Full circle for star: Wilde about gardens

Date
Published in
The Australian (Australia)
Written by
Simone Pitsis

In the 1980s when shoulder pads and leg warmers were a feature of every fashionable girl's wardrobe, Kim Wilde was the "it" girl. After hits such as Kids in America and If I Can't Have You, Wilde was voted the best British female singer in 1983, and barely into her 20s became a worldwide sex symbol.

Fast-forward 20 years: Wilde is now a mother of two and has reinvented herself from wild pop star to a TV gardening celebrity. To complete the circle, she has teamed up with a band of illustrious stars of the 80s -- including Paul Young, The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, Go West, Mondo Rock and 1927 -- to relive their glory days.

"I'm enjoying performing now more in the 21st century than I did in the 80s," Wilde said in Perth yesterday. "I'm much more confident and my voice is stronger now, I found my voice matured just when I gave up singing."

Wilde said the Here & Now Arena tour was the perfect opportunity to meet artists she shared the 80s pop charts with, but was too busy to party with. These days, the artists exchange baby photos before heading out for a quiet drink. "I find it more fun and less hard work," Wilde said. "On this tour I have quite a short set, I go on for about half an hour and it's actually just a laugh. I have no responsibility, no record deal, I don't have to prove anything, so the whole thing is very relaxed."

Wilde has enjoyed a successful television career and recently recorded the next series of the BBC's Garden Invaders in which she employs her latter-day training in horticulture. "People got very excited about an 80s pop star who loves gardening," Wilde said. "I got married in 1996 and that's when I stopped being part of the music industry. I had a couple of kids, got into horticulture quite by accident. I loved it with a passion and it spilled into a career because I was famous."

For Young, the musical journey never ended. He is still playing in pubs and making music with his band Los Pacaminos. Two decades after releasing his debut album No Parlez, Young says the life of the pop star is still in his blood. Like Wilde, Young hasn't been to Australia for 10 years and said playing to an Australian audience was going to be the perfect "buzz" to kickstart the tour, which was all about having a laugh and playing some good music. "The 80s were cool but not in that cool way of the 60s I don't think," Young said.