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One Of Us singer Joan Osborne playing live in Conejo Valley

Joan Osborne is playing live in the Conejo Valley on Friday
Laura Crosta
Joan Osborne is playing live in the Conejo Valley on Friday

She had one of the biggest hits of the 1990s and is bringing her unique blend of pop, folk and rock to Agoura Hills for a live show.

What if God was one of us was the philosophical question posed by Joan Osborne’s debut song. One Of Us became an unlikely but huge hit record, earning three Grammy nominations and topping the charts around the world in 1995.

"It was a song about God, it was a song about faith -but it wasn't telling you what you were supposed to think," Osborne said as she reflected on the song's impact.

"It was asking you, 'what is your relationship to this'? And bringing up concepts like the story of the Good Samaritan, where people pass by this homeless person on the side of the road and all these different people pass by without helping. And yet the Good Samaritan helps the person. And it turns out that that that is an incarnation of God there," said Osborne.

"So it makes you think about - as you treat the least of mine, so you treat me. So it makes you think about that. How do we treat each other in this world? And it brings up a lot of questions. So I think that's the reason that the song was so successful in the first place is it has these deeper questions, and yet it came in this very sort of beautiful, sparkling pop package. It seems to continue to resonate with people, I think because it's this open ended thing. It's not didactic, it's not saying you must think this or that. It's asking you what you think. What is your relationship to this question?" she said.

Osborne is back on tour, bringing her live show to the Conejo Valley and Osborne says that there’s so much more to the show than just her best-known hit.

"That song was a bit of a Trojan horse in the sense that it was this giant pop song, but it was also part of an album that people connected with beyond just that one song," she said.

The singer is now in her 60s and has a new album out, one that's reflecting on her life now - especially the challenges of being the parent of a teenage daughter in today’s America.

"From my experience having a teenage daughter, she does not have any interest in what I'm listening to, music or what I'm talking about musically. And in fact, one of the songs on my new record, I wrote it for her," explained Osborne.

That song is called Nobody Owns You and Osborne says while she doesn't know if her own daughter will get the message yet, she hopes that it will resonate.

"It seems like there's this very narrow version of what girls think is okay to be. I find that to be such a shame, and I think that really leaves them open to being manipulated by people who do not have their best interests at heart. So I just wanted to put it in these very simple terms of nobody owns you, not the people that you love, not me. Not the people that you're trying to impress. You are complete in and of yourself," she said.

"So I think that that is an important thing to say. Now, you know, whether my daughter is going to listen to that, I don't know, but it's out there in the world," she said.

Joan Osborne is playing at the Canyon in Agoura Hills on Friday.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.