Country music singer K.T. Oslin, who launched career in her mid-40s, has died at 78


Country singer K.T. Oslin, who hit it big with the 1987 hit 80’s Ladies and won three Grammy awards, has died. She was 78.

Oslin’s friend Robert K. Oermann said he learned of her death on Monday morning from her aunt. The cause of death has not been released.

Oermann said Oslin had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease and lived in an assisted-living facility since 2016. She had triple bypass surgery in 1995. He said Oslin tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Oslin became one of Nashville’s most intriguing personalities, launching a country music career in her mid-40s and writing songs from a strong woman’s perspective.

Her albums 80s’s Ladies and This Woman each sold more than one million copies.

“K.T. Oslin had one of the most soulful voices in country music and was a strong influence for women with her hit 80’s Ladies,” said Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association.

“I was fortunate to work with K.T. on a number of television shows in the late ’90s. She was always gracious to the crews and up-and-coming talent performing alongside her. She truly had one of the best voices in the history of our format. Our thoughts go out to her loved ones at this difficult time.”

In 1988, Oslin unseated Reba McEntire as the Country Music Association’s female vocalist of the year. McEntire had won it four straight times.

Her hit singles included I’ll Always Come BackHold Me, Do Ya, Two Hearts, Hey Bobby, Didn’t Expect It to Go Down This Way and This Woman. She also wrote many of her songs and played keyboard on several of them.

In her memorable music video for her 1990 No. 1 hit Come Next Monday, Oslin portrayed the bride of Frankenstein.

Always outspoken, she said in a 1990 Associated Press interview that country music was not necessarily her favourite genre.

“Some of it I like today, some of it I don’t,” she said. “I don’t like the real twangy, hard core, straight ahead old style country music. I like some of it, but on a steady diet, no.”

Oslin attends the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame gala on Oct. 28, 2018. Always outspoken, she said in a 1990 Associated Press interview that country music was not necessarily her favourite genre. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

The singer won two Grammy Awards in 1988 for her song Hold Me. In the previous year, she took home a Grammy for her song 80’s Ladies.

Kay Toinette Oslin was born in Crossett, Ark., but spent most of her childhood in Mobile, Ala. As a teenager, she settled in Houston.

Ending up in New York City, she was a chorus girl in theatrical productions and then worked as a studio backup vocalist and ad jingle singer.

Her aunt loaned her $7,000 to finance a Nashville showcase performance, which caught the attention of RCA Records. She signed an RCA recording contract in 1986 at a time when most record companies were looking for singers almost half her age.



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