A STAPLE of the music industry for five decades, singer, bass player and songwriter Merrill Osmond is quite simply an icon with a global resonance.

As the frontman of one of the world’s most famous bands, the Osmonds, the now 68-year-old performer truly shot to fame in the 1970s.

But prior to the group’s somewhat stratospheric rise, Merrill enjoyed several years as a child star, appearing on television shows boasting enormous audiences.

Since then he has composed and produced five number one singles, performed on 27 gold records, and sold more than 100million records worldwide.

One of the very few things Merrill has never done, however, is visit or bask in the coastal wonders of Clacton – something he hopes to do later this year.

“If they give me any time between rehearsals and the show, I would love to explore Clacton,” said Merrill.

“My agent recommended I perform there so that is why I am coming and I cannot wait to visit and perform for the people of Clacton.

“I genuinely love doing what I do and I am really happy for those people who want to be there with me.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Merrill will be playing at the Princes Theatre, in Station Road, on September 17, as part of a UK tour of his latest musical extravaganza.

The seaside show will see him perform all of the hits from the Osmonds and his solo career, and also speak about his experiences growing up in a band rarely out of the spotlight.

The musician, who has performed for the Queen four times and met everyone from the Beatles to Elvis, said: “For 64 years I have been on the stage and never come off.

“A lot of what I speak about and do will be based on the reaction from the audience itself, because if they just want to sing and dance then I will keep pounding songs.

“I am a pace-conscious entertainer, so when there are slower moments I will ask for some questions and I will be prepared to speak about anything and everything.”

Merrill’s return to the stage comes as part of a tour which was initially delayed and pushed back as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

But during the world’s endless months of hibernation, the melody-maker, who loves the “raw-style of writing” music, decided to take advantage of his free time.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“I have always complained that I have never had a break because it has never stopped,” added Merrill, who has six children.

“But I cannot complain now, can I? I have had more than year to think about a lot of things and I have been painting and writing and it has been a blessing.

“I am a positive person, so I made the most of my time, but I also understand there were a lot of people who were hurting, including my daughter who had coronavirus.

“But for me, it was a chance to reboot and I continued to perfect my craft and spent more time with my wife of 48 years, just talking and remembering our lives together.

“I know it was really crazy for everybody, but I really did have a good time.”

Satisfied with his first bit of time off in 64 years, Merrill, who was the original founding member of the Osmonds, is now chomping at the bit to get back on the road.

He said: “I am going to be going full steam ahead doing show after show because in the past year there has been such an outpouring of love for the Osmonds.

“The fans are just looking forward to getting back out there and dancing and singing and reliving their lives through the music of the Osmonds.

“It is my responsibility and my duty to keep doing this because I feel I came here to help people and this is the one thing I can do that brings people joy.”

With an auditorium seated capacity of 820, it is safe to say Clacton’s historic Princes Theatre is not the biggest venue legendary Merrill will have played in.

But following a financially crippling year for the arts industry, Merrill has urged entertainment fans to support all venues – regardless of size and status.

“It is mandatory now for people to get out there again and support venues and the arts,” added Merrill.

“I think for those people who have not been able to get out to go and experience those opportunities, they have really lost out.

“I think people are hungry again, so with regards to supporting entertainment venues, wherever they may be, I think now is the time for that to happen.”

Tickets for Merrill Osmond’s Princes Theatre show are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting princestheatre.co.uk.