Go-it-alone Kim is out of the Wilderness

Kim Wilde, the one-time fantasy girl of pop music, whose career crashed more suddenly than it began, is trying to defy the theory that the business allows no comebacks. With a new record fittingly called The Second Time, she is adopting a new set of personal attitudes along with a re-styled image.

Since her debut single ‘Kids in America’ swept the charts nearly four years ago – followed by five major hits and a deluge of Kim Wilde merchandising – there have been upheavals along with a re-think.

Now, shortly before her 24th birthday, she says: “The one thing I have discovered is my independence and how strong I can be. Men have always seemed to think I need protecting when I am really good at protecting myself. I am not a feminist – that is too strong a word. But I think that a woman’s independence is the most valuable thing she has. If you lose your identity, you’re lost.”

These are strident words from someone who first time around was accused of having been cushioned by the security of her fifties pop star father, Marty Wilde, and his influence.

She lived in a luxurious home in Hertfordshire; her brother Ricky wrote the songs and produced the records: and her father’s friend and ex-colleague, Mickie Most crafted her career at his RAK Records.


Now she has moved to live alone in a London flat, is writing some of her own songs and has split from Mickie Most to sign with rivals MCA on a four-year contract. It had been reported that she was living with 30-year-old saxophonist Gary Barnacle, currently guesting with Elvis Costello And The Attractions.

They met while touring together in the summer of 1982 and followed their on-the-road romance with a Caribbean holiday. In keeping with Kim’s own carefully guarded private life, Gary has never spoken publicly about her at all.

Kim says: “I left home because I wanted to. I did it on my own. I furnished the place on my own and it is my choice. I have remained the best of friends with my dad and we have recorded my new songs at the studio next to his house. But I got to the point where I needed some privacy. I did not have enough space in my own room to write songs, to sit down and relax alone or simply to start looking after myself.”

It has been 18 months since Kim’s last record and that, in pop terms, is an eternity. The life-sized posters which at one point seemed to pout from virtually every advertising board in Britain have long gone.


Yet the fact remains that her sex symbol image has not been usurped by any other girl singer.

“The image is irrelevant to me”, Kim insists. “My record company might play up to it, but I don’t. I do not go out with lots of guys and never go to clubs in the West End. I do not think of myself as sexy.”

Of her new image, Kim says: “The record company and advisers see me as strong, feminine and courageous. I want to go out and whack them between the eyes with sheer entertainment. Last time, I wore jeans with a man’s jacket, because that was the kind of clothes I was wearing at college. I seemed to entertain people without trying – now, I am making an effort.”

But who is she most at ease within a world where men – her father, brother and boyfriend – figure so prominently?


“My girlfriends”, she says immediately. “There are several who I’ve known since school and I can tell them anything”

And this second time, what will she do differently?

“I am not going to do any moaning”, she says. “I keep on ready interviews with pop stars moaning about the pressure on their lives and I have decided I shall never ever moan again. My attitude is very much that if there is a chance, then take it. I want to come across better than ever before. I don’t want to hold back like I used to…”