Date: 13 November 2003
Originally published in: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Kim Wilde was enjoying a radical seachange from her days of pop-star excess before returning to the stage for the ’80s revival show, Here & Now. After turning her talents to theatre in the mid ’90s, starring in the revival of Tommy, she met her husband, actor Hal Fowler.
The pair have two children, Harry and Rosie, and determined to create a beautiful environment for them, Wilde decided to build a garden. “Hal and I wanted to make this Garden Of Eden for the kids and somehow gardening became my new career,” she laughs. “Now I write gardening columns for newspapers and magazines and appear on these makeover programs. I got into gardening and parenting and thought I’d left the ’80s behind.”
Three years ago, an enterprising British promoter decided it was time to resurrect some of that decade’s most popular acts and approached Wilde to join a line-up which included Paul Young, Heaven 17, Go West and Curiosity Killed The Cat. Wilde wasn’t so sure she wanted to get back into shape, literally and figuratively, for a tour.
“I was sceptical. I’d had these kinds of offers before and wasn’t too sure I wanted to be Kim Wilde, pop singer, again. For one thing, I’d turned into a bit of a blob – there’d been some very unflattering shots taken of me breastfeeding. I think the press loved it that I was becoming big.”
Then Wilde started to look on the tour as a chance to get back into shape, physically and musically. The first Here & Now tour in 2001 proved hugely popular, coinciding as it did with a general ’80s culture revival. More surprisingly, the critics were impressed.
“Everyone put so much work into their sets and I was utterly surprised how fantastic everyone was – everyone got their s… together, the audience were effusive and the reviews were mostly positive. So off I went on tour to Europe as well, being Mum during the week and pop singer on the weekend,” she says. Unlike most artists who find themselves on a bill like this, Wilde isn’t afraid to embrace Here & Now as a nostalgia trip.
“I do get nostalgic when I hear some of the artists doing their sets but I’m not thinking of it like that when I’m singing Kids In America,” she laughs. “It’s a celebration of the past but you can’t discount there’s a healthy percentage of the audience seeing you singing these songs for the first time. For them, it’s all new. And you also can’t discount the feel-good factor. Bringing people together to have fun is a powerful thing.”
And you can tell these artists are having fun backstage too. Wilde says a strong camaraderie has developed during the three European Here & Now tours and has extended to the Australian leg. However, Wilde doubts the concert series will push her back into a full-time music career.
While there have been loose plans for a new album, she admits that with having to juggle her duties as parent and gardening expert, she doesn’t have time to write songs.
“My creative energy has been poured into bringing up my children and pursuing the gardening opportunities,” she says. “We’ll see what happens with an album.”