"Smith? That name is not right. Much too boring!". Good, that Kimberly Smith changed this: as Kim Wilde (45) she became one of the most successful english pop singers of all times. When it became a little more quiet round her, she swapped the microphone for the watering can and devoted herself to gardening. Thankfully she has now concluded that music still pleases her as much as plants do. The new cd "Never say never" shows the pop icon in the best years of her life.
Gardening is more like a hobby of yours. You wrote books about the subject and made tv programmes about it. What interests you in it?
I love to see plants, how they change their colour, how they stand up in spring, how they live and die.
Now you start your comeback. Is the album title "Never say Never" a tribute to the James Bond movie of the same title?
No. It is part of a song lyric. And one of my personal experiences: one should neer say "never", because life is full of suprirses. For instance, I thought I'd never record an album again.
Why did you turn your back on the music industry?
It wasn't the same as in the beginning, and I got bored. But to be honest, I felt that the music industry also got bored of me.
[!]Nena's producer, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen, is responsible for "Never Say Never" ...
He was convinced that many people would find it great if I were to come back. I thought my pause had taken long enough. If I were to do it, I should do it now - before turning 50. And it is unbelievable: the music business is fun again to me. Just like it was in the beginning! The nicest thing is the positive response from people. I look forward to doing concerts.
Your voice sounds stronger on the new recordings than ever. Are you getting better with age, like wine?
I think so. My husband is a professional singer, and he said that a voice gets better through the years and is only mature at 40. I was always on stage, so my voice was always in training.
Many people find your voice erotic. Have you ever used it like that consciously?
I have never sung other than from the heart. But I didn't like my voice much in the beginning. I wanted to be Aretha Franklin or Chaka Khan. Despite that I just had my little voice, and that was frustrating. Just the last five years I really like my voice. I feel I've outgrown my old hits. The great thing about the new album is that I have learned to appreciate the past. I can say with all my heart that I am proud of what I have done. I think it's cool to be me. And that's one of the nice things about getting older... (laughs)... one of the few things.
You were always very attractive. Do you believe that looking good helps performers more in this era of music video channels than in the old days?
Well I think that was always so. Elvis Presley was admired for his looks. On the other hand there was someone like Jerry Lee Lewis, who wasn't very handsome but still sold a lot of records. There are different kinds of beauty, not just the optical one.
You look just as good as 25 years ago - what is the secret of your beauty?
Beauty comes from the inside of a person... (grins) And besides that there are make-up artists, stylists and beautiful lighting. But it isn't as easy as at 25 to be beautiful.
One of your new songs is called "Perfect Girl". What is a perfect girl to you?
One, who feels well in their skin, who is satisfied with herself. One who likes what she does .
You are the most successful british female singer of all times. What is your recipe for success?
I had the gerat fortune to work with lots of talented people and to be at the right place at the right time. And I was ambitious. Most of all I loved music.
On the album there is a new recording of your "Kids in America". Why did an english girl in the eighties sing about kids in America?
My father wrote the lyric at the time. He grew up with American music and the British music scene was always focused on the American one. Everyone wanted to be American, to sound American and to cover American hits.
Why do you ask for forgiveness in "Forgive me"?
It's one of the saddest songs on the album. We must ask for forgiveness for all the evil we have done to our beautiful planet. We have to take responsability for global warming. It breaks my heart when I see the destruction. I hope there will be a happy ending but I doubt it.
Another song is called "Obey me". It is about emancipated women...
When my husband and I got married, we swore to do certain things for the rest of our lives. To say "Baby, obey me" is my way to remind him of those oaths. The song is more playful, although I take my marriage seriously. My husband is very independent. I could never make him obey me, if he didn't want to himself.