'It was hell' says Kim Wilde (45) about her comeback two years ago with German singer Nena. On the 20th august Kim is live at Belfortrock in Aalst. But the former pop idol is now a dedicated mother and is in doubt whether she wants to make records again. We visited Kim at home.
The little village Welwyn in Hertfordshire lays about 40 kilometres above the British capitol London. There is a small sign at the wooden fence from Kim Wilde's home reading 'beware of the dog'. Kim opens the front door with flair. The 'guard dog' sneaks out around us en wags his tail. A real dangerous guard he will never be.
Kim Wilde leads us to her huge living room. On the dresser at the entrance of her 450 years old barn stands a school portrait from her children, Harry (7) and Rose (5). The children are playing today at some friends house. Kim's husband, director Hal Fowler, whom she married in 1996 says briefly hello before leaving to his study. "Would you like a cup of tea?" asks the singer. On the AGA-stove sings the kettle. The cup is British at it's best: with milk, no sugar or honey.
You have a wonderful house.
Thank you. I grew up in this area. When I was 22 I moved to London because I was looking for a sensational life. But after seven years of living in anonymity and indifference I got homesick and longed for the warmth and kindness of a village. I wanted to go back at home!
Living back at my parent's house was no option. I had to find a house of my own.
Because I wanted a house with a soul, it was not so easy. Friends from my parents suspected that this building would be something for me. When I opened the barn door, I was sold. I wanted to live here!
What did the building look like?
It was an animal stable. Literally. (laughs) The troughs were the animals ate from were still here. It was nothing more than a ruin really. I become conscious of its flaws during renovation. Like every builder I exceeded the budget largely.
Where you never afraid? A woman alone isolated in the countryside?
Absolutely! When the wood from the massive beams was cracking in the middle of the night, I lay shivering in my bed. Now, the house is secured. Back then I did not even have an entrance gate. Noisy fans were walking through my garden to the back door. All of a sudden, they were standing in my kitchen. Every time I was petrified. Since Hal moved in with me, this house became a safe place. Hal insisted on installing a good alarm system.
That wasn't the only thing Hal changed.
No. We both wanted to have children, which ended in a way my international music career. To be honest I got bored with life as a singer. But I would have never taken the step without the support from Hal.
I was petrified for the black hole. To know what I really wanted and could do with my life, I decided to make a long journey before commencing motherhood. With a friend I was backpacking in Thailand and Australia. To my own surprise I discovered that I could take care of myself. Previously record companies took everything out of my hands. They took care of my transportations from the airport back and from my house, for tickets, for transport locally, for the hotel, for everything really. Now we had to arrange everything ourselves which worked out very well.
Back home I noticed that the void in my head, which was caused by giving up the busy pop life, was filled automatically with other interest.
Gardening, for example. Hal and I played at safe first. We sowed a lawn and designed a vegetable garden. I was pregnant with my first child and wanted the best for my baby: organic vegetables. After the birth of Harry I went back to college to study garden design.
Now I design gardens for employers and had my own gardening show on TV. Recently I won at the most prestigious flower show in the world, the Chelsea Flower Show, a gold medal for a garden I designed.
Did you enjoy your pregnancies?
Very much! At last I could let my blond hair grow out. The best was I could eat what I wanted. Nobody would make a nasty remark when I gained weight. As a twenty-something pop star I suffered from the pressure that was put on me to always look at my best and slim.
Although I weigh more now than I did back then I feel a lot better in my body now.
What do your children look like?
Physically Harry and Rose are taking after me. Rose is big for her age. Just like me when I was a child. I was not a delicate flower but a robust branch. Harry has Hal's character. Both are reserved and sensitive. Rose knows what she wants. She knows how to wrap me around her finger.
Are you a stern mum?
Not at all. I will always be the cuddle-and-sing mum who invents crazy songs about the dog and the children. If the children are naughty when Hal's not around, I end up saying: 'Wait till daddy comes home!'
Since the birth from Harry and Rose I am extremely sensitive. I cry for the least of things. Even watching the cartoon 'Dumbo' or for the pains of my children I'm extremely sensitive. When Rose or Harry have fallen and come to me with an open knee, I really have to bite my lip.
Are you over-concerned?
No. I really try to give my children enough space. I don't hug them to death. Not always though (laughs).
Did your children inherit the gardening bug?
One flowerbed is kept free for them. They can saw whatever they want. I much rather like my children to play in the garden or climbing trees than watching TV or playing at the computer.
How do you spend the summer holidays?
Mainly in the garden. And we go to France, together with my best friend, whom I know since I was eight years old, and her children. Later in the year we booked a family holiday in Centre Parcs. A very simple but lovely holiday.
You're doing live gigs again. Next week you'll be in Aalst at Belfortrock.
Exactly. I do gigs because I want to, not because I have to. Before it depended on the amount of concerts or performances how much time would be left for me to have a life besides that. I don't want to go through that again.
Two years ago, when you scored a hit with Nena, it seemed for a while to go back that road again.
It was hell! They were pushing and shoving me everywhere. Even the children didn't like it that their mother was gone all the time. Because I'm wary to fall back in to that circus I hesitate to record a new album. Some songs have been written already, there were even discussions with a big record company. I'm just not sure whether I want to go back into the pop industry. Seeing Harry and Rose grow up, being a hands on mum and staying happily married to Hal is much more important for me than a worldwide hit.