Exclusive interview with Kim Wilde: ‘To compose is the best feeling in the world’

We already noticed that Kim Wilde is a very sensitive, sympathetic girl when we shook her hand earlier this year. All the more reason to speak with her at length, we thought. On September 16 it happened: we talked with Kim during the Veronica Muziekdag about her fans, being famous and of course… music!

“Ooh God, that’s me!’, she screamed when we gave her a photograph to sign. Then she asked us: “Did you buy this record?”, pointing at the cd-single ‘It’s here’, that flopped more or less in the Netherlands. “Yes, we did”, we said. “Ooh, that’s great, then you’re one of the eight!”, she answered with a slightly self-deprecating laugh. We went to Hilversum on that day, 10 September, especially to meet Kim Wilde. She had a very busy schedule in fact, without any free space. But she was still prepared to let us in as fans during a ten minute break to have a picture taken! It shows how much Kim wants to do for her fans…

“Fans mean a lot to me”, she says when we meet her again a month later. “I have a lot of different fans: young people, but also people from over fifty. I really like being among my fans. The things they say touch me deeply. They make me feel very happy and I am very grateful to them for it.” Meeting fans is one of the nice things of being famous. She doesn’t like to have a big distance between an artist and their fans. Unfortunately some care has still to be taken: “There are also some strange people who come toward me. I have to be careful about being too open to strangers. At the moment there’s someone following me around, writing threatening letters, telling me where he saw me and all that stuff. Such people spoil things for others.”

On the Muziekdag Kim sang ‘If I can’t have you’ and ‘You keep me hangin’ on’, two songs that can be found on her new album ‘The Singles Collection 1981-1993’ together with hits like ‘Cambodia’, ‘View from a bridge’, ‘The second time’, ‘You came’ and ‘Four letter word’. Kim is very proud of this album, because it can be seen as a life story: it looks back at a long period of thirteen years working as a pop singer.

In those thirteen years Kim has experienced a lot. She has enjoyed a lot of success, but there were also times when she was depressed. In short: Kim Wilde’s career is one of peaks and troughs.

One of the more remarkable changes in those thirteen years is that Kim started writing songs herself in 1984. Before then, father Marty and brother Ricki Wilde wrote all her music. But Kim wanted to be a real artist, not just a singer: “Because I didn’t write songs myself I felt less than others. It was humiliating to have to say that my music was written by others all the time. That’s why I started composing myself.” Writing music herself has become very important for Kim. “Writing songs gives me one of the best feelings in the world”, she tells us. “It gives me strength, and every song I finish gives me energy for weeks, sometimes even for months!” Kim composes the music first usually, before writing the lyrics: “Music has a voice for me. When I listen, the music tells me what the words should be.”

Kim also writes music to process her own feelings better. “It really helps”, she says. “When I listen to my own, usually older and sadder, songs, the emotions I had at the time are evoked in me all over again. Writing songs can be compared to writing a diary.”

Next year Kim will probably surprise her fans with her tenth album, with all new songs. For now fans will have to make do with the familiar songs. Soon a remix of ‘In my life’ will be released, a song that can be found on ‘The Singles Collection’, but in a totally different version. There’s a small tour planned near the end of the year, during which Kim will probably visit the Netherlands too, but there’s nothing carved in stone yet.