Kim Wilde interview

1 May 1981
Hofstad Radio (Netherlands)

Interview conducted by Frans Versteeg. Transcript of the interview broadcast in May 1981 on Hofstad Radio, a local pirate radio station in Den Haag (Netherlands)

What’s the fun of being in showbusiness?
To me, I get a lot of fun out of doing a lot of work, you know, what I do. I love what I do, so all of it is fun really. So I can get paid to go on holiday or something. That’s what my dad said, that’s how he felt about it and I feel the same way.

Mostly a career in the music business doesn’t last too long. Have you got any plans at all after your career? Are you thinking about it now? What would you like to do?
I would like it to last not just two, three… a good long time.

‘Kids in America’, was it your first studio experience?
No, I’ve had a lot of studio experience in the past. Mainly vocal backings and things like that for other people. Just helping them out with their sessions. People used to ask me ‘cos they knew I wanted to do it ‘cos they knew I wanted to be a singer. So being in the studio was a very natural thing for me. It’s not a strange experience.

What people were they?
Ricky when he was younger I used to sing on some of his records. We used to demo songs that dad might have written. And friends of dad have asked me to demo songs for them. Just as favours, not professionally.

How did you meet Mickie Most?
Last year Ricky started writing songs, he was writing a couple of songs, which again I was doing vocal backings on and he was singing. He went up to RAK and he produced them and written and sung them and everything. Mickie Most heard them and was very interested in Ricky. He asked them to go back to RAK and remake the two songs he’d written, re-do them at RAK. So that meant I had to go back and re-do my vocals again. And that’s when he first saw me and met me. He what he was interested in then was what I did with vocals and everything. And it sort of snowballed from there. Then he heard ‘Kids in America’ and made up his mind. He asked if he could signed me up and here I am.

Are you writing songs yourself?
I’ve written a few but I haven’t really gotten down to it seriously ‘cos I don’t really feel that way inclined at the moment. I can play the piano and write down certain things but nothing I would class as a song. I don’t find it an easy thing to get done, otherwise I suppose I’d have written a few more. At the moment I’m just concentrating on my voice and my singing and the album, things like that. I’m twenty, I’ve got some time, you know. I want to write one day, maybe when I’ve got some time. Most of my spare time is devoted to drawing and just relaxing, you know. There’s not an awful lot of time left, and I do need to relax ‘cos I’m such a lazy person, you know.

You recorded this one single, the next one as well, are you going for an album?
Yeah. Yeah. The next single is out in England in a couple of weeks time, called ‘Chequered love’. We’re currently making the album, so I think it should be out late summer.

What can we expect on the album?
There’s a variation of music. It’s not all like ‘Kids in America’ or even the next single ‘Chequered love’. There’s a few reggae tracks. A lot of different kind of music. It should be very interesting.

What sort of music do you like yourself?
I’ve got a really wide scope of music. I love reggae music, Steel Pulse, Elvis Costello, soul and r&b, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra’s voice. All sorts of music, I could go on and on and on. I’m an appreciator of all sorts of music, country music, classical music. I like them all at certain times, you know?

What do you play most?
I don’t know, I guess I don’t get to play much at all anymore. I still keep up my collection even if I don’t get to play them maybe I will soon. But usually I put on a Dusty Springfield album, some soul albums. Don’t know really, it depends… Sometimes an Elvis Costello… It depends…

What is your big influence, musically?
Mostly what I just said there. All of those things. I should think my voice and the feel I have for music is more a soul sort of thing. Like Aretha, a great talented soul singer like Stevie Wonder, Randy Crawford… All these really good soul singers… I think singers like that influence me quite a lot.

Being unable to write your songs yourself, who’s doing it for you?
My brother. My father’s doing the lyrics. He’s quite good because he talks to me what he’s writing about. And I talk to him what he’s writing about. That way I don’t feel so detached. I feel like we’ve talked about it, he asked me what I think and when I don’t like it he can perhaps make it better and he listens to me. He’ll change it if I think it needs it. So we have a steady working relationship. It works very well.

Musically speaking, what sort of records do your father and brother listen to?
Ricky likes Adam and the Ants, the Skids, and Devo and things like that. Good old rocky punk music. Noisy stuff. Which I really like, you know, I think it’s fantastic as well. He doesn’t listen to so many records, he doesn’t have so much time as I perhaps do, and I hardly have enough time as it is.

Doesn’t that give conflicts? He’s writing in a particular way, you like to sing it in a way. Doesn’t it give any conflicts between you two?
Well, rarely. I haven’t had conflicts so far. He seems to have a very versatile approach to writing songs. I don’t think he lets the styles of other bands influence so much as he starts writing like they do. He listens, but he doesn’t copy. He translates it into his own way. A few people in England are saying ‘You definitely have your own sound’. That’s Ricky. It’s his own sound, it’s not like anybody else’s. We sort of capture that together. And there’s no conflict about that at all. We’re very similar in our musical taste.

How old is he?

He’s younger than you? And already working in the studio before you did?
Well, he… (wondering) What did he do years ago? Years ago, when he was quite young he made a few records, when he was ten or something. Singing teenybop stuff. He’d really rather forget about that now. And I used to do backing vocals then. I was about ten, I suppose he was about nine. And really both of us have been brought up in the studios, singing in studios, you know.

So the studio is your second home?
In a way, yeah, it is.

Top of the Pops

25 December 1981

Kim lipsynchs to ‘Kids in America’ on this Christmas day special of Top of the Pops. She is backed by her own band, consisting of James Stevenson (guitar), Ricky Wilde (keyboards) and Calvin Hayes (drums). They’re on the TOTP stage before an enthusiastic audience.


19 December 1981

After a full broadcast of the music video for ‘Cambodia’, Kim Wilde is interviewed in front of an audience of children. She also answers questions that have been sent in.

How are you? You had a terrible time getting here, didn’t you?
Yeah, it’s been awful, really.

This time yesterday you were in Italy, weren’t you?
Yeah, we got on the plane at 9 o’clock and didn’t leave until 5 in the afternoon. Didn’t get to Birmingham until half past five last night. I mean, half past eleven.

This must be a tricky problem for you, because you’ve got success in so many countries on the continent. Are you finding you have to cancel lots of things because of the weather?
Yeah, we’ve got to cancel a trip tomorrow, and I don’t know about next week because we can’t get anyone in the offices because no-one can get to work.

It is a nuisance isn’t it? How do you find all the travelling? Do you find it incredibly tiring when you’ve got to keep visiting all these countries?
I do, but it’s a lot of fun and you get to see a lot of interesting places. It’s mostly a lot of fun.

Last year there must have been such a dramatic change in your life, I mean this time last year very few people had heard of Kim Wilde, now, four or five hits later and hits in various different countries. Have you found it hard to cope with this?
Um… no. I’m having a great time.

You’ve been enjoying it. Quite a few people have actually sent in questions for me to ask you, actually. (…) Colin Porter wants me to ask you when we could expect you to go out on tour?
Hopefully next year. I can’t be very specific about that, unfortunately.

Is there any reason why it’s taking you so long to actually go out on the road?
Well, basically it’s because we’ve been doing so much recording and promotion abroad and everywhere, so it’s really a practical reason.

But it’s something that you want to do?
Oh yeah, definitely.

Right. Next question is from Graham Granger from Kidderminster, who says, I’d like you to ask what Kim Wilde what’s she doing next Saturday night. How did that get in there? Dave Johnson from the Isle of Wight wants to know, what record you’ve made out of all that you’ve made do you like the best?
That’s really difficult. I don’t know, I like Cambodia.

Any special reason?
Because it’s slightly different from what we were doing and people are buying it which means…

You were saying earlier that’s in fact the one that’s the biggest seller on the continent.
It is, yeah, at the moment.

In the film just now we saw you with all sorts of snakes and things like that. Was it quite frightening or are you alright with animals?
It was, it was the most horrific experience of my life, with a snake going over my leg, which was pretty frightening. But it was quite thrilling.

As you’re talking about animals, I’ve got a letter here from Tony Payne from Leicester. He says, I’ve heard that you have some Japanese koi fish as pets. Is that true?

And of course the inevitable question, loads of people have written in to me to ask you, about the influence your Dad’s had on your career.
Er… That’s a really hard question to ask, because all parents have a terrific influence on their kids. Just as much as anyone else.

Have you found it a great help to have a famous Dad, or not? Some famous kids say it wasn’t a help. Do you think it is a help?
I think it’s… the advantages and the disadvantages just about weigh themselves out.

Thank you very much Kim for coming in to see us here today and for making that tremendously awful long journey to see us.


17 December 1981
ARD (Germany)

Kim lipsynchs to ‘Cambodia’ on stage in Musikladen. The stage is embellished with large prints of the single sleeve artwork. Kim is standing in front of a live studio audience. After her performance, the presenter of the show presents a gold single for ‘Japanese boy’ to Aneka, a Golden Otto (for most popular male artist) to Shakin’ Stevens and last but not least a golden album for ‘Kim Wilde’ plus a Golden Otto (for most popular female artist) to Kim Wilde.

Happy circus

29 November 1981

Lipsynch performance of ‘Kids In America’ by Kim with her band. The graphics department goes wild with a circle, zooming in and out to a monochrome picture of the same performance.

Top of the Pops

26 November 1981

Kim appears solo on the Top of the Pops stage to lipynch to ‘Cambodia’. Halfway through the song she is joined by three dancers who make robotic moves. They perform in front of a live studio audience.

Cambodia (music video)

2 November 1981

Directed by Brian Grant.
This video was recorded at Shepperton Film Studios. It shows Kim in an jungle-like setting. Kim is crawled on by a 19 ft. python and in one of the shots you can see a deadly Tarantula spider. One scene involves Kim crawling through muddy water.
Near the end of the clip Kim starts covering her face with yellow, white and greyish paint. The last shot shows Kim surrounded by a few men who’ve also got bizarre face paint.

Avis de recherche

5 October 1981

Kim Wilde sings ‘Kids in America’ live to a pre-recorded backing track. She is backed by her own band. Most of the performance is filmed as a close-up of Kim’s face, but there are a few shots of the stage with the band as well.

Studio 3

30 September 1981

Kim lipynchs ‘Chequered love’. She is backed by her own band, consisting of James Stevenson (guitar), Ricky Wilde (guitar) and Calvin Hayes (drums). They are in a dark studio with a city background, with some scenes filmed through pillars with horizontal mirrors in them. Kim is wearing a dark t-shirt and jeans.


10 September 1981
BR (Germany)

Kim lipsynchs to ‘Water on glass’ on the Musikladen stage. She is backed by her own band, consisting of James Stevenson (guitar), Ricky Wilde (guitar) and Calvin Hayes (drums). They are performing in front of a live studio audience.


27 August 1981

Interview with Kim Wilde, starting after a performance by the Stray Cats.

How did you like it?
(voice drowned out by applause)

Was it the first time you heard them?
Yeah, I never got to see them live in London, you know?

Now you’ve got to Sweden to listen to the Stray Cats, ain’t that strange?
Yeah (laughs)

Well Kim, that was a lot of Swedish, now let’s go back to the English where we started. I like your dress very much.

Thank you very much.

I guess you prefer to dress in men’s wear do you?
Yeah, yeah we’ve got some good men’s clothes shops in England and I like to go there. There’s a good place called Johnson’s which I go to. That’s where this one comes from.

You prefer wearing men’s clothes on stage too, I mean you don’t wear skirts or things like that?

Don’t you like what is modern among women’s fashion and things like that?
Um… (laughs) I don’t mind it, it’s okay but I prefer wearing the second hand clothes, so… I go to the second hand clothes shops quite a lot, there’s good stuff in there. You know this is second hand…

You started not so long ago. Was it your father who convinced you to sing, or was it yourself?
It was something I always wanted to do. I don’t think my father convinced me.

You obviously know very much about showbusiness, still you’re not afraid of juming directly into it. You have a very busy program right now, you’re going to France I think it is?
Yes, that’s right, tomorrow.

Something every day?
Yeah. No I think it’s great. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was.

Do you have your own group, or is the group that we’re going to see soon just a special group for the video?
Yeah, that was especially for when we got together for the video. But with any luck we’ll be touring early next year and get a new band together then with any luck.

How is your single going? Does it sell well, is it a good business?
‘Kids in America’? It’s doing fabulous, yeah. It stayed at number 2 for a couple of weeks now. It’s incredible.

And your next album, do you know when we’ll get that one?
Well, when I get home I’m gonna start making it, so it could be late summer, with any luck.

Do you like making video? Do you think that the picture can add anything to the music?
Yeah, yeah, I mean a lot of fan letters that I’ve had have said that when they saw the video it added another dimension to the song, which I agreed with, you know? I thought it was a good idea to do it. I thought it was a very successful video.

Now I think you’re going to get a lot of fans. Do you think about the fans, that they should dress not into expensive clothes, things like that?
No, they can do what they like. I don’t care what they wear, as long as they feel great in what they’re wearing. They might feel great wearing expensive clothes, well good. But I don’t, so I don’t.

You promise you’ll be back in Sweden, don’t you?
Yeah, I must come back, yeah. Do a show or something…

Thank you Kim. It was lovely talking to you.
Thank you.

Hope to see you back here soon. Really, with your band.

Se og hör Kim Wilde i ‘Kids in America’.
(video for ‘Kids in America’ starts)

Top of the Pops

30 July 1981

Kim lipsynchs to ‘Water on glass’ on the Top of the Pops stage. She is backed by her own band, consisting of James Stevenson (guitar), Ricky Wilde (keyboards) and a drummer (not Calvin Hayes). Kim is wearing a light blue/grey jacket. They are performing before a live studio audience.