Three-time Grammy Award winner K.T. Oslin has had an impressively eclectic career that includes singing, acting, writing, and producing. But it’s definitely K.T Oslin songs that made the country icon dearly loved until today. Her songs, like the “Younger Men,” “Hold Me,” “I’ll Always Come Back,” have stolen the hearts of many fans.
Let’s celebrate the iconic career of K.T. Oslin with some facts you might not know about her yet.
1. She Lost Her Father At A Very Young Age
K. T. Oslin was born on May 15, 1942, as Kay Toinette Oslin in Crossett, Arkansas. However, she lost her father, who was a foreman at a paper mill, when she was only two. He died of leukemia. Her single mother then relocated the family to Houston, Texas.
This circumstance, along with Oslin’s own experiences as an adult, centered her songs more on strong-willed, independent women.
2. She Studied Drama When She Was College
K. T. Oslin studied drama in her college years. At the same time, she also performed in the folk trio along with David Jones and singer-songwriter legend Guy Clark.
Later on, she appeared as a backup vocalist on Clark’s self-titled 1978 album. After her studies, she lived in New York as an aspiring actress. She soon started singing commercial jingles and appeared in advertisements. To fill in the creative gaps between her auditions and gigs, she also started dabbling in songwriting.
3. She Was Already 45 When “80’s Ladies” Made Her a Star
In 1987, K. T. Oslin, who was already 45 then, went out of her beehive with a song she had written called “80s Ladies.” But it was more than a song; it was a declaration that celebrated sisterhood and female maturity.
“We were the girls of the ’50s,” she sang, “stone rock and rollers in the ’60s/and more than our names got changed as the ’70s slipped on by/Now we’re ’80s ladies/There ain’t been much we ladies ain’t tried.”
“80’s Ladies” peaked at No. 7, and won Oslin a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Grammy Award for Song of the Year. It also stamped her with the wry, feisty, brassy, image that kept her a hot item into the ’90s.
4. She Has Never Married
K.T. Oslin has never married, and her family history is one reason. When her father died, she and her brother, Larry, 55, were uprooted repeatedly as her mother married and divorced four times.
“I always looked at marriage as something where you’re married for two years and then you divorce,” she said. Over the years, the “Come Next Monday” singer has had her share of lovers too. This includes Nashville record producer Steve Buckingham and her band’s drummer, Owen Hale. She had always thought about having kids in the back of her mind too. “In the past, I had chosen not to get pregnant,” she said. “Now, I didn’t have the choice.”
But in her 1993 interview with PEOPLE, the singer said that she’s in a much better place. “I’m alone, but I like my own company. I have money. I can be an old lady and not worry. I’m content,” K.T. Oslin said.
5. She Has Done Some Acting
In the early ’90s she transitioned disc stardom into acting prominence, winning guest-star roles on such as television series as Paradise, Carol and Company, and Evening Shade.
In 1993, she also played a substantial role in the country music-oriented movie, The Thing Called Love, starring River Phoenix and Sandra Bullock.
6. She Credits Her Success To Longtime RCA Label Chief Joe Galante
Success may come a little late for K. T Oslin that she “thought it was my last chance at doing anything in this business, which was all that I knew how to do.” And she had the American music industry executive Joe Galante to thank for.
She continued, “I would have ended up selling gloves at Macy’s if it weren’t for Joe Galante. I was so naïve about the business. You can’t know about it unless you’re in it. You don’t take a course in it. You can’t know it unless you’re there. I thought, ‘Here is my last shot,’ and that was scary. I was almost 50 years old, but I didn’t let myself think it was impossible.”
7. She Has Kept A Very Realistic View Of Success
Though she has toured a lot and topped the charts time and again in the 1980s, K.T. Oslin said she’s keeping a realistic view of success.
“The whole time, I remember winning my first Grammy and thinking, ‘It won’t last forever. It could be over tomorrow, so have a good time today with it, save your money,'” she said. “It was easy in some ways and hard in others. I went out to do my first opening-act gig, having won a Grammy the night before and getting a gold album. I was an opening act — what is this about? It’s a very complex business and not one for sissies.”
8. She Has Retired
In 1995, K.T. Oslin had Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery and had permanently retired. Though at the age of 78, she still often make appearances at charity and music-related events. Otherwise, the never-married Oslin lives in Nashville.