Date: 24 August 2003
Originally published in: Sunday Sun (UK)
If gardening really is the new rock and roll, then 1980s pop icon Kim Wilde has a foot firmly in both camps. During the last few years the green-fingered Wilde has hosted horticultural shows for both the BBC and ITV, and writes regular gardening columns for The Guardian and Prima magazine.
But she’s still as passionate about music as she was when her smash hit single Kids In America shot Wilde to stardom back in 1980. A hit worldwide, it paved the way for a career which yielded 10 hit albums and more than 30 hit singles.
Highlights included performing to over two million people on a European tour with Michael Jackson and scoring an American number one with You Keep Me Hangin On. She was also voted Best British Female Singer at the BPI Brit Awards in 1983 and has received nominations on two further occasions.
Kim said: I still love music as much as ever. These days Im listening to a lot of R&B and classy dance music and Mary J Blige gets played a lot.
Perhaps pop-wise there arent as many personalities about nowadays though thats Robbie Williams great strength because people want performers, personality and drama and you got that in the 1980s. Personally, I get more of a buzz than ever out of singing on stage. Touring wasnt something I did enough, which was a mistake in retrospect.
My success then has enabled me to have a life now, to live normally and spend time with my kids. I was able to leave the business with a bit of dignity and if I want to do this retro 80s thing now, I can.
And Wilde has certainly made up for lost time since being invited onto the Here And Now Greatest Hits tour a couple of years ago for her first live outings for some 15 years.
Featuring fellow Eighties luminaries such as Paul Young, ABC, Heaven 17, Howard Jones and Nick Heyward, the Here and Now package has been doing brisk box office business up and down the country ever since.
And Wilde says she can’t wait to get back on the tour bus for her next batch of gigs this December.
She said: I was wary about doing it at first. All those thoughts about novelty acts went through my mind and I knew it would be a bit of a gamble. My instincts told me to do it. They’ve never let me down and I really love the whole experience now. This will be the third time Ive done it and I’ve been amazed by the audiences reaction.
Everyone gets on really well, but I have to say its not really very rock and roll on the tour bus.
We have a great laugh taking the mickey out of each other for playing pop stars at our age. We’re all 40-somethings now and its more a case of showing pictures of our kids than having wild parties.
And what about the new gardening career? Kim said: Horticulture is far more challenging and theres always something to learn. My whole fascination with it started when I decided to grow a garden for my kids, five-year-old Harry and Rose, three, and I cant ever see it ending. But a bit of me will always be a singer and Im just lucky I can do a bit of both.