Kim Wilde dares to embrace the past

“I don’t believe in coincidence”, says Kim Wilde. “But let’s not get into that, because that’s a whole different subject”, she adds, laughing. The question was if her whole career wasn’t just a coincidence, because record boss Micky Most spontaneously offered her a contract in 1980 when he heard her singing backing vocals for a project of her brother, Ricky Wilde. “I thought my future was in music ever since a young age”, the singer continues. “It just crossed my path at some point. Just like my husband some time later. That’s the beauty of life for me. ‘Go with the flow’. Don’t swim upstream, which is what I see happening a lot when I look around. I’m a real ‘downstream girl’, haha.”

The girl is now 55 years old, a bit like the aging footballer’s wife. Blonde, brown skin and red lips. 35 years after her breakthrough hit ‘Kids in America’ she is touring the Dutch theatres. She used to be the young singer who raised a fire inside young guys – and their dads – because she never smiled in videos. That made her appeal ever bigger.

“Mmmm, at the time I didn’t feel at ease, despite the success”, Kim responds. “Maybe I was too serious, too. At art school, where I was until my career, it wasn’t cool to smile on ophotographs. It was the time of post punk and new wave. Maybe it was the combination of the cool image with the happy pop music, which made my records so successful.”


She is Marty Wilde’s daughter, a famous pop singer in the late Fifties who had a hit in the Netherlands as well in 1968 with the song ‘Abergavenny’. Kim landed no less than 16 times in the Dutch Top 40, half of which made it to the top 10. Besides ‘Kids in America’ there were ‘Chequered love’ and ‘Cambodia’. At the end of the eighties the success faded. Kim landed a role in the musical ‘Tommy’, married her colleague Hal Fowler, became a mother and dived into a new passion: gardening. Suddenly in 2006 there was a comeback-album: ‘Never say never’. Hardly a spectacular record with some superfluous remakes of old successes, but important to make, according to the singer. She is fine with the fact that audiences mainly come for nostalgic reaons to her concerts, and not for the new songs. “I embrace the past and I am happy with it. There was a time when I couldn’t, some 20 years ago. I couldn’t sing a song like ‘Kids in America’ anymore. The song is about excitement and despair you go through as a teenager. That’s why I stopped singing altogether. But I don’t have a hard time with it now. Especially when I see the faces of the audiences when I sing those hits. You take the people back to their childhood for a while. My father, Marty, is now 76 years old and when he performs he still sings ‘Teenager in love’ as well.”