Laurent Voulzy & Kim Wilde: a history without end

25 years ago, the Frenchman sang ‘Les nuits sans Kim Wilde’. Now that the British singer releases her new album, we have reunited them to evoke their past and future.

First, Kim wants to talk alone. Well, rather her manager, who insists that we mention the new album by the singer, ‘Come out and play’. At 50, Kim does not care one bit. She knows she has nothing left to prove, that she won’t be number one with this disc. She is doing it all for fun, to turn back to the pop of her younger years. In 1996, after hanging around the peaks of the charts for ten years, Kim Wilde decided to leave the music business to devote herself to her private life. She marries, gives birth to two children, Harry and Rose, and become a well-known gardener on the other side of the Channel. But when a German producer finds the right reasons for a come-back, in 2005, Kim takes the leap and triumphs in Germany. ‘There was no pressure, more fun’, she says, all smiles. ‘I enjoyed it more than in the Eighties’. For his part, Laurent Voulzy had many successes since ‘Les nuits sans Kim Wilde’, his song published in 1986. But his love for Kim remained intact. They came together for us, and it’s like they had parted yesterday.

Laurent, how did you get the idea for ‘Les nuits sans Kim Wilde’?
Laurent: At the time, when Kim was on TV, I recorded her performances on video. One day, while I was working with Alain Souchon on a song, I showed him this famous cassette. He understood immediately why she fascinated me. And it was this famous sentence: ‘Since the time you talk to me, we should make a song ‘Les nuits sans Kim Wilde’. I could not acquiesce. At first it was called ‘Les nuits sans Kim Wilde, je joue au flipper’ (‘The nights without Kim Wilde, I play pinball’) (He chokes with laughter).
Kim: Laurent’s team contacted mine in 1985 to propose that I sing with him.
Laurent: Wait Kim, you forget our first meeting!
Kim: I don’t remember it!
Laurent: I remember it well. We were at the same television show recording. I knew someone from your record company. I was all impressed and affected.

What did Kim represent in the Eighties?
Laurent: I still have in my studio the pinball with her image that was used for the clip! That’s what it was at the time. When I saw her on television the first time she was quite magnetic. The way she moved was perfect. I had fallen under her spell, even before the encounter. It was between obsession and fascination! And I think that many boys of my generation feel the same way.
Kim: I was fascinated by the fact that someone had written a song about me, it was a beautiful compliment. I still remember listening to the demo with my father and my brother. My father was jumping for joy: ‘you must contact this Laurent! You must contact this Laurent!’

You play with fire, going to appear in the clip!
Kim: At the time, I did not mind that I refer to people. Laurent was the first to put words into these kind of things. Me, I was young and naive …
Laurent: After having been in the studio with her, we went to a restaurant with her family. They were very united and Kim was very simple. She dreamt a lot about men but she did not realise it. She mostly loves music. Her simplicity was fantastic.
Kim: Laurent looked like a boy wonder! He was charming, irresistible, friendly, honest and open.

Are you nostalgic about the Eighties?
Laurent: Life is full of emotionally charged moments. That whole adventure with Kim was one of those moments. About the Eighties in general, I don’t think I’m nostalgic. I live in the present. The past is my souvenirs, my motors to keep me going.
Kim: It was a magical era. I spent loads of time in France, notably in Paris and it was marvellous. The fact that the French accepted me, it was magical. It’s like a little diamond in my heart. Sure I do have more, but it is one of the biggest.

How did your relationship evolve through the years?
Kim: Our lives have followed their proper courses. Laurent has continues his wonderful music and I had a turbulent career. But on occasion we saw one another again, in Paris, during concerts and on television performances.

Do you still have the same passion for music?
Kim: Yes. I had a break for ten years, and during that time I listened to a lot of music I didn’t know, like opera, classical music but not a lot of pop. I stopped listening to it near the time the Spice Girls came. It felt good because it is a genre that spoke to me more. But I had other passions: my children, gardening…
Laurent: I have the impression I’m still 18 years old, except when I play football with my youngest son. I think I live with passion. I have enough. I remember one day Kim told me she didn’t like being a star. That surprised me a lot.
Kim: I needed to see what life was without being a star. That’s why I stopped making music for ten years. And I don’t regret it.
Laurent: I was astonished and at the same time I thought it was great from her. Me, I love being a singer. I never listen to my discs once they are finished, except in my car when a song by me is played on the radio. There’s always some magic in there. But I know that when I’m not there anymore, the world won’t stop spinning.

So when an album together?
Kim: We talk sometimes. We should do something before we disappear, don’t you think, Laurent?

Kim Wilde in 7 dates

1960 – Born on November 18 in Chiswick, as Kimberley Smith, daughter of singer Marty Wilde.
1981 – Her first single ‘Kids in America’ is a success in all of Europe.
1982 – The album ‘Select’ establishes her as an icon of the decade, thanks to the song ‘Cambodia’
1988 – She appears as a guest star of Michael Jackson, but only meets him once.
1996 – She decides to stop music to marry actor Hal Fowler, the father of her two children, Harry, born in 1998, and Rose, born in 2000.
2006 – ‘Never say never’ marks her return to music.
2010 – At 50, she records ‘Come out and play’, released in France on February 28.

Laurent Voulzy in 7 dates

1948 – Born on December 18 in Paris.
1970 – With his first group, Le Temple de Vénus, he releases his first single, ‘Plaisir solitaire’.
1974 – Meets Alain Souchon.
1977 – ‘Rockollection’ finally offers him an immense success.
1993 – First tour on the occasion of his album ‘Caché derrière’
2010 – Marries Mirella Lepetit, his girlfriend and mother of his fourth son, Quentin.
2011 – Works on his new album, scheduled for June, but also working on a disc of duets with Alain Souchon.