Kim Wilde: standing on her own two feet

How will Kim Wilde come across in the Kuip? Undoubtedly she will be fabulous. The optimistic expectation doesn’t fall from the sky, but is based on the great stage performances she has surprised both friends and enemies with. After her very fast breakthrough in early 1981 with ‘Kids in America’ many thought she was no more than a lovely singer for records and videos. For some time the suspicions about her rock and roll nature didn’t seem unfounded, because Kim Wilde didn’t get to the stage until the end of 1982, when she finally dared to confront her fans.

Every critic knows better now: Kim can definitely turn a hall upside down. Even the biggest ones and with lots of ease. She’s a natural. So why wouldn’t she be able to wrap the Los Vast audience at the Feijenoord Stadium around her fingers?

Kim Wilde really is called Kim Smith. Her stage name she inherited from her father. As Marty Wilde this Reginald Smith made just as much noise twenty years ago as his daughter now. The musical heritage – mother Joyce was a singer for years too, with the Vernon Girls – has not only been an advantage for Kim Wilde. Just because her dad Wilde wrote the lyrics and brother Ricky composed the music and produced her Kim wasn’t taken as seriously as she would have liked. Daughter and sister couldn’t be much more than a marionette.

Sexy image

This label was never accepted by her. That’s why she had a growing desire to write her own songs. She still has a lot to learn, she knows since her third album Teases And Dares. Her own compositions Fit In and Shangri-La were not the best on this record. Kim has protested even more firmly against her sexy image. Every chance she gets to distantiate from her nicknames like Brigitte Bardot of British Pop she has used. On pictures she always looked as seriously as possible just to not come across as seductive. No sexy clothing, either, and no nude pictures. When she revealed her legs she had to issue a statement first: ‘They may not be the most beautiful in the world, but they’re mine.’ Kim added that her fans should have some understanding for the fact that she wanted to wear a skirt now and again.

All these things didn’t help her very much. Or rather, Kim Wilde can sing whatever she wants, but her audience considers her to be a sex symbol nonetheless. During the last concert on Dutch soil in the Congresgebouw in Den Haag she got an even more enthusiastic reaction when she pulled off her jacket than when she sang her biggest hits.

The main question is how Kim Wilde will enter the Kuip. What new repertoire, and what look?