Date: 1 December 1983
Originally published in: R&R Entertainment Digest (USA)
Written by: Terry Gumpson
This new wave songstress proves she’s not just another pretty face.
Home for your average new wave queen is a trendy apartment in one or more of the jet set watering spots of the world. Something on par with New York, L.A., Lonon or the Left Bank in Paris. For the truly successful, there’s always one of those sprawling manor houses that even the landed gentry can no longer afford. So what is new wave sensation Kim Wilde doing living at home with her parents and two siblings?
“There’s a deep-seated side to my personality that loves a quiet home life”, she says. And thanks to a good relationship with her parents, she says she’s happy to share their modest home in Hertfordshire, England, along with four-year-old sister Roxanne – named after the Police hit – and two-year-old brother Marty.
That home life is a far cry from the lifestyle you’d expect from a singer touted as one of the wildest – and most sensual – on the music scene today. British newspapers have said that “If Debbie Harry is the Marilyn Monroe of rock, then Kim Wilde is Britain’s own Brigitte Bardot.”
The newspapers may be right. Wilde’s lithe sexiness is coupled with an innocence that makes her the leading enigma – at least in looks – on the new wave charts. Her debut super seller, “Kids in America”, quickly caught the world’s attention, and her follow-ups – “Chequered Love” and “Cambodia” – have platinum awards from the recording industry. Her latest LP, SELECT, is moving fast on the new wave charts, proof that Wilde has a lot more than enchanting looks to offer.
And all this is from a young woman who until just a short while ago, never gave a thought to becoming much more than perhaps a graphic artist. Wilde was comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, not the flashy trappings that make up her wardrobe today. Her music studies, she adds, leaned more toward classical piano than the hard-charging notes she’s now strutting.
But pop music, if you will, has always been in her blood. Her father, Marty Wilde ,was pretty famous as a pop singer back in the 1950s in England. And Wilde’s younger brother, Ricky, has become something of a whiz kid in the technical aspects of new wave recording.
But it wasn’t until Kim stumbled into a recording studio where Ricky was working that things began to happen. While he worked the technical side of a demo tape, Kim started adding backup vocals. A leading British producer happened to walk by just in time to hear Kim sing, and things began to click.
The producer asked to hear more, and Ricky dug out a song that wasn’t planned to be used that day. With a little prompting from the producer and some technical additions from Ricky, the tune, “Kids in America”, was recorded on the spot. The song sold millions and, as they say, a star was born.
While she may live at home with mom and dad, 22-year-old Kim has been photographed for her album covers with her normally brown hair dyed platinum and her slim form covered closely in clothes wild enough to make Joan Jett look like a staff member at a religious orphanage. Kim insists her sensual look is “all in the eyes”.
With father Marty giving her bits and pieces for her songs – she says hasn’t found her own talent as songwriter yet – and with her family’s backing she’s making sure that her Cinderella story doesn’t turn out to be all flash in the pan.
After all, though Joan Jett and Debbie Harry et al may not agree, there’s always room at the top fo another classy songstress.