Kim Wilde: A 60th Birthday Tattoo – Our Interview

Kim Wilde will be 60 years old on November 18th. On her special day, her festive album “Wild Winter Songbook” will be released in a deluxe edition with new songs and duets with Rick Astley and Nik Kershaw.

“Kids in America”, “Cambodia”, “You Came” – the singer wrote music history in the eighties with the hits penned by her brother Ricky Wilde. In her home country she is the British woman with the most hit singles in that decade.

In the late 1990s, the mother of two discovered gardening, wrote books about it, hosted a TV show and was awarded the gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. Today, she brings music, family and garden under one roof – and is still wild, as she reveals in an interview with star reporter Katja Schwemmers.

Ms. Wilde, where are you celebrating your 60th birthday?
At home! With my husband, our two children and the two dogs by my side. I guess my daughter Rose is going to bake me a cake. My parents will be over for the big dinner. It’s going to be a very quiet evening, but I’m already looking forward to it, my birthdays are always very special.

How does it feel to turn 60?
It’s crazy! Me and 60? I really can’t believe it. It’s so surreal to me. But at the same time I know that it was a really long journey to get here. I have no problem with the process of getting older. I feel good about it. I learned a lot from life and still never lost my sense of humor and my love for life.

Was life bad for you?
No not at all. But I still saw a lot of terrible things from a lot of terrible people. Even so, I still have great faith in humanity and believe that things can be resolved in a positive way. The little miracles and the beautiful things – this is the world in which I live.

So do you pay as little attention as possible to people like Boris Johnson?
Politicians are all the same anyway. Your motivation for going into politics often seems dubious to me. Whether they really want to help us lead a better life is questionable. I would like to see the more positive side of them, but with certain politicians that’s just impossible. Still, we can all make a huge difference in our own lives.

In what way?
The way we treat our family, friends, work colleagues, and neighbors. The small radius is what I focus on when it comes to change in the world. I can influence that. And if each of us did that, we would be able to change a lot on this planet. We have it in our own hands and can start at our own doorstep.

Did you change anything about your lifestyle when you were 60?
I renounced alcohol completely three years ago. I feel a lot healthier, better all round and clearer in my head. As a nice side effect, I also lost a few pounds. I have a lot more energy, use the days more intensively, and it’s good for my mental health too. Quitting alcohol was one of the best decisions of my life.

Do you have a bucket list?
I made one with my daughter Rose. There are a few things that we have to do together. We’ve already done some of that: we got tattoos together! A mystical Avalon tattoo is now emblazoned on our left arms. It’s a symbol that means a lot to Rose and me. It represents a magical moment that happened to us a few years ago. But it’s too personal to reveal.

They are always associated with the eighties. Do you have a favorite decade yourself?
The eighties were wonderful. But I got married and had kids in the 90s. My life changed, there was suddenly a life away from the limelight. I traveled to Thailand a lot back then, and I have fond memories of that. So for me it was my thirties in the nineties that I see as the best time of my life.

What advice would you give 20-year-old Kim Wilde?
Not that much time to spend worrying! I used to always find a reason for it. What might or might not happen – I’ve wasted far too much time on such questions. I was very hard on myself. So I would tell my young self, “Don’t be so strict with yourself. Don; t worry so much. Have fun with the trip. Don’t worry about what you can’t see! “

In your home country, you are the British woman with the most hit singles in the eighties.
A record that nobody can take away from me! Certain songs were my best friends. And the best thing is: I still love pop music today as much as I used to. It’s similar with my dad, who is 81 and just released a new album. Anyway, I’m still a fan. I’m still wild and enthusiastic. I still get excited when I hear a great song and it instantly lifts my spirits.

To what extent is Nena responsible for the fact that you are still so busy with music?
Nena brought me out of retirement! When she asked me in 2002 if I would record “Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime” with her, I had been out of the pop business for years. I wasn’t planning on making a comeback. I thought okay, I’ll sing on the song and then I’ll never hear about it again. I was really shocked when they called me and said the song was going to be a huge hit – not only in Germany. In the Netherlands and Austria it was even number 1.

Was that a nice experience?
Nice. All of a sudden, I was back with her in all the shows that I thought I would never do again. I wasn’t really ready to be a pop star again, but Nena got me in shape. Sometimes it was very inspiring to have around me, sometimes quite a challenge.

What influence did Germany have on your career?
It was the first country outside of the UK that I visited early in my career. Back then I was a guest at the “Musikladen” and worked a lot with magazines such as “Bravo” and “PopRocky”. I spent a lot of time in Hamburg, Bremen and Munich in particular. The tour together with Alice Cooper in 2014 is also unforgettable. It was a wonderful experience.

You opened for David Bowie in 1990 on his “Sound + Vision Tour”.
We played 30 shows together in Europe. It was incredible to be able to hear his greatest hits every evening. I imagine that he liked what I do and that I was able to accompany him. I met Bowie a couple of times, he was very down to earth and downright normal, just a lovable, open guy. Unfortunately, I was too impressed with him when I was around. I could never find the right words.

Various songs have been written about Kim Wilde. Her songs have also been covered over and over again. Did you like something in particular?
The French singer Laurent Voulzy sang the title “Les Nuits Sans Kim Wilde”, which means something like nights without Kim Wilde. This is a real 80s pop hit. We made a video of it and I did a few gigs with him. I’ve always loved Lawnmower Deth’s trash metal version of “Kids In America”. It’s so far from everything, and yet for me it’s the only version that captures the originality of the song in a very natural way. I will never forget how I sang the song with them at the 2016 metal festival “Download” Festival. That was just funny.

Next year, it will be 40 years since Kids In America was released. Are you going to celebrate your breakthrough hit?
Sure! I’ll be releasing my greatest hits album in spring. There will be some great surprises for that. I’ll tell you one thing already: a duet with Boy George! There’s another unreleased album that I recorded in the nineties, just before I got pregnant with my first child. We want to get that out too. And of course I hope that our concerts can take place in October 2021 and then we can all live our lives again. There is much to pray for this Christmas.