Date: 9 February 2018
Originally published in: Lancashire Telegraph (UK)
Written by: John Anson
SHE was the golden girl of Eighties’ pop with a string of hits, a Brit Award and sold out tours to her name.
Now Kim Wilde is back with a new album and is getting ready to head out on her first full UK tour for 30 years.
“I’m really ready for it – that’s the fantastic thing,” she said. “I’m really proud of the album, very excited about the tour and I’ve got a great band. We’re putting a lot of energy into it with production and costumes and just want to make a bit a splash about the whole thing. We’re not going into it in a half hearted fashion, I can tell you that.”
Kim’s enthusiasm for the latest stage of her career is infectious which will delight her many fans who saw her pretty much step away from the music scene in the mid 1990s to concentrate on her family. She married the actor Hal Fowler whom she met while starring in the musical Tommy and they have two children Harry, 20, and Rose, 18.
“We started writing for the album several years ago,” she said, “but then I did a Christmas album – Wilde Winter Songbook – which interrupted things a bit. Then there was lots of live stuff – Kim has been one of the most popular performers at various 80s festivals – and family stuff and things got put on the back burner for a while. But now it all just seemed like the right time to put it out.”
The new album, Here Come the Aliens, features songs which Kim has written with her brother Ricky who was responsible for some of her biggest hits such as Kids in America. In style it is immediately recognisable as a Kim Wilde album, full of catchy songs which she isn’t afraid to classify as pop.
“Whatever the recipe was for those early records, we’re still using that to a degree,” she said. “But time has passed and I’ve been working a lot live and my voice is a lot stronger as a result. As a writer I’ve really developed and got masses more experience. It was wonderful being able to write for this album and talk about things that interest me, that fire me up, that interest me and perplex me. It’s pop rock in the tradition we set out with and I hope that people feel that it’s a worthy accompaniment to the past.”
The single Kids in America back in 1981 propelled the then 21-year-old singer into the spotlight. “All of a sudden it was all about me,” she recalls, “but that wasn’t my intention at all. When I got into the music industry I wanted to be a session singer and I would have been quite happy to do a session and get paid and move on to the next job. So when it did happen to me, it wasn’t like a big dream of mine to be a big star. I had to get my head round it pretty quickly. But really I’m always happier in a team. But I quickly learned to have a good time with it too. I enjoyed playing up to the camera and photoshoots and all the costumes and playing around with make-up. I can’t pretend I didn’t have a ball and I still enjoy doing all that now.”
But for all the success, Kim wasn’t completely comfortable with her new-found fame.
“I think before I got married I did feel quite lonely with all of that going on,” she said. “Luckily I was working with my family so it never felt that lonely but it was becoming quite an isolating place to be by the time I hit 35. I do thank God I met my husband at that time and since we got married and had the children, life has just got better and better. I have a much more solid foundation now.”
Having let her music career take a back seat, Kim divided her time between her family and a passion for gardening, even fronting a series of TV programmes and writing a couple of books on the subject. In 2003 she did a duet – Anytime, Anyplace Anywhere – with the singer Nena, best known in the UK for 99 Red Balloons which was a hit across Europe.
“On the back of that success we ended up recording a couple of original albums which were released in Germany which I’m really proud of but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to release them here because we didn’t have the same momentum. Certainly there wasn’t any great enthusiasm on anyone’s part to get them released here. But this time it’s different. It’s a real commitment to be back in the UK which is where it all started for me.”
Here Come the Aliens will be released on March 16. Kim Wilde will play Preston Guild Hall on Thursday, April 12 and round off her tour at the Lowry, Salford Quays on Monday, April 30. More details from www.kimwilde.com