Interview: Kim Wilde

Eighties pop siren Kim Wilde is back in business and promises to send audiences into nostalgia overdrive in an upcoming run of shows with Nik Kershaw.

“Nik and I are good mates and there will be a lot of good energy flying around,” she says. “He’s going to start by singing a handful of his most famous songs, and then I’m going to come on with my band and rock through all the songs people remember me for, and a few surprises. It’ll be very rocky, and a night of reminiscences; a lot of people get a lot of memories coming back when they hear these songs again, so it’ll be a very special night. I like to chat a lot with the audience between songs too, but the main focus is on having a real rock ‘n’ roll night.”

The choice to tour with a fellow eighties heart-throb was an easy one for the rejuvenated Wilde.

“We’ve been on the same record label before, back in the days of MCA,” she says. “He’s always been a bit of a reluctant pop star; it never sat easily on his shoulders. It’s only in recent years that he’s been able to come out and sing his songs again, in a kind of retro set-up, but I think he’s surprised himself with how much he’s enjoyed it. He recorded a new album in recent years and he’s still looking ahead as well as playing his old stuff. He’s sung on a couple of albums I’ve recorded in recent years, so he’s become a good friend and feels like part of our extended family.”

This will be Wilde’s first headline tour since 1994; something that the singer wasn’t initially comfortable with.

“It’s something I’ve got used to gradually,” she says. “I left the music business to get married and have kids, and when I came back to music it was to do eighties retro tours in the UK initially. I was happy to find myself in a list of people and not to have a fuss made over me; somewhere in between A,B,C,D, and Heaven 17. I still didn’t see myself as headline material at that point, but as the last few years have gone by I’ve got myself an amazing band and we’ve got a really good setup and a great reputation for our live performance. My early career in the eighties was all promotion and videos, and now it’s all about cutting it live, and that’s totally transformed me. So, headlining now feels much more like something I can take on; I feel like I can really make it work.”

Many of Wilde’s tracks are iconic enough to earn attention from a wide range of bands wanting to ‘re-imagine’ them.

“There are always good and bad covers,” she says. “I seem to remember a thrash metal version of ‘Kids In America’, which I think captured the spirit of the song, but there have been a lot of bland remixes too. There has been some good work done with ‘Cambodia’, and it’s always great when someone is inspired enough to have a go at reinterpreting your music, but some have been better than others – that’s the way of life. I’m looking forward to writing new tracks – we’re just putting to bed a twelve-track Christmas album which will be out this year, and I’ll be starting to write some pop and rock tunes for an album next year.”