Jeffrey Linton Osborne, a composer, balladeer, lyricist, trumpeter, percussionist, and advocate, was born on March 9, 1948, in Providence, Rhode Island, to Clarence J. Osborne, Sr., a trumpeter, and Wanita M. Lindsey Osborne, of Pequot Indian ancestry.
He is the eldest of twelve children, with five brothers and six sisters. When Osborne was 15, he sat in with the O’Jays when their regular percussionist was unavailable. He spent two weeks with them.
In 1966, Osborne graduated from Hope High School on Providence’s East Side. His solo musical career, however, began when he was 22 years old. He relocated to Los Angeles, California, to work as a drummer for Love Men Ltd (later changed to LTD). He eventually rose to the position of lead singer.
Osborne decided to go solo in 1980 and had a string of hits over the next decade. Jeffrey Osborne, his debut album released in 1982, peaked at number 49 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the charts for 43 weeks. He also did well with the single “On The Wings of Love” from the album. It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jeffrey and Sheri Osborne married in 1982. They have four children between them.
Stay with me Tonight by Osborne peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983 and remained on the chart for 21 weeks. It received a Grammy Award nomination for “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male” at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. Don’t Stop peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 200 and stayed there for 37 weeks. In 1984, it was nominated for “Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male” at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards. Osborne’s collaboration with Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy on the single “The Last Time I Made Love” earned her a nomination for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” in 1985.
In 1986, the hit “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)” peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200, and the album Emotional peaked at number 26 and stayed on the charts for 26 weeks. Only Human debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot R&B and Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1991 and remained there for 36 weeks. And, at the end of the decade, Something Warm for Christmas peaked at number 86 but only stayed on the charts for one week during the holidays.
In the 1990s, Osborne did not release any new music. He returned to the studio in 2000 to record That’s for Sure, which peaked at number 191. Despite its poor sales, Osborne received a Grammy nomination for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” that year.
Osborne established the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation in 2012 to support non-profit organizations that focus on music and the arts for children and their families, as well as providing a safe environment for needy families. He hosted The Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity All-Star Softball Classic in 2014 and released the album A Time for Love. He received the 2014 New England Pell Award for Artistic Excellence from the Tony Award-winning and highly regarded regional theatres in the United States in Providence, Rhode Island.
Throughout his career, Jeffrey Osborne released five gold or platinum albums, each of which sold over 500,000 units.