Those lucky enough to be at the Charm School party held recently at the New York club Marquee were treated to a musically delicious DJ set from Kelly Osbourne. Sober and psyched to promote her new album, which comes out on June 7, she played ’80s music, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight and her club-rooted single, “One Word.”
Looking back at her last album, Osbourne now says that Shut Up (later re-released as Changes) wasn’t the kind of record that she should have made. With the pressure and a smash-hit reality show surrounding the experience, all the joy was lost for her. She even feels a bit used. “They saw me as a way to make money,” she said. “They thought, ‘Oh, we’ll give her a record deal, and she’ll sell albums, and we’ll make money.’ I’m 16 years old, and they throw a million dollars at me, so I’ll do whatever the f— I’m told.” Making the new album, Sleeping in the Nothing, was a way for her to discover what makes her happy now and to correct the way she experiences making music (see “Kelly Osbourne Says She Hated First LP, Wants To Do Broadway” ).
The title of the album is taken from the movie “The NeverEnding Story” and alludes to the depression and drug use that escalated after the release of her last album. “I was sleeping in the nothing — I had no dreams, I had no willingness to do anything. I would lock myself in the house in Malibu and just do drugs for days and days and days,” she confessed. “I was a disgusting person. And luckily, thank God, I got saved.” It wasn’t until a paparazzo showed Sharon Osbourne a photograph of her daughter buying drugs that things changed. Her mother confronted her, and she was sent to rehab immediately (see “Kelly Osbourne Checks Into Rehab For Painkiller Addiction” ).
Now trimmer and in a much healthier mindset, Osbourne says Linda Perry cleaned up her act musically (see “Beneficiaries Of The Linda Perry Makeover: Christina, Gwen, Now Kelly Osbourne” ). She credits the producer, who has helped craft hits for Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and Pink, for giving her guidance.
While recording the first song, “Red Light,” she got some novel advice from Perry. “She’s like, ‘You’ve had singing lessons, right?’ And I go, ‘Yeah,’ ” recalled Osbourne. “And she goes, ‘Forget everything you’ve ever learned.’ And she taught me how to sing all over again.” The result, she said, “And I know this is gonna sound really obnoxious, but I think it’s the best pop album out there right now.
“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, because the music proves itself,” she continued. “And yes, it was easy for me to get to that door [because of her parents]. But it’s just as hard as anyone else to walk through it. You have to do the same work, the same interviews, the same shows, get judged by the same people.” She’ll have plenty of that as the release of her album approaches, including a full calendar of radio shows and a tour that will likely start in June.
Back at Marquee, a performance by Deborah Harry rounded out the night, and Osbourne found herself surrounded by the icons of a decade she is barely old enough to remember but nonetheless helped inspire her album: Boy George, Erasure and Nina Hagen, to name a few. She also found support in some flamboyant New York club-scene staples like Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains and photographer/director David LaChapelle’s transsexual muse, Amanda Lepore, who Osbourne said she wants in her video. Despite an itchy wig, Osbourne was clearly excited about the celebrity turnout, even though she is a celebrity herself. “They’ve worked so hard to become what they are, and I did nothing,” she said. “I was born from somebody famous, and I sat on my ass and let MTV film me.”