Kim Wilde had become a little moody recently. Out of frustration, people said. In Rijsel we met a very relaxed singer. "I didn't really know how to handle myself for a while", she concedes. "But now I realise that I have experienced more as a young girl than most people in their whole life". The groovy concert she gave briefly afterwards was a great prelude to her concert next Tuesday at the Hof Ter Loo in Borgerhout.
When it was announced a few weeks ago that the Kim Wilde tour was briefly postponed there were rumours that the singer wasn't doing too well. "Postponing the tour was a business decision", she says. "The sales of the new album were a little slow at first and the success of the single 'You Keep Me Hanging On' meant that I had to do more promotion in Egland.
"I won't deny that I have had a difficult period: the hits didn't come and the records I delivered weren't of the best quality. That is why I was silent for the last year. I was convinced that with my devotion and patience I would come back, but it was a bit stressful for a while."
Kim Wilde concedes that the doubts were a little strong at times. "I started wondering whether I'd chosen the right career. I had a feeling that I was wasting everyone's time. Until I suddenly remembers that as a child I didn't just idolize glam stars like Gary Glitter and the Bay City Rollers, but also proud, talented composers like Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Since then I have concentrated on writing songs and I think I'm not doing too bad. I dream of the day that some star will record one of my songs. That would give me more satisfaction that scoring a hit myself."
On the other hand, the record that pushed Kim Wilde back into the chart was not composed by herself, but the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic "You Keep Me Hanging On" from the Tamla Motown-age. "That was an idea of Ricki", she says. "It was a bold move, especially since we didn't just copy the original version. On the other hand it is of course slightly disappointing that I haven't had a hit with my own songs, but my time will come. I am still young and I have a lot of patience."
Kim Wilde doesn't make it a secret that she would break loose from the influence of her brother and father, fifties-rocker Marty Wilde. "I have never felt dominated by them, but their songs did determine my career. The time is right to stand on my own two feet now. It does not mean that I will leave them behind forever, because their guidance and musical knowledge are very dear to me."
Kim still talks about her father with a lot of tenderness. "As a toddler I went to gigs in the less attractive halls with him. He had to go at it alone, while I can always rely on my team. I really appreciate how happy I am now: I lead a life most people can only dream of. I'll take the downsides of the pop business in my stride."
Kim, therefore, has faith in the future. "Soon I'm off to tour Australia and Japan", she says. "At New Years Eve I will perform live at the BBC TV programme Whistle Test and then there's a skiing holiday for a week. After that I want to devote myself to my new life goal: composing songs. Todd Rundgren, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello are people I look up to. I have recently discovered what chaaracter traits they have in common: they are very narrowminded about their music. That's why I have decided to no longer compromise."