Interview with Kim Wilde on Swiss national radio. (Was also filmed for the website of the radio station)
Let's go straight into the album. Who came up with the idea to do a cover versions album with Eighties and Nineties hits?
Well, it came about largely because of the album I did previously, the 'Come out and play' album, and I did a 'Come out and play' live tour throughout Germany. My record company came to quite a lot of that tour and noticed that I was throwing in a few songs that I loved that weren't Kim Wilde songs. Songs by Erasure and by Tasmin Archer and they really loved them. And so we had a meeting backstage one night, I think it was in Hamburg, and they said 'Hey Kim, how about doing this?' And it wasn't so long ago we did my last album, so I was kindof surprised. But I was really up for the idea, of course.
Okay. And then, why the Eighties and the Nineties? It could also have been new songs?
Well, the album actually spans five decades. So the earliest song is from 1964, and the latest thing is I think from the beginning of the noughties. So yeah, I wanted to choose pop music that I've loved throughout all the years I remember listening to, really. As a four year old listening to Cilla Black, 'Anyone who had a heart' to more recently grooving in the car to the Sugababes. So it's really a tribute to pop music. It's played a huge part in my life. I still really love pop music and always did and I always will.
And then, why hits? You could have said well, let's choose not so very well known songs like B-sides or album tracks or maybe even unreleased material. But you picked the hits.
Yeah, I love hit records. I've made a few, but I just love hit records, I love the charts, I love listening to the radio and I love what's popular. As well as B-sides and lesser known tracks and those tracks I love too, but I wanted to make a real pop album. A real tribute to the magic of pop music and how accessible it is. In the way that it united all kinds of different listeners and people. And it's a very powerful phenomenon, pop. It's three little letters that actually have a massive impact on culture and each of us individually.
How did you do the selection of the songs? What was the criteria to pick this song and not this song?
A lot of it was just instinct. Some of it was history, you know, I mean the first song I remember listening to was 'Anyone who had a heart' by Cilla Black in 1964 - that kindof chose itself in a way, because I was always gonna choose the first song that hit me straight between the eyes. Others are just songs I've loved over the years, enjoyed driving to in the car, singing along to. A few suggestions came from very close friends, of my brother and songs I thought I liked, I liked a lot but didn't think would be good for me and I tried them out and they weren't great...
But you need to have a personal relation to the song, to sing it. Is it that?
In a way, yeah, you do. The thing is, everyone has their own personal relationship with a song. And the relationship I have with a song like for instance 'Kids in America' is very different to the one you'll have, or a million other listeners out there. So that's the great thing about pop music, is everyone can take it and make it their own story. You know, there might just be one or two words in a song, that means the world to you. And you can't really figure out why that song speaks to you. That's the magic of pop music and it's what I've tried to capture on this new album.
Now let's talk about some songs. Let's go into the songs. Early nineties, in England, there was this so-called fight between Blur and Oasis. On which side have you been?
I never played those games. I left that to the media. It kindof sold their newspapers so I let them get on with it. I just thought their music was just fantastic. I wasn't making... I wasn't doing too much myself at the time. I was doing a little bit of music but mostly I was backing out of the music industry phychologically but I was still really enjoying the Britpop explosion. And that's why I chose a Suede song.
The early Nineties has also been the era of the boybands, Take That, New Kids On The Block. You picked East 17, why that?
Well I just thought they were so cool. I've always been a bit of a sucker for a guy with tattoos (laughs) and they looked like they had more tattoos than Take That (laughs). But I just loved that song, I thought it was a great song and a great pop anthem, made me feel happy. And when I suggested it to my brother Ricky, we recorded it together, we had so much fun, we really did.
Of course we have to talk about The Cure, 'Inbetween days'. Why this track?
Yeah. (Laughs) Well, you know, one of my very very closest friends has always loved this song and he said to me 'Why don't you try?' Now I've always loved the Cure, I thought they were great in my art college days. I had a slight crush, I suppose, on Robert Smith. Not sure quite if that was appropriate or not, but he always used to wear his lipstick a lot better than I did, but I thought their records were very very cool. British music at that time, so so cool, post-punk and new wave, it was very exciting. And it really had a huge influence on the records that I started making with Ricky shortly after. But my mate said 'Have a go' and I did and right now it's one of my favourites at the moment.
Does he know, Robert Smith and the Cure, do they know you've covered them?
I'm not sure that any of the artists know that I've covered their songs at this point, the album's only just out in a few days time. So it hasn't really hit the social networks and the internet and all that kind of stuff yet, so maybe I'll get some reaction in the coming months. I'll just take a deep breath and... It'll be interesting to see if I get any [reactions].
Let's talk about another song. Let's talk about the artist, Diana Ross. Why Diana Ross?
Well, I grew up in the Sixties and my parents bought a lot of the Motown, they imported actually a lot of Motown albums. And we had them in the house and I always used to listen to Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross was my favourite, and the Supremes, of course, and of course I went on to do a cover version of 'You keep me hangin' on' but I always had a soft spot for Diana's voice in particular. So 'Remember me' is just a fantastic song and it's always great to sing a Diana Ross song. She had a great knack of picking some fantastic songs to do.
Last song we have to talk about is Black, 'Wonderful life'. You know why I ask you about these songs, because these are the songs we're gonna play at the radio station, the original ones, so it would be really nice to have a comment of you. Why did you pick Black, 'Wonderful life'?
'Wonderful life' happened just in the middle of the Eighties. It was shortly after I'd had a number 1 in America with 'You keep me hangin' on' and there was a lot of fantastic pop music in the charts at the time, you know, Madonna was having it all, and Michael Jackson, and it was a great time for pop music. And somewhere in between all of this high powered 'in your face' pop music this very subtle song just emerged and everyone fell in love with it. Including me. It's such a beautiful melody. It's a real privilege to sing it myself.
Do you know what he's doing today, Black?
I don't know what they're doing, I should think they're probably touring around like me and doing some gigs here and there.
Did you meet some of these guys that you cover? Did you ever meet them in your life and your career?
I met Kirsty MacColl of course, she was a great mate of mine back in the Eighties, but I'm not sure really that I've really bumped into many of the others. No, I don't think so.
Let's talk about your father, Marty Wilde. I learned that he used to be in the Fifties, rock 'n' roll, in Britain, still on tour, and he got some hits in the UK with doing coverversions?What does he say that his daughter is now doing cover versions too? A whole album?
Well, you know, I haven't seen him for a little bit and I'm gonna be taking.... I've only just got the copy of my album last night. So I'm gonna go back to England on Sunday and I'm gonna give him a copy and let him get his ears around it. I'd be fascinated to get some feedback from him.
He hasn't heard anything yet?
No, he hasn't heard anything yet, no... You've heard it before my family, yeah...