Still Wilde

With “Kids in America” she had a worldwide hit in 1981. Nowadays Kim Wilde has two kids of her own and is very successful with her new career as garden designer.

Kim Wilde, after many years away from the stage you present your new single, “Born to be wild”. What is your plan?
I have no idea. I didn’t plan this single at all. Someone I know in the music business asked me if I wanted to record the track. He thought of me, because my surname is Wilde.

And you took to the idea immediately?
No. I have built myself a career as a garden designer in the past few years. Plus I never really liked the original song, “Born to be wild” by Steppenwolf. But in the end I said: “Okay, let’s try it out. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll leave it at that.” Fortunately, I ended up being very satisfied with the end result.

Are you going to make a big comeback now?
That depends on it, if the new song is a success. With a new CD I can earn some money, of course (laughs). Despite that: I am not sure, if I even want to return to the pop business.

That sounds as if you’ve had some bad experiences as a popstar.
Sometimes the business was really bad for my selfworth. I come from a family of musicians, have always dreamt of being like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder or Agnetha from Abba. When I had a hit with “Kids in America”, I was overjoyed. But then my career exploded and I felt disillusioned, and finally didn’t have any lust to keep on pouting, being sexy and watch my weight all of the time.

What did you do about it?
I pulled out, washed the blonde out of my hair and gained weight – not only because of the birth of my two children. It was very liberating, not to have to please everyone anymore. Except for my husband, who always thinks I’m beautiful anyway.

So you didn’t miss showbusiness at all?
Only things like doing this fashion shooting. As a mother I have to fuss over others all the time. Which is why it’s nice to be looked after for once again. Someone does my make-up, my hair and clothes. At home I usually wear sneakers and shirts.

And you work in the garden: you have made a name for yourself as a garden designer. How did you come to this?
I was raised on the countryside, have always loved nature as a child. Friends of my parents had a vegetable- and flowergarden. I always thought: when I get my own family, I would like to have my own garden. To grow vegetables, get my own apples and raspberries from the garden. I have stalled these projects for years. Then I met my husband, married and became pregnant. I started to make my own garden immediately. But it was frustrating not to know much about gardening. So I started a course at a local college.

A popstar in the school benches. How did your fellow students react?
Most of them didn’t at all. They were all gardening freaks. My stardom didn’t interest them. And I loved to learn something again. But I was afraid as well: when you learn, you often seem dumb, dumber than the others.

Then you started doing a gardening show on UK television, and now you write gardening column in the newspaper “The Guardian”. You don’t seem to get along without an audience.
I love the contact with people. But now I don’t present myself, but my garden designs. That is a great feeling.

You live in a 16th century converted barn. What do you need to make it feel like home?
My family, a barbecue set and good friends.

Is that all?
Yes. I love our house a lot. But when I lived there alone, it was a bit big and empty. My family made it a real home. Now I could never sell it again. Sometimes it really angers me that I get so attached to the house. But I could never leave it – if only for the gardens. I have planted every tree there with my children.

What do your son and daughter think of mum rocking again?
They like the new single. Recently, when I brought them to school in the car, they said: “We want to hear mum sing. And loud.” We played it so loud, that people in the car next to us were looking funny at us.