Date: 20 February 2020
Originally published in: Metro (UK)
Written by: Sue Crawford
The singer, 59, on giving up alcohol, her love of gardening and why she’s doing a greatest hits tour.
You’ll doubtless be singing Kids in America on your new tour. Do you ever get tired of that song?
I did. I was 36 and I’d been singing it since I was 20. Then I was asked to do a 1980s tour. I thought I’d do it and then go home but there was such an overwhelming response from the public and that put me back in the mood for a bit more. I didn’t think that crowd would be out there any more. I thought we’d all grown up and got mortgages and the 1980s were just a lovely memory but actually the memories were all very much alive. I love Kids in America now. I fell out of love with it but the affair is very much back on.
Why are you doing a Greatest Hits tour?
A couple of years ago I toured for the first time in 30 years. We had such a fantastic reaction that I wanted to do it all over again. I thought, ‘What’s a good excuse? Oh, I know, a Greatest Hits!’ But it’s not just about the ’80s, we’ve got some contemporary songs that Radio 2 played so it’s a lovely, well-balanced Greatest Hits.
What are your favourite songs?
I love You Came. That was a big hit during the Bad tour with Michael Jackson in 1988. It’s a sweet, honest song with a gorgeous melody that my brother wrote. And I’ve had a new love affair with Chequered Love. I’ve got eight people in my band and we do a bit of choreography – there’s a lot of jumping around and antics, especially for Chequered Love. It’s hilarious. We don’t take ourselves seriously – the audience know we’re having fun.
Did you get to know Michael Jackson well?
No. He was every bit as strange and elusive as you can imagine him being. But it was a very intense tour and I think all he could do during that time was to do the show and then go and hole up somewhere and recover until the next one. It didn’t bother me. I did 33 shows with him and felt incredibly honoured to be doing that tour. He was absolutely wonderful to watch and hugely inspiring.
How do you feel about turning 60 this year?
Generally speaking, life has been kind to me. I look after myself physically and I’ve been lucky as I’m a healthy 59-year-old and there’s nothing about 60 that’s scaring me at the moment.
How do you stay in shape?
I’m very active. I walk the dogs and do my cleaning, which is exhausting! I do the hoovering, I do all the washing and I get the shopping and make sure we haven’t run out of Bran Flakes. I also stopped drinking a couple of years ago, which has really helped.
Why did you stop?
I gave up for a month and felt fantastic at the end of it. I dropped a bit of weight, and a few aches and pains that had gathered over the years disappeared. It was good not only for my body but my mind as well. Everything calmed down. I wasn’t a massive drinker but there were times when I knew how to get the stuff down my neck and it had become a bit too much of a habit. I lost a very dear friend to alcoholic poisoning a few years ago and I thought, ‘You know what? The universe is talking to me.’
So we won’t see you singing on the train any more?
They don’t necessarily go hand in hand. [A video of Kim singing on a train wearing antlers after a Christmas party went viral] I have just as much joy and silliness in me sober as I ever did drunk.
What do your children think of your career?
Their thoughts on it are a bit of an enigma to me! They’re both songwriters, singers and musicians themselves. My son Harry, 21, is in a band called Yellow Springs and my daughter ROse, 19, is studying psychology.
What do you do to unwind?
Gardening – it’s great being outdoors and at one with nature. I like walking the dog. I enjoy a bit of yoga and I love listening to music. I like a good read too. I plant myself in a house in France, take four books and read them, and that’s pretty much all I do in August!
Are you on Twitter?
I enjoyed it for a while but I came off last year. I thought it was quite toxic. I fell it’s contributed massively to the mental health issues of lots of young people.
What’s your favourite TV show?
The Windsors. It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen for years. It’s controversial and probably a bit politically incorrect. I love our royal family but I still howl like the wind when I watch it.
When are you at your happiest?
When everyone else is happy – if I know that my kids are in a good place and my close family are rocking on. If one of them is upset about something or finding life tough, that can put a real crimp in my experience.