Date: 1 January 1988
Originally published in: [unknown] (Netherlands)
What has Kim Wilde got that others don’t? Is it her Brigitte Bardot lips? Is it her unapproachable brown eyes? Is it the cool looks? Or is it simply her music? It will all contribute to it. The fact is that Kim Wilde is very popular right now. The past eight years have been a period of many ups and downs, in which, as she says, ‘the positive moments have surpassed the negative ones’. 1988 looks like it’s a great year for Kim. With ‘Hey mister Heartache’ and ‘You came’ she had reasonably big hits and the LP ‘Close’ is also doing well.
Kim Wilde is really called Kim Smith and she was born on November 18, 1960 in the English Hertfordshire. Kim comes from a very musical family. Her father is Marty Wilde ,a singer who was very popular mainly in the beginning of the sixties in England with hits like ‘Donna’ and ‘Teenager in love’. Little Kim was literally brought up with music; as a young girl she sang backing vocals for her father’s band. When Marty was no longer popular himself he decided to get involved in his daughter’s career together with his son Ricky. Ricky was to compose and produce, whereas he wrote lyrics and did the management. Km, looking exotic as well as really English, would become the voice and face of ‘the project Kim Wilde’. The plan was a success, because with the first single ‘Kids in America’ Kim scored a worldwide hit in 1981. She was seen as a new wave artist in that time and especially the media named her the new pop idol. She brought to pop music what it lacked at that time. The pop music in general, and especially British pop music, was a rather grey and colourless thing during that time. kim Wilde broke tradition with her sensual and stylish looks. ‘Chequered love’, ‘Cambodia’ and ‘View from a bridge’ became hits as well and Kim’s family company started to become a hit factory. Still the stream of hits stopped by the end of 1982. The question why seems hard to answer, but it’s worth asking. The music of Kim Wilde was synonymous with new wave and rock in a synthesizer mould. Commercially this sound had its success, but after a while the ‘Kim Wilde sound’ became predictable. On top of that Kim Wilde wasn’t exactly a new phenomenon anymore. She had been interviewed by newspapers and magazines and on radio and tv and after a while that becomes boring and the media ignore you.
Fortunately Kim Wilde has always been intelligent enough to stay true to herself and not be seduced to do cheap publicity stunts. Especially the fact that Kim always kept quiet about her private life and is still single, lead to many rumours in the mighty British tabloids. The truth is simply that Kim doesn’t want to commit: ‘I am much too selfish in fact. I want to do things I like, things I find important and things I like to do. And the first few years a boyfriend or husband has no place in that.’
By the end of 1987, after five disastrous years, Kim ended up on number 1 in America with ‘You keep me hangin’ on’ against all expectations. This old hit by Diana Ross & the Supremes provoked a turnaround in her career. With new energy she started working on the LP ‘Close’, which turns out to be excellent. The music is more varied than ever and Kim’s own lyrics (e.g. a fantastic song about the French painter Marc Chagall) excel in sensitivity and liveliness. ‘You came’ became a top 10 hit for Kim, and the media that ignored her only a year ago are standing in line for Kim again.
Still she herself says she’s learned from the past eight years. Kim Wilde: ‘They have been eight very great years, with more positive than negative experiences. I have met countless interesting people, have seen many countries, have gone through many interesting adventures. There were some low points as well, of course. Times when the media ignored me and the record buying public preferred to buy albums by other artists instead of mine. I have to admit that not all my work has been the best. But I’m still happy that I’ve been given a new chance. I’ve got a second wind now. But I know it can be very different in a year from now.’