The year 1987 turned out to be a life-changing one for K.T. Oslin, who became one of the most popular female country singers around. Her sophisticated, distinctly modern persona was quite unlike any of her peers, and she matched it with utterly contemporary country-pop production that is nothing but impressive.
Her third single, “Do Ya,” from the album 80’s Ladies became Oslin’s third country hit and the first of four singles to hit No. 1 on the country chart. The single went to No. 1 for a week and spent a total of sixteen weeks on the country chart.
K.T. Oslin Rose From Being An Unlikely Star To Guaranteed Hit-Maker
Written by Oslin herself, “Do Ya” is a song about a married woman wondering if his man still loves her.
“Do you still get a thrill when ya see me comin’ up the hill? Honey, now do ya? Do ya whisper my name just to bring a little comfort to ya? Do ya? Do ya still like the feel of my body lyin’ next to ya? Well, I guess what I’m askin’. Do you still love me?” the song begins.
But did you know K.T. Oslin was already in her mid-40s at the time of her signing with the label? It was far from the younger “New Traditionalist” movement, personified by such acts like Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless.
Oslin has the longtime RCA label chief Joe Galante to thank for her success. “I thought it was my last chance at doing anything in this business, which was all that I knew how to do,” Oslin said.
“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.”
Oslin debuted in 1987 with 80’s Ladies, whose anthemic title track topped out at No. 7, and won her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal. Not only that, but it also stamped her with the feisty, wry, brassy, image that kept her a hot item into the ’90s. Her follow-up singles, “Do Ya” and “I’ll Always Come Back,” hit No. 1, and so did the album, which went on to sell over a million copies.
From there, Oslin went from unlikely star to guaranteed hit-maker. The talented artist was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
But Oslin Actually Started From Stage Acting
Before turning to country music, Oslin had done some stage acting. Her gift for acting actually served her well in a series of music videos. The one for “80’s Ladies,” which centered on a supposed reunion of old friends, was a mini-movie. It became the first of a two-part music video story.
In 1993, Oslin played a substantial role in the country music-oriented movie, The Thing Called Love, alongside actor-musician River Phoenix. However, the remainder of her chart career found her slipping farther and farther down the listings. Oslin’s last song country charter was “Live Close By, Visit Often,” which peaked at No. 53 in 1996.
Check out K.T. Oslin’s performance of “Do Ya” during her glory days in the music video below.
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