HOLLYWOOD - "Sex symbols can't sing, you know that", said sex symbol Kim Wilde, an English singer who has a Top 5 single with her remake of the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On.
"But I'm different", Wilde said duing a recent interview here. "I'm not a great singer. I'm not like Aretha Franklin or somebody like that, but I do have a distinctive style. I can sing."
Wilde, 26, has been trying to establish credibility as a singer ever since her first single, Kids In America, was an international hit in 1982. "The press spotted me right away as the sexy type", she said. "I had the blond hair, the big lips, a decent body. That's all some of them - the male journalists - saw. They look at me one-dimensionally."
Wilde once did seem like a candidate for instant oblivion. But she fooled everyone, making five albums and blossoming into a star in the United Kingdom and Europe. Her voice has improved too.
You Keep Me Hangin' On, Wilde's biggest American single, is from her MCA album Another Step. This is the third Top 10 hit version of the song. The Supremes had the first one in 1966, followed two years later by Vanilla Fudge's psychedelic rendition.
The only thing she does not like about her version is that it is a dance single. She is ambivalent about her success in this genre, where singers are often just background figures. The real heroes are the arrangers, producers and musicians. Dance-music artists are frequently one-hit wonders.
"I can sing pop and rock, not just dance", she said. "I could have done something like Jody Watley, who did a dance album like Janet Jackson's. But I don't want to do a dance album like anybody's."
Wilde's record company has other ideas. Its aim is to build her popularity by capitalizing on her fame in dance circles. Her choice for her nxt single was the album's title song, Another Step, which is not a dance tune. But the company has the final word, and it has selected the dance-oriented Say You Really Want Me.