Date: 1 November 1983
Originally published in: Numeros 1 (France)
Written by: Alain Dubar
Heathrow Airport, London in the rain. Taxi traffic. More nervous than if I had an appointment with Queen Elizabeth! An afternoon with Kim Wilde. This makes the grumpy, who announced the end of idols too quickly, disillusioned… She is before me. Smiling and beautiful.
You grew up in a family of musicians. Your father, Marty Wilde, had several hits in the 60s. Can you have both a family life and be an intense rock singer?
I’ve never tried to ask me what we should be as a person generally or rock star. I have no preconceived idea for people like me. I think hanging out in nightclubs, doing it too much, or as much as possible, drink too much… is excessive. I always found this annoying behavior. I experienced a different aspect of the profession. My father gave many concerts across the country, usually in clubs, not stylish at all for that matter. There was no opportunity to drink or do anything other than working hard.
I was backstage, I was carrying his guitar and luggage. I spent my time waiting. I loved it. I lived this side of show business away from champagne soirees. I was lucky when I was given a Coke … There are still people in show biz who play a lot better if it suits them! Personally, I find it exhausting.
Is it not too hard to be a pretty girl in the misogynist world of rock?
Personally, I do not think so. I’m not upset about my reputation of sex symbol. I do not pay attention to that. I do this job because I love music, it’s my only motivation. Then I see videos and nice pictures of me. It’s nice when they are successful. Sometimes I am offered champagne and that’s nice.
All these good things happen when you do this job. I stay out of it. I refuse to put myself in situations where you could admire me as a star. I won’t be confined to a certain box. I only see people who love me and I really like, and my family as my friends really helped me to remain happy. Another thing: I am delighted not to be the target of gossipers – who would like to tell newspapers what I do. Show myself, sign autographs and let me shoot, it’s work. The pleasure is to be myself.
Do you work much on your image of ‘child-woman’ or does it come natural?
This is not my priority. At first, I always dressed in the same manner as the video of ‘Kids in America’. I had my hair normal, and we did not try to change me. I would not have let him anyway. Since then, I calmed down. I am less extravagant. I developed a style which to me is not a style-mode. Fashion is fleeting, it’s not serious, I mean that was why people dress like Boy George instead of being themselves. That’s why I wear clothes that are timeless. When one looks at me, they see me as I am, I’m not just go with the air… because I think people like to see someone like that.
The girls are fascinated by your style and your makeup. Can we know your stuff?
(Laughs) The first time I got a colour in my hair, 3 years ago, I wanted platinum blonde. My best friend has black hair, beautiful indeed, but I did not like it. Blonde baby, so I resumed my natural color. When I got out of a haircut, it looked like a living torch. I shone for miles! I hated it. Then they pushed revealing the roots, I loved and kept them well. It was expensive to go to the hairdresser. So I bought products in store and I started dyeing myself. I cut my hair myself, too, except behind. I do not brush often. A little more now. That’s all! However, I only use very natural products. The discolorations damage the hair, so I care for a shampoo that looks like mud, a special henna. Since I do this job, has strength to make up the face, hair and body, I take great care of my skin!
With your new single ‘Love blonde’, you seem to want to give a new image of Vamp. Is it for fun?
Yes, I am much amused. We thought the image was a sex symbol, beautiful and sensual. They told me that I was a ‘Glamour Girl’, I am now for this song. It was then that realized everything that was said about me was false because I was not so before. The opportunity for people to see that I could play with my image. I am the ‘Love blonde’, but not all the time. It would not be comfortable. I wanted to evoke the side of glamor that every woman feels. Those who work or daily activities may have suddenly, for the occasion, take the shape of a star. This disc is like going to a ‘party’. I’m not really a vamp, but it is also a part of me, as for every woman.
Does this image refers to a film memory?
No, it’s a mixture of what I see on TV or in pictures in magazines. I’m not a fan of cinema and I have no favourite actress. I prefer the old serials of the 50s, like ‘Bewitched’ or ‘The munsters’ with Yvonne de Carlo.
Do you sometimes think of those who admire you around the world?
I have a fanclub. I visit from time to time to see the letters and drawings that I receive. Apart from that I do not think about it, although I am delighted to be liked. Being admired does not affect my way of being. On tour, fans follow me at each step. I find it pretty crazy. My best memory of fans date from the beginning of my career. After an autograph session in a record store, by joining my car, I saw eight ‘skinheads’ running towards me. I panicked. My brother was ready to fight. When they put their hands in their jackets, I thought, ‘My God, what will they have?… ‘ Wildflowers which they offered me. I felt stupid because I judged these guys on their appearances. I never forgot that.
Have you ever been a fan of someone?
I joined the fanclub of Gary Glitter. I was crazy about him. I met him for the first time about a month ago. It was very strange! On stage, he is really brilliant. In England, he is a living legend. A true rock and roller, from the Fifties. He has excellent ideas for show and knows how to please his audience. He especially wants to entertain. There are more wonderful people. The discs are good but live… In recent years, I have not been to many shows. I think the concept of entertainment is dying.
I would recreate the show
This is perhaps a cycle?
I hope. I’d like to recreate it all. I wish people would come out and play and have a good time. We can not be a good singer with good songs. We must add something else. I’m not very good today (laughter) but I’m …
How do you explain your success in France? Most of your fans do not understand the lyrics of your songs …
It’s the sound that seduced them, I think. I sound very European. They love me as a person too, I think. I receive many of France to run fanclub. They talk about my look and music that go well together. I must say that when I record a record, I do nothing else. I do my thing. The French seem to respect that. They like people who are themselves and not conform to a psa preconceived images. It was for my individuality to be liked or that we do not like me. The idea of being popular enough I like it! I was really excited about my Olympia in Paris where I think back in November or December. What madness when ‘Cambodia’ is out! It was in France as I got my first platinum record. For cons, I do not like French cooking, it is too rich! (Laughter)
Do you sing in French?
Oh yes! I was very good in French at school and the teacher always asked me to read in class because I have a good accent. I love it. I think your singers tend to misuse the french while the beauty of this language is in the subtle sounds. I think that an English person would do it very well! I have no specific plans, but I remain open to suggestions …
How do you explain that you have not yet successfully in the U.S.? In New York, only the professionals know you, but not the general public …
I still had the fortieth place with ‘Kids in America’ and fiftieth with the album. It was before the radios accepted to play English music, like Flock of Seagulls or Human League. A good score for a disc that did not pass because too modern for them. They would not go out ‘Cambodia’ for political reasons. They have my records in import, and it starts to sell. I prepared a single for the U.S. market that I hope to get out before Christmas. I’ll work hard. I’ll go to New York to meet people, make appointments and things start slowly. They know me and are interested. This after noon already, I’ll do them a video interview.
Living in England in 83, how is it?
Hmm … For me it’s fabulous. I have no worries, apart from thinking about my next record. In London, I think it’s going better than elsewhere in the country where people have terrible problems. Here, we are somewhat detached from reality. I can only speak for myself. I have fabulous friends, I just bought an apartment, a nice car. I am happy ..
How do you think an artist can help people who have problems?
By continuing to do what he does. When asked to help a cause, I am free but I did not speak. I am entrusted with a responsibility to help in some occasions.
I do what I can. The popmusic can not change things. I learned to accept that. Say you can not change the world does not prevent you from trying.
I need to have discipline
Would you like to live to another era?
Sometimes … I’m tired of the ‘fast food’ years that are often the 80. People do pay more attention to small details. It seems to me that if we took care of more, would arrange the great details of themselves! It was better in the Thirties, Fourties, Fifties or even the Sixties! The Seventies and Eighties are lazy. It irritates me to see that 30 year old second-hand clothes are more durable than a new garment. I like old things. Today’s standards have fallen far below, I think there will be a rejection and a return to all this, and we will once again becoming interested in things. In the meantime, I will continue to irritate me because of the clothes that wear out too quickly.
Do you read?
Yes, I love to read. The problem is I start on a book and resume it after six months. I do not read enough to speak intelligently about it. It takes time to read and I have so little of that, so I prefer to see friends. But reading is vital. I want to read and paint more. I’d like to rearrange my schedule for these things.
In my apartment, I’ll be able to find me. Just as there are always organize the time when you want. I need discipline in my life right now, to make room.
How important to you lyrics from your songs?
Most are written by my father. His ideas touch me because I know him well. It’s like you read everything about Van Gogh and then you go see one of his paintings you see him differently. You know better. It’s the same with my father. We correct each other all the time. And then there was my brother who made the melodies. That’s why it works so well. For me, anyway.
You would write yourself?
Yes. That’s another thing I have not had time to do. I bought a piano, and I dream of writing songs for Dusty Springfield! One of my goals, writing for someone else. Not for myself. I’ve never written songs in my life! But it must have ambitions.
Do you become part of the generation of Kajagoogoo, Culture Club, Duran Duran, one of instant gratification, or the generation of myths, like Bowie or the Stones? What are your references?
I cannot choose between them. I’m a fan of Bowie and the Stones, and others to hear the radio. I listen to a lot of music. I do not feel confined in a special niche. We categorize music too, for good or evil. I prefer not to think like that. I do not want to lock myself in a kind and is expected to pit what I like the others. Be careful …
Do you sometimes think that your success could stop?
It could stop in England or France, or elsewhere. But I will not let such a thing happen. It will not stop unless I like it. It may slow down, it happens in all careers, but stop no!
Would you stop for personal reasons?
Yes, to have a baby. I will keep as long as possible, but it will stop for a few days at least for childbirth (laughing).
If you do not sing, what would you do?
I’ve always been convinced I had to sing. I loved it. I always knew it would work. I was not a child prodigy. People do not stop in the street to listen to me sing. I was a rather banal teenager. But I was convinced I was going to be somebody. Maybe that each individual thinks someone special. Otherwise I would have certainly been a chorister. I love doing it, even on my records. Add voice, use of harmonies, it’s really my thing. I just do backing vocals on the new Stephen Bishop. When he asked me, I was very nervous I was afraid to sing too low or too high. But I loved it. I dream of doing the same thing with Elton John. I know, I am sure he will ask me. If he does not, I will show him my voice … (Laughter)
What are your plans?
Right now, we take care of the single and album will come out soon: ‘Catch as catch can’. We are also preparing a European tour Scandinavia, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and France.
I want to make as much as possible. What they offered me so far is not very interesting. I do not think being a good actress, but with a good director, good script, and supported by good actors, I could be good.
Do you still sing at 40 years?
(Silence) I hope. I do not know what I’ll do in 40 years, maybe my third facelift! I may be full of kids and they are the most important thing in my life. My values may change. It depends. What an embarrassing question this hour of the day! (Laughter) Anyway, I will not have blond hair. I return to my natural color, definitely! It would be stupid to be 40 years and still have blond hair…
Readers of ‘Numeros 1’ rated you number one best foreign artist, with twice as much votes than number 2, Elvis Presley. Would you like to say something?
This will remain in my archives. I’m flattered to have more votes than Elvis. I am very happy and I would love to see them in Paris in November to thank them personally, but we must not forget that Elvis is the King!