Kim Wilde is back (and will not leave): "I like singing again"

Date
Published in
Algemeen Dagblad (Netherlands)
Written by
Machiel Coehorst

Kim Wilde will be in the large room of Paard on 22 November. In the 1980s, the pop diva stormed the charts with songs such as Kids in America and Cambodia. After a sabbatical of several years, devoted to motherhood and gardening, she made herself heard again in 2003. Her fourteenth studio album was released last year and the now almost 60-year-old singer is not thinking about quitting for the time being.

Kim Wilde was not really surprised that she made a comet-like entry into the pop world with her debut single Kids in America in 1982. ,,The song had a lot of power. I saw the energy coming into the audience when we played it. It was the perfect pop song. I still like to play it", she says by phone.

The 20-year-old Kim Wilde suddenly became a world star, somewhat against his will and thanks. ,,I traveled all over the world to promote that single and my first album: from Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany to the US. At the start of my career I was only busy with interviews, photo shoots and TV appearances.”

Soon more hits followed, such as Chequered love, Cambodia and View from a bridge. Wilde initially left her father and brother to write songs. Only from the mid-80s did the singer have enough confidence to do that herself. The great success overwhelmed her, but Wilde is not only negative about that period. ,,I certainly enjoyed it too. And being successful is better than not being successful. "

She is happy that she experienced her moments of glory in the 80s and 90s and not in the present time. ,,I already found the media difficult, now I would have thought it was terrible. Because of the pressure from social media, young musicians have a much harder time nowadays."

She also regards the period in which she was successful as relatively innocent. ,, Of course there were problems then, but you didn't have the great aftermath of 9/11. It is all much more intense now."

At the end of the 90s, Kim Wilde was tired of the music world. ,,I was only promoting. I was bored with that. I also had enough of having to talk about myself all the time. And then that constant focus on my appearance... ", she sighs. She chose to live in the dark, met her later husband and founded a family. "I no longer saw any challenge in music. It felt like I was had stopped learning." The singer went back to school to study horticulture. She also presented a garden program at the BBC and wrote a few books about her new passion. "Gardening was therapeutic for me," she says.

But the blood creeps where it can't go. In 2001 she was asked for the Here & Now Tour, a concert series around the music of the 80s, with performances by Human League, ABC and Heaven 17 ('Favorite bands of mine'). ,,I thought: that's nice for once. Then people are tired of the 80s and it is over. I was also under the assumption that as a mother I no longer belonged in that world." But a true eighties revival ensued and more gigs followed. "I was confronted again with those years back then, without pressure from a record company. Performance was not necessary and I had complete control."

And so the return of the former pop diva was a fact. When a few years later Nena suggested to record the song Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime together, she didn't have to think long about it. ,,My sons had grown up and I enjoyed singing again. I never expected the song to be such a success. I thought it would be nice for Nena's album, and it is otherwise." A different thing happened now. A friend in the Netherlands called her to report that the duet was number 1 in the hit list. It remained there for five weeks. Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime also became a huge success in Germany and Austria, Kim Wilde went back into the studio and since then another five new albums have been released.

Its social involvement has increased over the years. ,,I write a lot of texts about the current problems of the earth and try to live as ethically as possible. I also see the dilemmas: I travel a lot by plane and car. But I have also planted hundreds of trees and I do a lot of recycling. This is how I try to limit the damage, but it is never enough." She regards herself as an optimist, perhaps against better judgment. "It is almost incredible to say at my age, and I know how terrible a person can be , but I still believe in his goodness."

Kim Wilde will soon be coming to the Netherlands for an extensive tour. She has always had a special relationship with the Netherlands. On her latest CD Here come the aliens you can find the song Rock the Paradiso. ,,In that song I try to capture the excitement we felt there. It is a tribute to one of my favorite halls. It is a shame that we do not play there during this tour." She continues: "I am really looking forward to our performances in the Netherlands. We always get very warm reactions."

The last time Kim Wilde was in the Netherlands, she visited the Keukenhof, what else? ,,I bought 500 tulip bulbs and put them in my garden. They all came up last spring. My garden was completely full with tulips from the Netherlands!"

The title of her latest, fourteenth studio album Here come the aliens (2018) shows that Kim Wilde is also inspired by (her belief in) extraterrestrial life. ,,I am sure that before my death life is confirmed on another planet. I regularly look up to see if I see something. "An experience in her own garden, in 2009, underlies this belief." coming. That day changed my life. It was incredible." The story is confirmed by other witnesses from her hometown and the local newspaper.

Anyway: Kim Wilde has found pleasure in music again. She seems to enjoy it more than in her early years. She doesn't think about stopping for the time being. ,,I will be 60 next year and then we will all do exciting things. I can't say anything else about that, except that there will be a new album and a greatest hits tour. Yes, we will of course come to the Netherlands. "