In 1995, Joan Osborne asked a question that caused music fans of every belief to think spiritually – “What if God was one of us?” Her single “One of Us” became an international sensation that propelled her to stardom. Decades later she still is making music. In fact, the seven-time Grammy nominee’s latest album, “Love and Hate,” will be released on April 8.
Osborne will also appear at the South Orange Performing Arts Center April 4. However, the performance will be unlike most of her shows – Osborne will play acoustic versions of her songs along with musicians Keith Cotton and Andrew Carillo.
Osborne said performing an acoustic set is interesting for the audience to intimately connect with songs taken down to “an elemental, bare-bones level.” Though it might be difficult, she said playing acoustically is also beneficial.
“In a way it’s a greater challenge because you don’t have a lot of places to hide,” Osborne said. “But it’s also sort of a measure of whether a song is successful or not because it can really speak to people in that kind of situation where it’s your voice and a few instruments.”
At SOPAC Osborne will perform songs from her newest release. Osborne said “Love and Hate” explores romantic relationships apart from their passion and devastating break-up.
“That was my inspiration – to try to find some corners of this kind of human experience that maybe hadn’t been written about a lot,” she said.
Additionally, Osborne will be performing songs from previous albums, including “One of Us.” Almost 20 years after the single first hit airwaves, Osborne said she still hears from fans about how much the song means to them.
“It’s been nothing but a blessing,” Osborne said. “It really helped… to grow an audience that’s stuck with me for a long time.”
Osborne said she expects many of those long-time fans to be in attendance at SOPAC since it’s so close to where she started in New York.
Osborne actually first performed on a dare while still in college, so she had some advice for Seton Hall students – don’t be afraid to take risks.
“When I first started doing music I was really terrified of being on stage… (but) it ended up being worth it,” she said. “Just because something’s uncomfortable in the beginning doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”
Sean Quinn can be reached at email@example.com.