With the number of big Broadway-style musicals on the decline at the time, Oslin spent the '70s as a marginal jingle singer and an actress in commercials. "Some people make a fortune in that business, but I wasn't one of them," she said. "I was one of the fringe folks."
The turn to country music was largely accidental.
As near as she can figure, she got inspired to write country music in 1978 when she read a bit of graffiti on the wall of a South Carolina cafe--"I ain't never gonna love nobody but Cornell Crawford."
"I was writing songs--country songs for some weird reason--even though I didn't want to be a songwriter," she insisted. "I thought I had as much chance of becoming a songwriter as I did of becoming a shepherd in Manhattan. Me, a songwriter? What a laugh."
Oslin polished her composing skills and got a singles deal on Elektra Records in the early '80s. But the country singles flopped, and she lost her record contract. Oslin was devastated, describing 1983 as her "year of pain."
Rallying her courage for a final try at Nashville, Oslin borrowed money in January of 1986 to stage a showcase in the country music center. RCA's Joe Galante, who also signed the Judds, attended the showcase and later signed Oslin.
Recalling that showcase, Oslin said, starting with a chuckle that mushroomed into roaring laughter: "I can't believe I went after a record contract that way. I'm such a coward. Organizing something like that is so unlike me. But my back was against the wall. It was blooming late or nothing. Ol' K.T. got lucky and bloomed late."