Date: 1 October 2020
Originally published in: Metro (UK)
Written by: Louise Griffin
Kids In America might just be the most memorable bop of the 80s, but iconic singer Kim Wilde has to remind herself of it every time she goes on tour.
The pop singer, who holds the record for being the most-charted British female solo act of the decade, chatted to Metro.co.uk for National Album Day and explained why she’s determined to exactly replicate the record she made almost 40 years ago. Asked if she ever listens to her most famous hit, Kim admitted she has it on pretty regularly.
‘I do listen to it before I go on tour, every single time,’ she explained. ‘Because actually, what happens is when you sing a song a lot, many, many times over the years, you can forget to sing it the way that the public remember it. ‘The public fell in love with that song from the way it sounded on that great record. ‘And then, because you sing it 1000 times, maybe you just drop a note here, or just ad-lib a note there, and that’s not what the public want to hear.
‘They want to hear exactly the way it sounded back in 1981 so I always listen to Kids In America before I go on tour to make sure I’m doing an exact rendition, as close as I can, so that the public get the song that they went out and bought, in their many, many thousands, back in 1981.’ Thinking back to that time in her life, Kim insists there’s nothing she’d change, despite beginning her career at the age of just 20. ‘I had such an incredible start,’ she reflected. ‘You know, I was so grateful to be in the charts. I was so astonished to find myself on Top of the Pops. I couldn’t believe it when I was on the front cover of Smash Hits. ‘So all of these things were just incredible. I was only 20 years old, that whole thing was really rather like a fairy tale […] I wouldn’t change a single thing.’
And she’s got nothing but praise for today’s young artists (except for maybe Ed Sheeran), especially Billie Eilish, who she explained she and her father, fellow musician Marty Wilde, are big fans of. ‘We really love what she does,’ she pointed out. ‘I think there’s some very charismatic people around [today].’ Kim and Marty have partnered with National Album Day, with the pair reflecting on the huge influence that albums have had on their lives. ‘For me albums were what I grew up with. My dad had, and still does have a fantastic vinyl record collection in our house and me and my brother Ricky, we just got our hands on it all the time playing great albums,’ Kim recalled.
‘[It was] a very eclectic collection, everything from Tchaikovsky to Kraftwerk and Elvis Presley obviously, Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, all the Beatles albums and all their solo albums, and the list goes on and on and on.
‘And you got to immerse yourself in all the fantastic artwork, read all the liner notes. You had something tangible in your hands and it’s no wonder now, that vinyl is outselling CDs. Astonishing, I never thought I would hear that happen.’
Kim and Marty Wilde are ambassadors for this year’s National Album Day taking place on 10 October.