5 October 1992
An hour-long interview including footage on location at Select Sound Studios (for interviews with Marty, Joyce and Nick Boyles) and at Kims home. The special starts off in London, where the French interviewer and Kim meet, and then gets them in a car to Hertsfordshire, where the actual interview happens. All through the interview, Kim is wearing her ‘Love is’ dress.
Kim: We were living in the south of London at the time, with my brother Ricky and my father had become a songwriter. So I remember he was either doing gigs or he was songwriting at home. So my first impressions of my father were very much of a man who was committed to music. There was a lot of music in the house. Life was very normal, there weren’t lots of showbusiness parties or showbusiness people that my parents hung out with. Life was very down to earth. It was a family where music was the core of what was going on in the house all the time. Dad was always playing music in the house.
Marty: When Kim first started to record it came really as a bit of a shock, because I didn’t really see Kim as star material. She was a lot different to what she is now. She was an art student locally. She used to wear big jumpers and jeans and I only ever saw Kim as my daughter. I could never see Kim as a pop star at all.
Joyce: Kim was just a normal little girl, like any other baby who showed an interest in music at that age even. But I think possibly it’s more important than the school education and from my own particular background, I used to play classical piano, so I made sure she had that kind of training, as I’ve done with all my children. So I think possibly that might have had some influence on her moving towards songwriting and, you know, what she is doing now. I think she was very interested in music, always.
Marty: At one time, Kim and Joyce did all my backings when we were on the road. But even then I just – I never even thought – In fact I thought that being on the road would probably put Kim off of coming into showbusiness, because some of the shows that I did weren’t always in the most palatial places. They could be very small places, very small smokey clubs and things like that and I thought that might in actual fact put her off completely from being in showbusiness. Because it’s a worry having a daughter in showbusiness, ’cause I’ve been in the business a long time and I worry about my own lifestyle, and to have someone else in showbusiness is double the worry, you know. Twice the worry.
Joyce: Kim did never let me know that she actually wanted to sing. So it was always a constant struggle. She was at school, and she was frustrated at being at school. At college she was very frustrated, she really wanted to sing. And I just didn’t know this and Ricky had already copped out of school, he decided he wanted to leave school and go on the road with his dad, playing keyboards. And they ended up writing songs together and working together, and yet Kim was at home with me then, at an age where she really wanted to be getting involved probably as much with her father as she hadn’t done in the past. That was a constant sort of a problem for Kim, I think. My husband wasn’t really 100% anyway on girls singing, and he felt it wasn’t quite the right thing for girls to be doing and it might be hard work on her, and yet you see girls on the circuit working so hard and it just all appeared to be just too much for our little girl, really. But she wanted to do it and that’s what she persevered at wanting to do and in the end Kim and I went on the road with her father and we compromised and did vocal backings for him together. For me it was not the right thing I wanted to do. She just carried on. She looked great anyway, and that’s how it all came about really. She’s just so talented, it just had to happen I suppose.
Kim: I think it must have been when I was very young, ’cause I remember ‘Strawberry Fields’ and a song called ‘Anyone who had a heart’ by Cilla Black and ’24 Hours From Tulsa’, I think was a Gene Pitney record. I don’t know, I seem to have a recollection of a year that I since discovered was ’65, so I was five years old. I think music affected me very strongly at an incredibly young age. It’s never changed really. I think I knew very young that my life would be in music, and that was always a goal for me, it was always something that I seemed to be going towards.
Kim: When I did go out and buy records it was by Gladys Knight and the Pips, a song called ‘The look of love’, which I still think is a fantastic record. There’s a lot of soul music like Gladys Knight and the Pips, but there was also a lot of trashy stuff like Slade and Mud and a lot of real commercial pop. But I loved all that too. I was really into really classy music because I knew what that was about, but it didn’t stop me being a real pop fan. I loved pop music right from the moment I remember hearing it and I still do. David Essex, David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Bay City Rollers… Gary Glitter was my favourite. I was in his fanclub.
Kim: I remember when I was at primary school I had a big crush on a little boy that lived very close to our house in Tewin, where my mum and dad live. So yes I do.
Kim: Punk at that time was a very London-based thing. It kindof came out of Chelsea, and stayed in the London area for quite a long time. But the music I really like. I really loved the Clash, I used to see them a lot at the Lyceum and various gigs. And I really liked Elvis Costello. So some of them I thought were really good and I loved some of the Sex Pistols stuff. And the Skids and stuff like that. I just didn’t get very involved in the movement, I didn’t wear punky clothes and stuff. Although I have to say when I was at art college when I started to dye my hair blonde and cut it all short at the top, I guess I was more influenced than I thought at the time. But compared to the real hardcore punks I was like a real baby.
Ricky: I wanted to be a singer and I went to a demo studio and recorded a few tracks, then went into RAK studios and Mickie Most came out, heard it and said ‘yeah, I like it’. I wanted to go into the studio and record it with a different producer, which I wasn’t too happy about. So I said, ‘yeah, we’ll do it’, because it was a record deal. So I went in there, recorded these couple of songs. I said to the guy producing me, a guy called Steve Glenn, I said ‘Steve is it alright if I bring in my sister in to do backing vocals’. He said ‘Yeah, fine, bring her in’. So Kim came in and started singing. The moment she was singing Mickie Most came in and said ‘she looks good, I like her voice as well, you know… Maybe we could do something with her’ and walked out. And then Steve looked at me and said ‘Maybe I could produce something with Kim as well’ and I thought ‘Hang on a minute! Not sure about this!’ So I went home that night and wrote ‘Kids in America’, booked two days studio time in a separate studio and recorded it with Kim, then went back to Mickie and said: ‘Look, this is a song I’ve done with Kim that I produced. What do you think of it?’ and he thought it was a smash. And so that then became the priority over my stuff.
Kim: That didn’t really come into it because from the word go we were very independent. We’d gone into the studio off our own back, we delivered the song, a hit song, ‘Kids in America’ to the record company without their interference, without their input at all. I turned up looking the way I did, I’d already dyed my hair blonde, I had my own identity, so I really had no worries about being manipulated or anything. I had a very good advantage there, because we were completely autonomous. We had our own thing right away, right from the word go. And also, I didn’t really think about things like that. If anyone was exploiting me it was me. I was very aware of my power at the time. A lot of people thought I was being manipulated but in fact it was me who was doing the manipulating (laughs)
Kim: We had a great run with RAK Records and EMI, we had so much success it was ridiculous. But by the time we got to the third album it wasn’t quite so good. The pressure, I think, eventually became unbearable to my writers, to Marty and to Ricky. You know, they really were… they’d come up with the goods so many times but- it was incredible, they came up with eight or nine smash hits on the trot, which is a really difficult thing for anybody to do, virtually impossible for two people to do on their own. We’d kind of got to a point where we just wanted, needed a rest, I think, actually, for a while. It also coincided with the end of our deal with RAK Records anyway. It was a natural end to the contract and a natural end to our creative output at the time. We needed that time to get our act together and start again, which we did. The two came together rather conveniently at the right time.
Kim: My brother was writing for the album and he was playing around with a chord progression and he recognised it. And he realised it was ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’. But at that point he was either going to write a song using the same chords or he was going to finish making a backing track for ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’. He played me the backing track and asked me what I thought, and I thought it sounded great and I remembered the song from a long time back on the radio but it wasn’t a song I had in my collection, it wasn’t a song I would play a lot. So when I went into the studio to record it, I was really fresh. I wasn’t paying homage to Diana Ross or Vanilla Fudge or anyone else who had covered it. It was really fresh in my mind, I think that’s why it’s such a fresh version of that song and why it was so successful, because it had that energy going through it. Ricky’s energy and my energy, our energy combined, not knowing the song too well. If you look at the original lyrics, we even changed them, which isn’t a very reverential thing to do to a song you’re paying homage to. Basically we just went into the studio with a lot of energy and not very much reverence, we changed quite a lot about that song and that’s why it was so successful. It was a very spontaneous idea.
Kim: I had moved from my parents home, because I was still living at home when I had ‘Cambodia’ and ‘View from a bridge’ and I was still going home… So by that time I had left for living in London. The reason I did that was really because I wanted to start developing my own life and also my own songwriting, which is what I did. So when we signed to MCA, I was writing on the first album on MCA, on the ‘Teases & Dares’ album, so that was really the first album I wrote on. On ‘Another Step’ I wrote even more. I wrote with my guitarist Steve Byrd, who I still write with today, and play with today. So yes, I had things to say, I had things I wanted to say. My heroes and heroines were songwriters. My favourite songwriter was Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder. I thought I’m never going to write a song as good as any song they can write. So I didn’t write for a long time because I thought there was no point. Because if you can’t write a great song like they can write, then why bother trying? But eventually I thought if you don’t try you’ll never find out. And now it’s become the most important part of my career now. Because I could forego fame and I could forego every other part of my career but I would never stop songwriting.
Kim: Of course I wanted to see who was buying my records and I wanted to meet my audience and have contact with them. Every performer who makes music wants to sing live, I’m just the same as everybody else. And up to that point I was beginning to be perceived as a video pop star, so I wanted to change that perception. It was in fact one of the main areas of disagreement between me and RAK Records, my first record company. Because myself- we really wanted to go do live music and they were very reluctant in backing us up. Again we took the lead and put a tour together and went out and found our audience and I’ve never looked back. I think live performance is an incredible part of my career. One of the times when I feel happiest is when I’m in front of an audience. And opening for Michael Jackson just gave me much more confidence than I could ever hope for. It really changed my life. My whole approach to performing live transformed when I learned from Michael Jackson. It made me feel that my best performances are yet to come as a result of that time.
Nick Boyles: She’s incredibly industrious, she’s very hard working, she’s very accommodating and I see my job as basically trying to make what is a very difficult job as comfortable and easy as I possibly can and that I see as my function.
Joyce: There is no problem with the fact that Kim is my daughter and the fact that we’re in management because we just work as a team, it is a team. It isn’t just the Wilde family, it’s the Wilde family and Nick Boyles, but not just Nick Boyles, we have other people outside this building that work with us, a lot of very precious people to us. It’s a massive organization which works well. You have your emotional moments obviously, and then yes, I’ll go back into the role of mum, but I’m used to wearing all these different hats.
Nick Boyles: I would certainly tell her not to stop, but I would suggest to her that she shouldn’t stop purely and simply because I think she’d miss it more than she could ever imagine. She’s been working very hard for 12 years, she has a tremendous career and quite apart from the fact that I’m sure a lot of people out there would be very disappointed I think above all I suppose I’m accountable to her and I think she’d be very disappointed too. If she ever did it I think she’d probably change her mind within a year or so. I think it’s in the blood.
Kim: ‘Close’ had been so successful and we just couldn’t believe it when ‘Love Moves’ wasn’t successful for us. We put so much work into it and I think the songs are really strong, so I think the album itself still stands, it’s a really strong album. And it was very disappointing at the time that it didn’t do well. But it didn’t really come too much as a big surprise, because my career before then had always been very up and down. So it wasn’t a complete shock. But it was very disappointing. I think on retrospect I too, myself, I had started to lose my ambition. My ambition was never huge to begin with. I was never full of it. I just wanted to make music, I didn’t have any great ambition to be a star. So I never had an abundance to start off with. When I started to lose some, there was virtually none left (laughs). All that was left was the fact that I love music and I wanted to carry on writing it. But it wasn’t enough. To be a pop star you have to compete and you have to have ambition whether you like it or not. So I think the vital ingredient that was missing from that whole period was really coming from… not coming, rather, from me. I kindof lost my ambtion.
Kim: I’ve been making records a long time, been a pop star for a long time, it’s very competitive… After a long time of being competitive I think I lost my confidence. That was part of it, losing my self-confidence, which was a gradual thing. Also for me personally at a time in my life I started to change in a big way. I decided at that time I was gonna live away from London where I’d live through all those years – I’d lived in London for about seven years – I’d started to make a decision to come and live here and to change my life so it was really, in retrospect, I was reappraising my personal life very much and it didn’t really leave much room for my professional life, naturally enough. In retrospect I’m quite pleased that, because I was able to sort out my personal life and that in turn has had a really positive impact on my professional life. But until I had sorted my personal life out, my professional life couldn’t thrive. I had to get happy first, I had to make some changes in my personal life before everything else took care of itself. I mean, that’s where everything starts from. It’s not the other way around. I would hate to be dictated to by professional feelings, I’d rather be dictated by personal feelings. Whether that jeopardises my career or not I don’t really care.
Kim: ‘Love Is Holy’ was a song that I heard when I was working with Rick Nowels in Los Angeles. We’d already written two songs for the album together. He played it to me, he had written it with Ellen Shipley and I just thought it sounded great, the melody for me was the first thing that hit me. Also I loved the idea that love was holy, that it was someone’s religion, because in a way that’s how it feels for me. It’s the centre of my life like a religion is. I just loved it right away. And I loved the melody, I thought it was a great pop record, so for lots of reasons I love that record.
Kim: I don’t feel I’ve missed anything at all. I’ve had an incredible twelve years now. Travelled the world, met loads of great people, done what I love doing most, singing and recording and songwriting… I feel really that if I – I would have married someone if I’d met the right person. The reason that I haven’t married and haven’t got children, had a family, isn’t because I decided to have my career first, is just because I haven’t met the right man to have a family with. I think if I had, then I would have gone on with that. It’s just the way my life has been. So I’m very happy for that, because I’m still very young and I’ve achieved a lot and I feel that finally if I do decide to have a family it will be after all of my career. That is a much better time, I think, to have done, than too young. In many ways I feel very fortunate that I didn’t get tied down when I was younger because it would never have suited my personality. I don’t even know if it will fit my personality in the future. Marriage isn’t for everybody (laughs).
Kim: I felt more isolated when I lived in London, I felt more like I was in a cage when I lived in London. So since I lived here I feel more free and I feel happier. Here there is time for people, there’s time to spend, quality time to spend with my family, to spend with my friends. When I see my friends they stay overnight and we sit by the fire and we talk a lot. It’s a different time, it’s a better time for me here. I’m happier here than I’ve ever been. I still travel a lot, I still go around the world, I still meet a lot of people but I found a real serenity here and real peace. I’m really happy here. I don’t care if I am in a cage. If I am in a cage, then it’s a very nice, lovely cage. It’s great to live in a house where you can hear the rain (laughs).
Kim: All of this year I’ve been travelling. I’ve been to Australia and Japan, I’ve been to Poland, I’ve been to France, I’ve been everywhere. And I will continue to do so for the rest of the year. We will shortly be going back into the studio to record two new songs. Then next spring we will release my greatest hits album and with that we’ll probably be doing a tour, a greatest hits tour next spring, early next year, for quite a long period of time I would imagine. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. And after that, we’ll make a new album! We will continue. So I’m really looking forward to the next year and a half. It’s gonna be very busy, very constructive. It’s a lot of work but I’m looking forward to it.