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K.T. Oslin

Country Singer-Songwriter K.T. Oslin Dead At 78

K.T. Oslin performing at the 21st Annual CMA Awards (Beth Gwinn/CMA)
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(CelebrityAccess) — Country music singer and songwriter Kay Toinette “K.T.” Oslin, best known for her 1987 top ten hit country single “80’s Ladies,” died on December 21st. She was 78.

A cause of death for Oslin was unclear at press time. At the time of her death, Oslin was living in an assisted living facility while undergoing care for Parkinson’s Disease but she was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, according to Music Row.

Born in Crossett, Arkansas, Oslin attended Lon Morris College in Houston, Texas, where she majored in drama before relocating to New York where in the 1970s, she landed roles in productions such as West Side Story and Hello Dolly.

She also made a living songwriting and singling commercial jingles but didn’t have her first big break as a recording artist until she was 45, when she signed a recording contract with RCA and released “Wall of Tears” which cracked the top 40 of the Billboard country chart.

Oslin was quick to build on that success and followed up with what became her signature hit “80’s Ladies”, which peaked at number 7 and won Oslin the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

Her second album for RCA This Woman was also successful, producing 5 charting singles, including “Money,” “Hold Me,” and “Hey Bobby.”

Her third album, which included her only #1 hit “Come Next Monday” as well as “Mary and Willie” which would prove to be her final top 40 hit, would be her final before she stepped back from touring to pursue acting.

In 1996, she made a comeback, signing a recording deal with BNA but failed to strike sparks with the two albums she released on the label.

On November 30, 2014, she performed live at the Grand Ole Opry, taking the stage at the Ryman for the first time.

Oslin was named the ACM’s top new female vocalist in 1987 and won both the ACM and CMA’s top female vocalist awards the following year. She also won back-to-back Grammys for best female country vocal performance in 1988 and 1989, as well as best country song in 1989.

Oslin was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014 and was voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.

“K.T. Oslin had one of the most soulful voices in Country Music and was a strong influence for women with her hit ‘80’s Ladies’. I was fortunate to work with K.T. on a number of television shows in the late 90s. She was always gracious to the crews and up-and-coming talent performing alongside her. She truly had one of the best voices in the history of our format. Our thoughts go out to her loved ones at this difficult time.” said Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.

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