jeffrey osborne*Jeffrey Osborne may not be a fan of cruises, but he is a fan of Don Cornelius. So much so that the former L.T.D. frontman had no trouble signing on for his first “Soul Train Cruise” in light of one strong reason.

“It is Don Cornelius. That really inspired me, just being a part of it because it’s the first one. It’s always nice to be a part of the first one,” Osborne shared with EURweb’s Lee Bailey, while touting another factor in being on the cruise: “On top of that, to work with George. I mean George Duke is probably one of my all time favorite people in the world. He did produce my first three records.  It just looks like something that I think everyone would like to be a part of. The list of artists on this is just ridiculous.”

In addition to Osborne and Duke, the 2013 “Soul Train Cruise” will include performances from Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Kool & the Gang, War, The Spinners, Jody Watley, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Russell Thompkins Jr. & The New Stylistics, Cuba Gooding & The Main Ingredient, Gerald Alston of the Manhattans and The Intruders.

“For me, it’s gonna be fun to be able to mingle with all these people that I have worked with over the years and at the same time pay tribute to Don Cornelius, who, really, was the person that tied us all together and kept our careers going,” Osborne said. “Even when we weren’t hot, Don was still there for us. So for me, it’s just going to be a great event. I’m looking forward to it.”

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Although he anticipates an enjoyable cruise, Cornelius’ death is still fresh in Osborne’s mind.

“I really didn’t want to believe it. It was one of those moments that you say ‘No. This can’t be,’ said Osborne, who was at home when he heard about the tragedy. “I think the way it happened shocked me even more. We just lost one of the greatest pioneers that ever came along. I think Don just opened up all of us in to millions of households where we would never have that opportunity.

jeffrey osborne“It hurt a lot to hear that he had passed,” continued the entertainer. “We lost a great person, a great pioneer, someone that was an incredible visionary. I’m just sorry to see it happen and sorry to see him go. So I am glad, very much so, to be a part of this first cruise because he meant a lot to my career and everyone else that is performing. I mean all of us. We got exposure that we wouldn’t get anywhere else through Don. So it means a lot. It was a sad moment. It was a sad moment in my life when he passed.”

With the Soul Train cruise on the horizon, Osborne is focused on enjoying himself, reuniting with old friends and rubbing elbows with fans. Still, the music maker has a humorous reason for not being keen on setting sail.

“I’m not a fan of cruises. I feel I do have to prepare myself before I go on a cruise,” Osborne revealed. “I think the hardest thing about being on a cruise is that you really are a captive. So as soon as you come out of your cabin, you are surrounded by people and you cannot escape. [laughs] … you gotta be able to handle that. I’m kinda used to that. I do enjoy people. I’m the youngest of 12 in my family so I grew up with nothing but people around me all the time. So I love people. I can get myself ready for that easily.”

All jokes aside, Osborne looks forward to watching his peers perform as well as entertaining music lovers.

“It’s great to sit down and reminisce and to go and see other people perform,” added the singer. “And it’s nonstop performances. That’s the great thing about a cruise. You got so many performances while you’re on that ship and they’re all usually great.”

Watch Jeffrey blow the audience away with his incredible live version of his classic hit, “Love Ballad”