Date: 9 August 2010
Originally published in: Berliner Morgenpost (Germany)
Written by: Nina Anika Klotz
Doing interviews is like riding a bike, thinks Kim Wilde. This isn’t something to forget. And so the 49 year old is sitting relaxed on a couch at the Ritz Carlton at Potzdamer Platz after maternity leave and some years of stage absence. She sips from her still mineral water from time to time and talks about her eleventh album.
It is released on August 27 and is called ‘Come out and play’. The title says it all, basically: it’s about having fun with life and a good mood. ‘I’m really looking forward to getting back up on stage again, it’s going to be such fun!’, says the British woman. She tours around Germany in early 2011. On February 23 she appears at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
But wait a moment, isn’t this the same Kim Wilde, heroine of the Eighties, who became famous worldwide with hits like ‘Kids in America’, ‘You keep me hangin’ on’ and ‘Cambodia’, who appeared on stage seldom and without too much eagerness? ‘Yes, that’s right. In the beginning of my career I didn’t have a lot of fun during performing. I wasn’t very relaxed at the time, and to be quite honest: my voice wasn’t strong enough for live performances at the time either.’ Only in 1988 Kim Wilde got rid of this stage fright. In that year she was invited by Michael Jackson to join him during his ‘Bad worldtour’. ‘Michael and I played 30 shows together. I experienced for the first time what a great feeling it can be to stand on stage before thousands of enthusiastic fans.’, the ‘princess of pop’ remembers.
Kim Wilde has arrived in the here and now. She has been in the music business for 30 years now. And also when she is a star of the Eighties and her music sounds a bit like it’s coming from that era, she is not one to hold on to the past desperately. She is very open to bands and artists from now, likes Keane, Coldplay and especially Lily Allen (‘What a talent! I love her!’)
Kim Wilde does not pretend to be younger than she is. In the autumn she turns 50, like she says a few times. She does have a few wrinkles, a few more in real life than on the cover of her new album. And obviously she was a few pounds lighter in the Eighties. She does do a lot of sports with her personal trainer, and keeps in shape that way. She is a mother of two children (Harry, 12, and Rose, 10), loves the country life and has built a whole new career in the past few years, as a gardener. “That was hard work. It sounds so easy to say Kim Wilde has gotten married, got children, and does gardening now. I went to university and studied landscape gardening. I had homework and exams’, Wilde explains. ‘I liked it a lot and thought it was super to be an A student.’ During her studies she got the invitation to present a gardening programme for Channel 4. Later she moved over to the BBC. She wrote a few books about gardening and gardening with children. Some of the gardens designed by her were awarded prizes. ‘It’s more than just a hobby’, says Wilde. She has of course built a beautiful private garden around her home in Hertfordshire, with a tree house and lots of organic vegetables.
Without the support of her husband she wouldn’t have made it through. She met Hal Fowler when they performed in the musical ‘Tommy’ in the London West End. Now Hal takes care of the children and the garden, when she is on tour. ‘I like the contrast: one moment I’m in the garden fussing over my tomatoes, the next I’m here in the luxury hotel talking about rock ‘n’ roll’, says Wilde.
The difference between now and back then is that she tries to get back home as soon as she can. Work isn’t everything anymore. And so it’s not really a surprise that during the tour a very special artist will play by her side: her son Harry. At twelve years he has his own band called Ten Volts, in which his sister is the singer, but he was also allowed to play a guitar solo on his mother’s album. ‘I wrote the song ‘This paranoia’ during a journey through Sweden’, says Wilde, ‘and there was some space for a beautiful guitar solo. I thought: I know someone who’s really good at playing guitar! I asked Harry, and it was agreed. Now I’d like to take him to a few concerts. You know: proud mums love to show off their sons.’
The Wildes have the music in their blood. Both the inheritance and the musical collaboration between siblings have already proved very successful. Kim Wilde is the daughter of rock ‘n’ roll singer Marty Wilde. Her brother Ricky is working as a songwriter and producer, and wrote amongst others Kim’s first worldwide hit ‘Kids in America’. Of course he was also involved in the creation of the new disc. And perhaps Wilde is right when she says, ‘you will hear more of Harry and Rose’s band Ten Volt in the future!’