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KT Oslin Wasn't Wild About Country

Singer was 45 when she launched her career with '80's Ladies'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2020 7:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Country singer KT Oslin, who hit it big with the nostalgic ballad "80's Ladies" and won three Grammy awards, has died. She was 78. Oslin's friend Robert K. Oermann said she died Monday in suburban Nashville, the AP reports. The cause of death was not released. Oermann said Oslin had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and had triple bypass surgery in 1995. He said Oslin tested positive for COVID-19 last week. She was a chorus girl, studio backup vocalist, and ad jingle singer in New York City until her aunt loaned her $7,000 to finance a Nashville showcase performance, which caught the attention of RCA Records. She signed with RCA in 1986, at a time when most record companies were looking for singers almost half her age. Oslin became one of Nashville's most intriguing personalities, writing songs from a strong woman's perspective. Her albums "80's Ladies" and "This Woman" both sold more than 1 million copies. Her hit singles included "I'll Always Come Back," "Hold Me," and "Two Hearts."

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"KT Oslin had one of the most soulful voices in country music and was a strong influence for women," said Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association. In 1988, Oslin was CMA female vocalist of the year. She wrote many of her songs and played keyboards on several of them. In 1990, Oslin said country was not necessarily her favorite 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." After she stopped touring in the 1990s, she became a TV actress. Brandy Clark is among the singers she influenced who paid tribute to her Monday on Twitter. Oslin was 45 when she released the "80's Ladies" album, which Rolling Stone says was "a remarkable feat then for a woman in country music and a near impossibility today." She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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