Date: 27 October 1984
Originally published in: Algemeen Dagblad (Netherlands)
Written by: Arno Gelder
Rotterdam – There was a time that Kim Wilde would refuse to smile in the presence of photographers and journalists. Not because the 23 year old singer had a difficult life, but she didn’t want to present herself as the umpteenth ignorant blonde of the pop world.
“I still think it’s a pleasant thought that people don’t exactly know all about me”, Kim Wilde says now. “I like to keep people guessing. That’s why I never talk about my private life. Besides the fact that it doesn’t concern anyone what I do outside of my professional life, the distant posture has a certain mystery about it.”
It’s not a secret anyway that Kim Wilde is back in the charts after some periode of silence with the single ‘The second time’, taken from the new album ‘Teases and Dares’.
“It has been a bit difficult this past year”, sighs Kim Wilde. “I left my old record company RAK, because I wasn’t inspired there anymore. The freshness and enthusiasm of the beginning was gone. RAK was only interested in singles and didn’t work on my albums. My last album ‘Catch as catch can’ is an example of a quickly produced product: the songs weren’t finihsed yet, we wanted to work on more ideas. In the end I decided to leave RAK. And it says a lot that on my new album I wrote some songs myself for the first time. I suddenly had the time and wanted to do it. The feeling that things would turn out right if I just kept on singing had disappeared. And that’s a huge relief.”
Together with brother Ricky (Kim’s composer and producer) and father Marty, who had a large amount of hits in the Sixties), Kim got to work on ‘Teases and Dares’. “You know”, she says with a slightly sad expression on her face, “I was written off by a lot of people. She won’t survive, they reasoned, she’s past her prime. But in our own home studio I found out that isn’t the case at all.”
“We got to work, the three of us, supported by the trust of our new record company. No, we didn’t have to do it for the money. I’ve got enough money and it isn’t what drives me.”
How should I envision the cooperation between daughter, son and father Wilde?
Oh, it’s tough at times. At home we rarely talk about work, but in the studio our relationship is purely professional. There’s a lot of cursing and yelling, we don’t spare one another. When I ask how I am singing a certain song, Ricky can suddenly say: “Sorry, it sound terrible, do it once again. It isn’t nice to be criticized but I know that Ricky and Marty are honest and won’t spare me. I can be just as tough anyway.”
After your debut single Kids in America you were seen as a seductive sex bomb, but also a raw punk. Have you always wanted to keep your image mysterious?
I have always said that I want to survive as a musician and not as someone who looks good, bizarre or remarkable. It’s all about the music, my music and it comes with an image. That image can be different but it shouldn’t overshadow the music. And it doesn’t, in my case.
You have never wanted to present yourself as a dumb blonde. Are female popstars in danger of doing that when they are on record or on stage?
Of course the music business is still male dominated, but there’s been a lot of development towards female musicians in recent years. There’s more respect, women in my profession are not treated as dumb girls or objects of lust who have to be exploited.
Because of technical advances in the music possibilities have come for women that were previously only afforded to men. As an example I can call my home studio, where I can experiment and work unlimited. There are more female composers than ever and I can predict that within five years there will be a great group of women in pop music as producer, composer and technician. They can easily compete with the Trevor Horns and Arif Mardins of this moment.
Is there a difference between male and female music, according to you?
I think there is a difference. I think women are much more direct in their lyrics and music. They go toward their goal without any delay. Maybe it’s because women feel they have to prove themselves more. In lyrics you can hear a lot of things in which you can notice that women have never had the chance to say these things before. I noticed this myself when I wrote my first songs. One of my big examples, maybe even the example, is Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. But I also have a lot of respect for singers like Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and Kirsty MacColl.
You are active in pop music already since 1981. What are your most positive and negative experiences?
I’ll start with the negative: it’s me. I am still doubting myself a lot, every day. Am I a good singer? Am I good on stage? And now that I’ve started writing myself for the first time, there’s this feeling: am I good enough? That eternal doubt is my constant fight, but it’s also an inspiration for me, strange as it sounds. As the most positive thing I should say: thanks to this doubt I can work on my talent, try to get better. I come from a very creative family, I went on tour with my dad a lot. When you see him up close, you know how fickle success in pop music can be. So I try to keep my feet firmly on the ground. There’s always doubt, but it has led to great things.