Wilde ways of surviving: Kim's fame in a family business

Date
Published in
Sunday Independent (Ireland)

Although she looked and sounded like so many onehit-bimbettes, Kim Wilde -- the blonde pouting singer who blazed her way into the charts eight years ago with 'Kids From America' has not only survived the tests of time and taste but continues to enjoy chart and personality success. The main difference between Kim and so many of her contemporaries is that she was bred for stardom.

"Pop can expire so easily" admits Kim. "I could have gone the same way as Hazel O'Connor or Toyah Wilcox and just... disappeared." But like tennis players who are groomed for success from the moment they can walk, Kim's career was stage planned, her ambition nurtured. Her father, Marty Wilde, was a pop star in the Fifties while her brother, and producer, Ricky was a teenybop idol in the Seventies. Going into that world was "like going into the family business," the confident 28-year-old now laughs.

"I don't think I would still be here if I hadn't started writing" she confesses. "I was singing things that were written for me and I was finding that very hard to stomach. I love my family dearly, but I'm a very independent sort of person and those 'Marty Wilde's daughter' stories really grated. That's what pushed me into writing."

Last year her most successful so far she supported Michael Jackson on his world tour and released her sixth album Close. The album was critically and commercially well received while the concerts were "very exhilarating. I get off on communication, everyone smiling and waving at you, moving like an audience. I like people liking me. I crave it. A lot of performers, historically, come from deprived backgrounds without much love. I grew up with a really loving family, which goes against all the conventions of why people want to be famous. But famous I definitely wanted to be. I thought for a long time it was just the music„ but it wasn't, it's the whole package. I love the fame, the glamour, the romance of it."

Although the tour took up most of her year, Kim didn't have the chance to form any kind of relationship with Jackson. "God, I don't know what he's like" she says "I met him briefly. I have the feeling that he's quite protected from reality. I think he knows exactly what's going on with him and his career but I don't think he knows too much about anything else."