Kim Wilde Q&A: “If I’d never been outside, I’d never have seen the UFOs”

Date
Published in
New Statesman (UK)

The singer talks gardening, pregnancy and seventies pop.

Born in Chiswick, west London, in 1960, Kim Wilde released her debut single “Kids in America” in 1981, reaching number two in the UK singles chart. Her other hits include “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Never Trust a Stranger”. She is also a landscape gardener.

What’s your earliest memory?
I remember being in the garden shuffling roses into water, which I’d flog to my neighbours. I love roses because they don’t care if you don’t love them.

Who was your childhood hero?
Hans Christian Andersen. I loved all the sad endings. He was a very honest writer. There’s nothing sadder than “The Little Match Girl”. People underestimate children. Kids appreciate a bit of honesty.

What was the last book that changed your thinking?
Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink.

Which political figure, past or present, do you look up to?
None. I’ve made a career of not talking about politics. I get a free pass.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?
Seventies pop. Gilbert O’Sullivan for starters. I loved and admired Lynsey de Paul. Elton John. T Rex. Bowie. Colin Blunstone.

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?
I’d have loved to experience the birth of rock’n’roll around 1954 in London. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be in a world without rock’n’roll and then suddenly one with rock’n’roll in it. Unbelievable.

What TV show could you not live without?
David Attenborough documentaries.

Who would paint your portrait?
Rose Wylie. Her paintings are like your favourite song. You can experience her work and make it your own.

What’s your theme tune?
“Jaguar” by Swedish songwriter Frida Sundemo. She becomes this predator in a self-empowered way. She’s a dreamer. She sees the world like I do.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My parents always told me to trust my instincts. When I married my husband, I knew he was the man I needed to spend the rest of my life with. I’d known him for six months. That was 22 years ago.

What’s currently bugging you?
How time passes too quickly. I’m pushing 60, but I don’t really feel I’m pushing 60. My dad doesn’t feel like he’s pushing 80: he still feels like a kid listening to Presley for the first time.

What single thing would make your life better?
A puppy! I’m getting another Airedale terrier. A dog brought so much joy and love into our family; they can be the glue bringing everyone together.

When were you happiest?
I loved being pregnant, but I can find perfectly happy moments in each new day.

In another life, what job might you have chosen?
A gardener, who sings to her plants! I got into gardening when I had children. I wanted to make them a garden that they could be inspired by. And if I’d never been outside, I’d never have seen the UFOs…

Are we all doomed?
Of course, even the sun is doomed. But I believe, like the sun, we should all shine as brightly as we can… while we can.

Wilde’s new album “Here Come the Aliens”,  about her encounter with a UFO, is out now