Interview: Kim Wilde

Pop icon Kim Wilde is showing no signs of slowing down.

Singer, songwriter, wife, mother, radio DJ and gardener, the 53-year-old certainly has a lot on her plate.

“Because I’m never not working for more than a few weeks, I’m pretty much ready to rock at any given situation,” said Kim. “I keep fit, I’m a gardener, I do a lot of work outside.”

Kim rocketed on to the music scene in 1981 with the hit ‘Kids in America’, which hit the top-10 in charts around the world and sailed in at number two in the UK singles chart. The mother-of-two spoke about what she felt when she first heard the song, which has been covered by countless artists including One Direction and also featured on the soundtrack for Clueless.

“I knew straight away it was a really special piece of work and I was really excited about it,” she said, adding that both her and her brother were living at home when he wrote the hit. “Riley wrote it in his bedroom that was right next to my bedroom and it sounded great,” said Kim, who described recording the track as ‘one of the easiest days in the studio that I have ever had.’

Following the smash hit, Kim has gone on to sell more than 10 million albums and 20 million singles worldwide. She supported Michael Jackson on his ‘Bad’ tour in 1988 and performed to a crowd over more than a million people at a music festival in Vienna.

Her most recent tour has taken her around Germany, Austria and Switzerland with Alice Cooper, Midge Ure, Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Mick Box and Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep).

“[Alice] is a real gentleman. Very down to earth, very inclusive and he made everyone feel very special,” she said. Kim spoke of her rituals before a show and what it feels like when she gets up on stage infront of thousands of people. “There is a huge adrenaline rush. The adrenaline starts building up during the day,” she said. “On gig days it is all about the gig. My focus every day is on the audience and giving them the very best show that I can do. I keep fairly silent during gig days and let the energy build up.”

Kim said a career in the music industry was something she had always geared herself towards.

“I had always wanted to be a singer,” she said. “It was something I spoke about from when I was 10 years old. That or being an ice skater and I’m rubbish at ice skating.”

Daughter of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll star Marty Wilde, the musical streak has touched Kim’s own children. Her 16-year-old son Harry is in the ‘hard rocking’ band Blighty inc. and her daughter Rose, 14, is already singing and writing her own music. As well as her glittering music career, Kim is also an award-winning gardener. In 2005, her garden won gold and best in show at Chelsea Flower Show, she has written two horticultural books and has also worked in television gardening, including on BBC Two’s Garden Invaders. She said her interest in gardening really started in 1996 when she married Hal Fowler.

“For me it is our church and our sanctuary,” she said of the garden at their Hertfordshire home. “If somebody had told me then I would have a career in gardening, I wouldn’t have believed them. I got out of the music business with one desire, which was to create our family.”

A packed summer stretches ahead for the pop star, who is fitting in recording a new album, a film and numerous festival performances. So what can audiences at Let’s Rock the Moor expect?

“One word of warning, we are very loud!” said Kim.

Kim Wilde is performing at Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham on Saturday, May 17.