Date: 1 August 1983
Originally published in: Chart beat (UK)
This week, after a lengthy absence from the British music scene, Kim Wilde returns to the charts with her new single ‘Love blond’, a track which she seriously believes will re-affirm her standing with the record buying public and in due course re-establish her position as Britain’s most popular female vocalist.
For Kim, now 22, the release of ‘Love blond’ has signified the end of a nine month recording drought, which many feared she would not survive. Even Kim herself cast great doubts as to whether she’d ever get her career off ground again. But as I’ve already said that period is behind her now and she is back in business with a new single, new album and a new attitude towards the music business.
In a recent interview with Kim, she explained to me, in great detail, her feelings during that ten month period when everything semed to go wrong and now that she was back, her ambitions for her future career. But first I simply had to ask, why ‘Love blond’?
‘It’s basically a tongue-in-cheek thing about being a blond person, like ‘blonds have more fun’. It’s just taking that idea and making a bit of fun, which is what we intended it to be. But I should think probably everyon’s going to take it all very seriously and it’ll become very tedious, but it’s meant to be taken fairly lightheartedly, as I think a lot of the songs in the charts are. In ‘Love blond’, we’re coming back with a bit of a bang. The song’s a lot of fun and completely different from our most recent releases, as they were beginning to get quite morose. I used to say to Dad, ‘I really love your lyrics, but what’s the matter with you, you’re getting quite depressing.’ ‘Child come away’ was an incredibly morose song, not in a bad way, but I felt the new one should be a bit more ‘up’.
You’re obviously happy with the result, but why has it taken virtually ten months to record and release a new single?
‘Well it was forced upon us in many ways, you know. If I had had my way we would have had singles out non-stop. We would have done a ‘Madness’ if I’d have had my way. But that wasn’t the way it was for my songwriters (her brother Ricky and her father Marty) and I didn’t want to hassle them about that. I just didn’t want them to feel that they had to put out any old stuff. I respect them too much as creative people to ask that of them. During that time though, and there was quite a lot of it, I did have the chace to reflect on my past success and what had happened in the meantime. There were many times when I wondered if it was ever gonna happen again, y’know, just the normal healthy fear of what’s happened and what could happen. I did worry that maybe I’d been too quiet for too long and that people would start to forget me, but those feelings just came and went at regular intervals. I just got myself together physically and mentaly because it’s been a forced period of rest in many ways, but a rest from the business which has done me a lot of good. I’m now able to look at it all a lot more clearly these days and appreciate all the things to have happened to me.’
What about your tour of Britain last year, that was fairly well reviewed by the press and the dates seemed to go down well with the audiences. Was there pressure on you to tour again from the powers that be, or didn’t the question of touring come up?
‘No, it wasn’t so much the tour, I was very pleased with how that went, it was the fact that the single we had out with the tour just didn’t make it as far as the charts were concerned. So after that obviously the record company started asking ‘where’s the next single?’ and if you’re not careful you get caught in that ‘let’s get a single out as soon as possible’ trap. We’ve always been very selective about what we put out, and we just didn’t feel that the songs we had were good enough for singles. But going back to the tour, I was really pleased with the way it went. There weren’t any rave reviews from the press, they were just good and that was great for me, because that was like not having a number one first of all. It’s good to build up and not go straight in at the top. So I was pleased that there weren’t massive rave reviews and I wasn’t really expecting any, because I know that I didn’t deserve that kind of acclaim. I just went out and did the best that I could at the time. Obviously netx time it’ll be better it’s just like anything else really. It was great fun to do though. The whole thing about live work is obviously that one word, communication. It’s something you can look at very carefully and do something about or you can say ‘yes, it’s very important’ and just go on and forget about it and it was something I found very hard to do. It was incredibly difficult for me to even utter a few sentences on the stage. i mean to hear the sound of your own voice. If you hear it on a cassette it sounds very odd, doesn’t it? And you think ‘Oh God, do I really sound like that’. Well on stage its worse because you hear it back and it bounces off the walls. One night when I said goodbye, I think I said goodbye to the Birmingham crowd. I just ‘Goodbye Manchester!’. I just got confused, because we hadn’t stayed in a hotel during the travelling from the Manchester gig and I usually distinguished where I was from the hotel we were staying in. I left the stage with the Birmingham audience looking at me with a very confused look on their faces. But that was great, they really liked that and I went back on stage and apologised, but that’s basically what it’s all about breaking down those barriers and not being scared to make a fool of yourself, you know, which everyone is terribly scared of doing’.
Your new album, your third, is released in a few months time, were you under a lot of pressure to produce one and have you got the formula right for a Kim Wilde album, because in the past you’ve been quite self critical about your albums haven’t you?
‘Well, yes I think I have been self-critical of some of our material, sometimes too much so, but I’m very pleased how this album’s turned out. I think that if pople aren’t able to write albums then they shouldn’t force themselves to do so. If you don’t feel confident that you can write that many tracks, then you shouldn’t make yourself, because that’s what nearly happened to us. We couldn’t come up with anything we liked, so we didn’t put anything out. What we’re left with now is a single we’re all very pleased with and an album which has got a lot more going for it than our last album. As the story goes we had ‘Kids in America’, which was the first single we did and ‘Chequered love’ came out under a lot of pressure from ‘Kids’. ‘Water on glass’, the next release was just a track we wrote, it was never intended as a single. And then we had out ‘Kim Wilde’ album, which was like a conglomeration of Ricky’s Dad’s and my ideas, whcih we’d had for a long time. Once that was done, it was a case of ‘let’s do the next one’ and we came up with ‘Select’. In many ways our new album should be called ‘Select’: we weren’t ready for the second album, which so often happens, not just for us, but for a lot of acts. That’s why we haven’t been too scared to keep away for such a long time, because we realised that there’s no point just releasing for the sake of it. At the end of the day you’ve got to be happy with what you’re putting out, because if you don’t like it, then you’ve got to live with t. So we thought, if you’ve got to wait seven months or however long it was, then that’s just the way it had to be.’
As purely an observer then over the past seven months, how have you viewed the different and quite dramatic developments them have taken place within the British music scene. I mean the rise of groups like Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo and the return to our shores of the big names like Rod Stewart and David Bowie?
‘I liked ‘Let’s Dance’, but I’m not too keen on ‘China Girl’. I was lucky enough to ge ttickets and see him live. It sounded great, incredibly electric. It was a fantastic gig, there’s no doubt about that, but i’m not at all over-awed with Bowie. A lot of people see him as their main man, but to me he’s a main man amongst other main men. He’s not someone I look up to. I think that’s a really tedious and boring attitude to take about anyone, because it’s often to the exclusion of other talents. One thnig I obtained from my early upbringing was an inquisitive nature towards music. Dad would play a variety of music at home, from Tchaikovsky to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Mills Brothers, The Coasters, Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel, he just opened my mind to listening to other forms of music away from the mainstream rock music of the time. So now when I say I like The Clash or Elvis Costello, I can also say I like Al Jarreau and Altered Images and I think that’s a really healthy attitude, it makes life a lot more interesting. I love it all I’m a real pop fan. I love buying records. I never get the record company to give me free records, because I actually get pleasure from looking through the racks of records in Our Price or whatever. The latest record I bought was Nick Heyward’s ‘Take That Situation’ on 12inch. I think it’s great, but it’s not doing as well as I thought it would. He’s one person who’s got a lot of class, there’s not many like him in the charts. I just think he’s an incredibly talented songwriter. He’s got a lot f foresight and a lot of strength to carry on and come back with a song like ‘Whistle Down the Wind’.
Funnily enough, the last time I saw you was at this years ‘British Rock And Pop Awards’ when you did ‘Chequered Love’ and all that smoke came billowing out from the wings and completely engulfed you!
‘Oh yeah, and those disgusting girls and boys getting off with each other on those motorbikes. I was so embarrassed. I was just so embarrassed, that’s never gonna happen to me again. Oh well, live and learn!’
I think she has, don’t you?