banana bread. I don’t know if that’s a great talent or not!
That’s actually the next question! Do you cook and what is your signature dish?
Yeah, I can make some banana bread, and I also make some good bread pudding too! And some potato leek soup. That’ll fill your whole house with an amazing smell when you cook that.
What do you suppose is the biggest misconception that your fans or the media might have about you?
I did hear the rumor once and saw it online that my daughter is the illegitimate love child of one of the members of the Grateful Dead. That is not true! I’d like to put a stop to that rumor right now.
Lastly, what wacky thing would you do if you had the time or guts?
Hang gliding. If I had the guts id go hang gliding.
See the other artists who've taken the WFUV Pop Quiz.