Kim Wilde: pout is not a one hit wonder

In 1981 one Kim Wilde debuted with the single ‘Kids in America’. Everyone thinks the slightly overweight, sexy blonde with the full lips is a one hit wonder, like Suzy Quatro and Smokie who were at the same record company. She keeps scoring hits and over five years later she is still in the public eye.

Kim Smith, which is her real name, grew up in a musical family. Her father was a rock and roll artist and had hits between 1958 and 1962 as Marty Wilde. In 1979 he tries to help his son Ricky to start up a career in music and gets him a contract at RAK Records. One day Kim is called to sing background vocals for Ricky’s debut single. Producer Mickie Most sees the appeal of Kim immediately and changes everything.
From now on Ricky will write the music, dad the lyrics and Kim will sing them and provide a visual. The family business is an immediate success. You could say that Kim was lucky to get into the business. If Mickie hadn’t walked past, things would have been very different.

‘Still I believe I would have ended up in music anyway. I believe in predestination: things are destined to happen from the moment you are born.’
Although the now 26 year old singer with the sensual pout is no longer a one hit wonder, many think she is still a sex symbol who happens to be able to sing a little.
‘I don’t mind being viewed a sex symbol, I feel flattered by that. If someone expresses a certain desire I will react to that appropriately. I am a sex symbol for such a person. I don’t think everyone loves me though. Every person has their own taste; it must come from two sides. Physical attraction is a complex thing; it goes beyond clothes and appearance: it’s also what you exude. A woman lies when she says it’s not nice to come across as sexy. I enjoy the attention of men and being photographed as beautiful as possible.’

Aren’t you afraid of being made out as a blonde bimbo?
No, that’s the kind of presumptions you can’t avoid anyway. I know that I’m more than that and I hope to prove this in time. until then I will go on. I mean, it would be crazy to change my appearance to be taken seriously.

Are you discriminated against by the record industry which is ruled by men?
No, the differences between the sexes have nothing to do with it. Everyone is sceptical about beautiful people, men as well as women. When I see a great guy with a nice and tight body and beautiful hair, I think that nothing will be under that hair as well. It’s a kind of racism; beautiful people are always presumed to be dumb. I avoid assuming things like that since I met a couple of these cute guys I assumed to be dumb. They turned out to be interesting.

What are you going to do to be taken more seriously?
I am going to take the reins a little more. When I started I was a 19 years old, naive schoolgirl. I’m writing songs now and have been doing so the last two years. I try to be as creative as possible and force myself to perform better. I have a 14 track studio in my flat and I try out things on it with the aid of a drum computer. I’m not good with it but I tried to handle them. I have an interest in classical music as well. You can’t keep on having that image of the school girl, that’s why I work hard on my musical development.

Is there a change of direction on your new album?
Not a change of direction, but it will be slightly different. A little more guitar and we’re working with the Fairlight as well, which we bought. And as I said, I’m going to take the reins. I wrote a couple of songs on my own, like ‘Songs About Love’, the B-side of my single ‘Schoolgirl’. I went to Los Angeles on my own to work with producer Richard Burgess. The studio people didn’t think I would be able to lead the session. They’re good musicians and they don’t expect much from blonde women. I told them what to play and the result was very good. It gave me a lot of confidence. My father and Ricki were pleasantly surprised. The new album will be out at the end of September and will contain a couple of songs we wrote together, the three of us.

What are you going to do when this record isn’t a hit?
Once the end comes for everyone. Being famous has nothing to do with quality. Most acts have fluke hits. I have proven to be more than a one hit wonder and if people don’t want to hear Kim Wilde anymore it’s a pity, but my world won’t come apart. Because I saw my father’s career I have learned to take fame not so seriously. I have seen popstars fade into obscurity. Everything they do is related to the short time they were famous. They are bitter and frustrated people. That won’t happen to me. I enjoy every minute of my fame, being popular, travelling, but I also do other things. If it’s over I hope to have had a good time and live a happy life like everyone else. I’m not there yet, though.