Kim’s much wiser the second time around

The title of Kim Wilde’s recent single – which took her back into the chart for the first time in over a year – is a prophetic one. The Second Time is very much Kim’s attitude to what is almost a relaunch of her career. Although the single is once again written by father Marty and brother Rick, Kim is now much more involved in songwriting and production than at any time in the past.

“This really is the beginning of a whole new phase of my career”, she told me. “My record contract ran out a year ago and we deliberately held back from signing a new deal while we were working on the songs for a new album. We have our own studio now at home, so there was plenty of opportunity for all three of us – Dad, Rick and me – to concentrate on writing and recording until we were entirely happy with the end result. So although I was, I suppose, in a state of limbo, for quite a while, I’m really very grateful for that time. Now I’ve signed a new record deal, and those songs will constitute the new album “Teases and Dares”.

I asked Kim what she had looked for in her new contract. “Money!”, she giggled. “The more they put up, the harder they have to work to get it back! That, and the freedom to record how and when we want. which is also important.”

Since her chart debut almost four years ago with Kids in America, Kim has enjoyed seven hit singles. and three successful albums. as well as huge success all over Europe, particularly in France and Germany. “Teases and Dares”, which is due for release any day now, marks a much greater involvement for Kim with her own music. Her image has also changed the new Kim Wilde is classier; more mature. It shows in her vocals too as the single proves. So are the days of “Kim Wilde – Sex kitten” over.

“Definitely. It was never an image I particularly wanted or encouraged, anyway. I can’t help the way I look, I suppose, but I want to be respected as a musician and singer not as some sort of sex symbol.”

The rock world, though, is still a very male-orientated place and I suggested to Kim that in my experience, many women who make it to the top become very hard in the process. Was it happening to her?
“I hope not! I don’t think I’ve become hardened, just more knowledgeable and confident about the business. The more success you have, the more you have control over your career. Actually, I think I’ve become more tolerant as time goes on!”

So who does Kim Wilde admire in the business? “Elvis Costello. Tina Turner, Chska Khan, Chrissle Hynde. Stevie Wonder, hundreds of people. People with talent in control of their careers. My record collection is incredibly varied – you’ll find everything from Cole Porter to Culture Club in there.”