What now, Kim Wilde?

Date
Published in
Muziek Parade (Netherlands)
Written by
Gabriël Witteveen

"First you are praised into the heavens, but when things aren't going as well, you're no-one and they kick you into the gutter as quickly as possible". It's obvious that Kim Wilde is depressed. Everything went too fast for this young girl. In a small hotel we spoke with Kim Wilde and it seemed like the vicinity was showing the emotions of Kim Wilde. Or was it the other way around?

Father

Pop music was fed to KIm Wilde from an early age. By her father Marty Wilde. Just under thirty years ago a young man sang beautifully in the London Rock ''n' Roll club "The Two I's". A talent scout who happened to be there talked with the young singer. The singer was named Reginald Smith and he said he was just another guy who was touched by the magic of Elvis Presley. He started singing in clubs and cafes in London. But that was about to change soon. The talent scout changed his name from Reginald Smith to Marty Wilde, offered him a recording contract and even before the world had even heard of one Cliff Richard Marty Wilde was a pop idol in England.

Blood is thicker than water. Over twenty five years later another member of the Smith family comes up and scores hit after hit. It all started with 'Kids in America', and went on with 'Chequered love' and the biggest hit until now, 'Cambodia'.

It is not even strange that another female singer stands up with lots of volume, because England is the breeding ground of singers like Dusty Springfield, Kiki Dee, Toyah, the Nolans, and many others. The only difference is that Kim Wilde's success came really fast. To be just 20 years old and to have her first single on no. 2 of the British singles charts. It's one of the best selling records of 1981.

In fact the whole Wilde family is responsible for the success. Her father as well as her brother Ricky write the songs for her, at least the first few successes, and they accompany her on her first steps, while brother Ricky is part of her band. Father Marty Wilde is still on stage on a weekly basis with his old rock and roll successes, mother Joyce danced with the Vernon Girls.

"You see", she says, "my bed was made up for me, but I did find out it's not the best method to surive. I never thought I would have such success. My brother Ricky is much more talented. He wrote the first hits with my father. In fact, he made 'Kids in America' while my father wasn't around. He wanted to record the song and asked me to sing on the demo. So we went to the studio in Hertfordshire and it started from there. I felt that Ricky had created a big hit. A month later we recorded the song for real with producer Micky Most and before we knew it the song was at the top of the charts. That's the way it should be with good pop songs, I think: write a good song, record it and go on before you've had any time to think."

Love life

"Not really", is her answer when we ask if she always looks so sad. A smile appears on her face when she explains that it is a pose. "I'm not the smiling type, more the thoughtful one. It has become my trademark. Micky Most once saw a few photographs of me and he said spontaneously:  let's keep it that way! He thinks that I look more mysterious that way. It's fine with me, I don't have to do a lot to look serious. Maybe it's hard to read me, that's my character anyway. I can't get on with just anyone. It has to click, otherwise it won't stick.

"You know, showbizz is in our blood, but sometimes I'd prefer to just quit. When I think about the stories my father told me about the old days, he might have made less money, but the appreciation was bigger. People still know him now. I have a few hits to my name now, but it doesn't exactly say that the next one will be a hit. In my father's time you'd have two big hits and you'd be set for the next few decades. Look at me now. I've almost sold more records than he did...

"Pop music isn't a female trade, I sometime think. How many women are successful in pop music and with their own ideas? I think you can count them on the fingers of one hand. All in this men's world. Men are boss. They tell you what to wear, how to look. No, thank you! Do I have to look like a Barbie doll to have success? That's not what it's all about, is it?

"No, it's strange - I wouldn't talk like this a year ago, but I tend to get tired lately of all the hard work. There's no private life, so when anything goes wrong, you tend to get depressed. I might be laughing the same evening, but anyway. You know, once you're successful you're public property and that's something I'm still having a hard time with.

"Fortunately things are quieting down a little now, after a period of less hits, but when I had the affair with Adam Ant I had no rest at all. No, my love life isn't what it used to be. It has become a bit distant. I only meet people from the business and they are not interesting for me privately. I am 22 years old now, and I've become more sensible. When I hear that someone would like to play in my band, I wonder why! Do you love my music, or are you trying to seduce me? I have to live with that, because it's usually the latter.

"No, what I want is someone who loves Miss Smith, not a barbie doll. But try to find the one. Miss Smith is never home and is always busy with music. That's not attractive."

Stage

Before Kim Wilde became a singer, she was at art college and wanted to try theatre next. But she didn't have time. However, Kim hopes it will happen some time.

"I did a lot of stage acting in school, I even wrote pieces myself. Whether it's singing or acting, it seems to be in my blood. The hard thing is that I won't get my feet in. I don't have to expect any help from the theatre, there's lots of unemployment, so I can forget that. But I'd like to play in a movie. But there's no-one who's interested in me. I have resigned myself to my fate, but I tend to think about it nonetheless."

"What are my plans in the near future? Well, hopefully the new single 'Love blonde' will bring me some long awaited success again, but it will be a fight. There has to be another new album, but I've rejected a lot, it all sounded so sad. As sad as I feel now, that's what the lyrics were like. They were beautiful, but deep in my heart I knew it's not me. I don't know, everyone will have a moment of weakness sometimes. I wonder, what will it be like when I can't come back and the future becomes a fight again. In a sad hotel like this, are you surprised I feel like this?"