Interview: Kim Wilde

After a four year break last Friday, the much-anticipated new album “Come Out And Play” was published by Kim Wilde. We’ve invited her on her visit in Switzerland for an interview.

You’ve already eleven albums on the market, some duets and collaborations behind you, you’re professional, gardener, presenter, author and mother. And this is not the limit. What do you like pop music so much that despite all your tasks still have the power to record songs and go on tour?
Well, I’ve fallen in love with music even as a little girl. As always with big love affairs, sometimes I have had enough of it, and sometimes even the music has had enough of me. But it has held: I love the pop music still. Even rock music. I like to be surrounded by music and musicians. I think it’s great that music is one of the most important things in my life. As I grew older I have learned many things: all the things of which I had always believed that they would give my life more meaning, its meaning has not been met. I mean things like schools, government, society … all of these things have given me no purpose in life. The only thing that has actually made sense to me is pop music. I do not think this will ever change. It has always been like that.

In order to have changes: You’ve been since the early eighties a great pop star and are therefore long in the music business. What is the biggest change for you from then to now?
I think the good thing is that more and more people work with music. I believe that it is now much easier to be a musician than it was then. There is now good technique that can help people to write music and to realize their ideas without having to go into an expensive studio. In the Eighties such studios were incredibly expensive, but it was only to produce music. That was not very conducive to people who wanted to work on their ideas. They were hindered by the high cost of it. I think this one feels now, if you look at the music industry from the perspective of a musician looks. From the perspective of industry, it is naturally negative – they suffer. I think the merits of the industry in some way, she has become a big greedy monster. I think that the whole thing has developed more in favor of the musicians, and I like that. There will always be a balance, but as long as the musicians are on a good side, we can sleep all night.

The Internet has also changed a lot in terms of promotion. You have a Facebook page and Twitter …
I’m very bad at such things, but do it gladly. I always try everything to get started, but I’ll never get back. I used it in recent days. As for technique, I’m just a bit rusty, but I try my best. It doesn’t interest me excessively, if I am to be honest with you. I do not think there is something bad, but I would rather let the music speak for me. Things have changed extremely. It’s exciting and challenging. Sometimes it’s also a little scary. As I said earlier, I think that there are more and more opportunities for creativity.

If you see that artists like Britney Spears or Ke$ha earn so much money with their music, would you like to be thirty years younger and start with your music again from scratch in 2010?
I would of course like to, why not? I had a great time in this industry. But I was never a fashion or style icon. At least not like Lady Gaga is one. She makes great pop music. She is a star in a completely different way. I’ve worn a lot of nice clothes and some music videos certainly looked good, but I was never a style icon. I just made music. I do not think I will attempt to compete with such style icons.

Your site is in English and in German. How good is your German?
It’s terrible. I am not proud to say this, but I can’t speak German at all, I’m typically English.

Do you understand German because when someone is speaking?
I’ve never said that. But I am quite good in French. There was still something slumbering in me, for I had learned French at school. I remember that I asked my teacher at that time if I can learn German. There have been times the possibility. The teacher said to me, however, that my French was not yet up to date, so they have not let me. The school is therefore to blame.

Aside from all of your talents: What is your profession?
My job? This is a very good question. I think the most important thing in my life, my family. Without being boring, we are spiritually linked to our common path. My job has an earthly and a spiritual aspect.

And motherhood, is not it?
Yes, but you questioned things like that sometimes when you see other people. We once had a friend who died suddenly and has a family left behind. He is associated with the family at a higher level, but you also notice that there is still something bigger and better things than this must be it really be? I believe in it. I come also to this point. Perhaps it is only because I am now 50 years old. Maybe because I have had so many great things and experiences.

You’ve always had a passion for the garden and have presented several different gardening shows. Are you inspired for the gardens you create in the same way like for your music and your lyrics?
Gardens are created from their own ideas due to the environment. Certain styles in the garden area or certain plants look great in a garden, the next not at all. You need to know how and where to plant the plants to make it look better. In a city garden you choose other plants than in a rural garden. The idea is to place things so that they fit. Therefore, it is actually also the songwriting. There are things that make a song into what  it should be. One can sense that simply. The mood of a song, as well as the melody works and how the music sounds, shows what kind of song it is. If you look now at the gardens is the same: the environment, but also shows a sense of how to turn this into a great garden.

Which of your own garden designs did you like best?
Of all I have done? Well, I think that was the one I did for the Chelsea Flower Show. Of all things I’ve done so far in my life, besides having the most perfect children in the world, the gold medal that I have received in the Chelsea Flower Show was probably the best. That was one of the greatest days in my life.

You’ve also written and published books about gardening. Do you have any more such books planned?
I’m trying to compile a book about myself. It starts with the beginning of my life and my career is about. It will include lots of photos. It is not very intimate as a bed history, but it will tell a lot about myself and my life. I will include lyrics and poems, some diary entries and great photos. Currently I am putting together these things. It will come out next year for my 50th Birthday. 30 years in the music industry. It is for myself of course great, but I do not think it will be a bestseller. But it doesn’t matter. I wanted to do it just once, not least for my children.

During your career you were always supported by your family. Now you have your own family and your children are at home in the music world. Do you think they will get in your footsteps?
I think so. I think my son Harry will do that. He is only twelve years old and has recorded on my new album is a guitar solo. Rose, my daughter sings, Lily Allen’s music for the piano. I believe that music is already a large part of their lives. Perhaps there is for both a career, who knows?

Do your children like the same music as you?
Yes. We all love the new album by Larry Golding. We love to hear this album, it’s great. We also like ‘Death Magnetic’. I love Metallica. Lately I like rock and heavy metal music tones. This came to me pretty late. I had always seen the Guns’n’Roses fans and somehow regretted it. Today I am ashamed to say, so what. I have the rock and roll again approached by my son. Harry loves Iron Maiden, ACDC, and Metallica. He has brought this music back into my life. That’s great!

During your career you were always a lot of success in Germany. You even sang a duet with Nena, a song featured a German rapper won a German award. Would you say that you have a special connection to Germany?
It seems so. Since the Eighties I’ve always been in Germany. Even in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe. My record company had very good connections in Europe, before I became famous. Other artists such as Suzi Quatro, Smokey and Hot Chocolate were present at that time. When it went off in my promotion they sent me immediately to anywhere in Europe – to places where I had previously never been. These countries, including Germany, have grown with me. One does not forget his first great love. If we had a poster of me or anyone else on the wall, then you will never forget that.
I recently found some old photos in my bedroom. I have searched everything to find a photo of me and Kristy MacColl, because I will do a tribute concert for them in October, because she was killed. I then found wonderful old photos of us. When I had found it, I noticed on the bedroom wall a small picture of David Bowie. I thought, ‘Isn’t that strange? If someone had told me at 20, ‘You will go with David Bowie on tour when you’re thirty’, then I would have freaked out’.

Since you have a family, you have the music along with many other things in your life. What kind of meaning for you, your new album compared to your albums from the Eighties?
I’m not so good in comparison because I just live in the moment. I live my life not based on decisions that I once made or not. I have to say that this new album is an exception because we had tried this time to revive the spirit and the feeling of the old recordings from the past again. This allows the people and I remember my earlier stuff back. I think that is exactly what we wanted to achieve. It does not sound retro or after the 80’s. You hear just that the music has been influenced by it. Somewhat like the band La Roux does.

Your new album ‘Come Out And Play’ will be released this Friday. Can you tell us a bit about how it was created?
I started writing songs just before Christmas 2009. I started it in Sweden. There are so many good artists from Sweden. So I went there and started. We have written four songs in three days. One of those songs was ‘King Of The World’. This song is a great start for the album and for the project. So I went on. I have a little brother with my co-written songs, from time to time but also with Swedish and English artists. We have also started to collect songs. It is very hard to make songs that make you really like and want. This does not happen often, but there are so many great songwriters. It is a very good time for music and songwriting. I know that the market is somewhat saturated with pop star and X-Factor winners, but it is true that there are many ingenious songwriters who write beautiful music.
The new album includes 13 of the songs we have recorded. Actually we had tried about 30 different songs. We then had to filter out the best songs and are now on the album. We have focused on that the songs blend in with the old songs from the Eighties – so really, that the new songs can represent the old music somehow. There is much to hear with the sound with heavy guitar. We wanted to do just that, what we have achieved. It’s cool to play it live, we do a tour in February and March. I had so much work to prepare for the live concerts – more than normal. I’m developing into a live performer – to be precise, now this is more than a video star or a pop star. I have managed to become a performer and that is very exciting. I have a great band. We had great feedback from the festivals in which we played live. It was a lot of work. We wanted to be sure that on the album just sounds. I have invested a lot of energy in this endeavor to be a good live performer.

There are two duets on the album. How did that happen?
The two duets with Nik Kershaw and Glenn Gregory. It came about because we have already worked together several times in recent years and I have always bought their CDs. Just recently I’ve sorted out my vinyl records. I brought all my vinyl records in alphabetical order. I still don’t believe that I’ve never done that. I had a friend who helped me. It has lasted thirty years until I have since finally brought some order into it. I found a lot of Nik Kershaw records and of course, Heaven 17, ‘Penthouse and Pavement’. I’ve worked many times with them in the Eighties, we have become good friends.

As I have seen so far, the album on Friday in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. What is planned for the remaining countries?
Now this is a matter of time, but it will come out everywhere, even in England.

You have one of the best covers ever made. Eight years ago, you had a hit with the song ‘Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime’. Now I have seen that there is no cover on the new album.
Kim Wilde: No …

Why not?
Because we had so many songs of our own. There was nothing there that I would want to cover. We even tried a few songs, if I’m honest. Now, I won’t tell you which they were. (laughs) It simply was not brilliant. If you made a version like ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’, the bar is raised very high. If something is not so good was that, then it was just not good for the album. We were very satisfied with their own material. It says much more about me than if I would make a cover.

You mentioned also that you will go on tour in February. Because up to now stand at 10 concerts, right?
Yes, it’s all still in the process. It will also go through Switzerland and Austria.

Your son will be here?
I’ll ask him if he can be there at some concerts. But yes, he must go to school at this time. So I would need permission from the teachers.

Here are the top 10 of the Swiss Charts. Can you say anything about them?
I am a big fan of Eminem. I think it’s nice to see him still so active in the charts. I think that is totally cool. He makes me laugh and is very sexy.

Katy Perry
I like her very much. ‘California Gurls’ is the favorite song of my daughter. We hear it time and again on Youtube. We like the scene where she presses ice cream on her bra (laughs).

Lady Gaga
She is amazing. It is a style icon. I love her attitude and her music.

She is smart. I like Shakira. Shakira has made this song with the wolf howling? This is one of my favorite songs. I love it when she howls …

This was all that I have recognised on this Top 10 list. Except, of course, Kylie. Everyone loves Kylie. My sister will soon sing during some concerts with her. They were on tour together in recent years. Now the two are in America.