Kelly Osbourne is no quitter.
The recording artist/reality TV star/rebel with a cause has just come off the best and worst year of her 19 on the planet so far.
Consider this: Kelly make her debut on the MTV Video Music Awards singing her punked-up cover of Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach.” She scored a hit with that track, and then dropped her candy-coated razor blade of a debut album, Shut Up!. With Osbournes mania in full swing, Kelly graced the covers of magazines ranging from Rolling Stone to Cosmogirl! She toured the dirtiest of dives and hugest of arenas —even playing to a crowd of one million sweaty rock fans as the opening act on Brit It Boy Robbie Williams’ UK stadium tour.
That was the best stuff . . . then came the worst.
Her mom, Sharon, was —as everyone in the universe knows—diagnosed with cancer. Her record label lost interest after a corporate shakeup tossed the team that had signed Kelly out the door. Her brother Jack went to rehab. Her first boyfriend stomped on her heart.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re Kelly Osbourne you’re not going to bitch and moan. You’re gonna get up off your ass and give it another try. Enter Sanctuary Records, the indie label that could. “I’m so fuckin’ thankful to be able to put the record out again,” says Kelly. “I don’t think it got a fair chance the first time.”
With the release of CHANGES, Kelly is back with a vengeance. The CD features all the songs from SHUT UP!, four totally raw, totally live bonus tracks (“Come Dig Me Out,” “Disconnected,” “Too Much of You” and “On The Run”) and—brace yourself— Kelly’s FIRST-EVER collaboration with her dad, Ozzy. The two duet on “Changes,” a jaw dropping makeover of the 1972 Black Sabbath classic (Ozzy fronted Sabbath before going solo as every self-respecting metalhead knows). Here, the song, formerly an eerie goodbye to a lover, takes a surprisingly tender father-daughter turn. (Let’s just say Frank and Nancy Sinatra ain’t got nothing on these two.) With Ozzy singing “She’s my baby/I love her so/but it’s too late nowI’ve let her go” and Kelly answering “We shared the years/we shared each day/I love you daddy/but I’ve found my way,” the song is transformed into a modern coming-of-age anthem—replete with soft piano and a choir providing angelic backing vocals!
“It really is a sweet song,” says Kelly, who admits she liked her dad’s music growing up. That doesn’t mean the two saw eye to eye on every aspect of the production, In fact, they didn’t even want to be in the room at the same time during the recording. Kelly says, “It’s really hard to sing in front of your dad but I think he was actually more embarrassed than I was.” There were creative conflicts too. “My dad and I are both really stubborn and we’ll fight to the end,” Kelly admits, “Like with the choir, I boycotted it, but he wanted it.” In the end, they compromised: Kelly switched up the lyrics, and Ozzy got his choir.
But make no mistake, this is Kelly’s album. The release of CHANGES gives listeners a chance to revisit Kelly’s music and realize that beyond the hype of The Osbournes (the most watched cable show in history, by the way), beyond the rumors about who she’s dating (read US Weekly if you give a rat’s ass) and beyond the fact that her mom and dad are rock royalty, is a girl who has churned out some pretty freakin’ amazing songs. Maybe if Kelly had been born in a trailer park in Hicktown, USA, and raised on squirrel stew, she would have gotten more credit for them the first time around.
So listen—really listen—especially to the live stuff if you want a clue as to where Kelly’s headed as an artist. Stripped down, tracks like “Come Dig Me Out” and “On The Run” show Kelly at her irrepressible best: angsty, catchy, attitude-packed, and beyond all, real. “I finally got to do the tracks the way I wanted them to sound,” Kelly says.
One thing is certain, Kelly Osbourne has done a lot of growing up in 2003. Relieved to be free of major-label politics (don’t even get her started on how she feels about people who “suck corporate dick”) Kelly’s been busy honing her songcraft and working on new material. “At first I didn’t know what to write about so I wrote about what I thought people were supposed to write about,” Kelly admits with characteristic honesty. ”Now I’ve had so many shit things happen that I have something to write about.” Considering the year she’s survived, the results are sure to be mind-blowing. Stay tuned . . .this girl is just getting started.