THE YEAR OF liv­ing fab­u­lously

As she gears up to bring her lat­est tour home to Aus­tralia, Kylie Minogue tells Stel­lar about a whirl­wind 12 months that have seen her find new love, re­unite with old friends and “take own­er­ship” of her path in life

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Cover - In­ter­view by CAMERON ADAMS

Turns out Kylie Minogue hates both birth­day par­ties and sur­prises. Yet Minogue’s 50th birth­day party, thrown at Lon­don’s celebrity haven Chiltern Fire­house in May – mere days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle held their wed­ding after-party there – has changed her pol­icy of a life­time.

When she stepped in­side, Minogue stum­bled into a mini- Neigh­bours re­u­nion (Guy Pearce and Ja­son Dono­van were on the guest list) and her band had set up a small stage with guest duet part­ners. Her good friend, singer and Scis­sor Sis­ters front­man Jake Shears, played Kenny to her Dolly on a cover of 1983’s ‘Is­lands In The Stream’, while Rick Ast­ley ( who also worked with mid-’80s hit mak­ers Stock Aitken Water­man) ser­e­naded her with his 1987 clas­sic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

“I was lit­er­ally on cloud nine for two weeks after the party,” Minogue tells Stel­lar. “I could not calm down. It was a room full of mem­o­ries and love and sto­ries. It was in­cred­i­ble. I barely had time for a drink all night; I was just chat­ting, hug­ging, hel­loing – chat­ting, hug­ging, hel­loing. Amaz­ing vibes. Every per­for­mance on the night was a sur­prise, and there were all these video mes­sages I wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

“I’m not that per­son to do big par­ties. Girl­friends would es­pe­cially has­sle me about birth­day par­ties and I’d say, ‘ Why don’t the four of us just go for din­ner?’ to try and get out of it. But ev­ery­one in­volved put so much ef­fort into it and they man­aged to sur­prise me with a few things at the risk of me hat­ing it. But I loved it all. It re­ally was one of the best nights of my life.”

Re­mark­ably, be­sides a few pa­parazzi shots of Me­lanie C, Gra­ham Nor­ton, David Wal­liams and Chrissie Hynde en­ter­ing the bash, the en­tire event barely reg­is­tered on so­cial me­dia. “For the most part, peo­ple were re­ally re­spect­ful to not take pic­tures in­side, and of the fact it was still a pri­vate event. And – side note – it’s amaz­ing how once peo­ple get that in their head and put their phones away, they just have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence,” Minogue says.

Still, there was one photo from the night that she strate­gi­cally shared with her 1.8 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram: a black and white Po­laroid of her kiss­ing a cer­tain gen­tle­man. It was her way of mak­ing of­fi­cial a re­la­tion­ship with 43-year-old Paul Solomons, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Bri­tish GQ magazine, who Minogue met through mu­tual friends at the start of the year. Iron­i­cally, it hap­pened just as she was pro­mot­ing her 14th al­bum, Golden, which was writ­ten and recorded on the heels of her bro­ken en­gage­ment to ac­tor Joshua Sasse. When Minogue pre­vi­ously spoke to Stel­lar in March, she ad­mit­ted she had been un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally open with the me­dia about Sasse, who did many in­ter­views talk­ing about his part­ner in de­tail.

“‘I’m not usu­ally that pub­lic,” Minogue said at the time. “It wasn’t just my de­ci­sion, I went along with it. It was

“I was on cloud nine for two weeks after my 50th birth­day party”

slightly out of char­ac­ter.” Now, aside from a sprin­kling of posts on their re­spec­tive In­sta­gram pages, Minogue is back to keep­ing things pri­vate. And as for that ini­tial photo out­ing them as a cou­ple, she ad­mits it was just their way of beat­ing the pa­parazzi at their own game.

“We thought some­one is go­ing to get a pic­ture at some point, so let’s just post one,” she says. “I’d man­aged to sneak away from the main room to the restau­rant area. We sat down, re­alised we were starv­ing, smashed two miniburg­ers and then Prince’s ‘Lit­tle Red Corvette’ started play­ing and I was out of my seat again. My as­sis­tant Tully had a Po­laroid and he was tak­ing some pic­tures and walked by when Paul and I were hav­ing that mo­ment. He took one, legged it, and that was the pic­ture that summed up that mo­ment. And it was an ab­so­lute mo­ment – we thought it was a nice, sub­tle way to [con­firm our re­la­tion­ship].”

Minogue is coy when asked more about Solomons, who, like her mother Carol, is Welsh. They made their red-car­pet de­but at the GQ Awards in Lon­don in Septem­ber. “When some­thing’s pre­cious, you want to han­dle it with care,” she tells Stel­lar. “We’re learn­ing about each other’s worlds; of course there’s a part of his pro­fes­sion that crosses over to mine. I re­ally just don’t want to say too much. He’s a great, great guy. We’re just do­ing our thing.”

Of course, Minogue knows her pub­lic yearns for her to find hap­pi­ness in her pri­vate life. “I’m happy,” she tells Stel­lar. “I’m very aware peo­ple are happy when I’m happy. That is sweet.” There’s a long pause. “I will add that this year, with so many big things hap­pen­ing, it’s been lovely and won­der­ful to have some­one who re­ally is there. It’s great to have suc­cess in your life – to have some­one to share that with is re­ally amaz­ing.”

Solomons is a mu­sic lover, fan­boy­ing over at­tend­ing a con­cert by Minogue’s friend and men­tor Nick Cave, who re­cently claimed the pop singer fills her texts to him with ex­cla­ma­tion marks, and that she’s sin­gle-hand­edly bring­ing them back in a world filled with emoti­cons. “Well, there you go, an­other achieve­ment for me this year,” Minogue jokes.

In July, Minogue and Solomons had an­other date night to see Bruce Spring­steen’s Broad­way show. “I was work­ing in New York, Paul came over so we could be to­gether but specif­i­cally so we could see the Spring­steen show. It’s ev­ery­thing peo­ple say; it’s emo­tional and it’s hu­man and he’s in­cred­i­ble. I was re­ally in­spired on an artis­tic level, and it makes you think about your life, the per­son you’re there with and their life. One minute you’re howl­ing with laugh­ter and then you’ve got tears in your eyes.”

Spring­steen turns 70 next year and re­mains one of the planet’s most suc­cess­ful tour­ing acts. Cher just fin­ished an Aus­tralian jaunt at the age of 72, ask­ing “What’s your granny do­ing tonight?” at the start of every show. Minogue’s per­sonal pop blue­prints also reached land­mark ages this year: Madonna turned 60, Olivia New­ton-john hit 70.

The Aus­tralian started the year dread­ing be­ing asked about her own mile­stone, ti­tling her al­bum Golden be­fore re­al­is­ing the con­nec­tion to a 50th an­niver­sary, and even field­ing ques­tions about how long she plans to stay

“It’s great to have suc­cess in your life – to have some­one to share that with is amaz­ing”

in the game. Her go-to re­ply was a lyric from the al­bum: “We’re not young, we’re not old, we’re golden.”

Upon re­flec­tion, Minogue says of be­ing 50, “It’s about tak­ing own­er­ship of it. You can’t pre­tend it’s not hap­pen­ing – it’s about hav­ing a dif­fer­ent mind­set and a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude.”

Even by her lofty stan­dards, Golden has been a ma­jor suc­cess. As well as reach­ing num­ber one in Aus­tralia and re­turn­ing her to com­mer­cial ra­dio with the hit ‘Danc­ing’, the coun­try-tinged pop al­bum has been par­tic­u­larly em­braced in the UK, where it’s gone gold and now spawned five sin­gles.

“You just never know how some­thing will go un­til it gets out there,” she says. “You just can’t force a project to do some­thing that isn’t its destiny. What has tran­spired has been bril­liant.”

An eter­nal hus­tler, Minogue has been pro­mot­ing and tour­ing the al­bum re­lent­lessly, from gay fes­ti­vals in Cal­i­for­nia to sta­dium shows across the UK and Europe. “It’s been a crazy, busy year. But I’ve had crazy, busy years that were not as suc­cess­ful, like with [2014’s Kiss Me Once]. It’s only time and dis­tance where you can re­flect upon those things. You have to go into every cam­paign the same way be­cause you don’t know in ad­vance what will hap­pen. Some­times you have a feel­ing. I did think Golden was a risk worth tak­ing, but you can do all the work and the re­sult isn’t there. It might come later. But you have to keep try­ing. I look at some ac­tors’ work, and they do a lot of movies to get to the one that strikes gold. It’s the same with al­bums.”

Golden con­tains a song called ‘Shelby ’68’, a nod to her fa­ther Ron’s beloved car. Her par­ents are no­to­ri­ously me­dia-shy, stealthy at avoid­ing red car­pets and po­litely re­fus­ing in­ter­views. “Peo­ple have re­alised they’re just not in­ter­ested in the at­ten­tion,” she says. “They were hood­winked into it a cou­ple of times in the early days, back in the be­gin­ning. It would have scared the life out of them, par­tic­u­larly my mum. She barely likes be­ing in pic­tures at home. How Dan [sis­ter Dan­nii] and I turned out the way we did… Well, Mum was a bal­le­rina, she’s got that per­for­mance side in her some­where. But their avoid­ing of the spot­light does take some ef­fort.”

With Dan­nii jug­gling mu­sic and TV ca­reers, brother Bren­dan (who has two chil­dren) has taken more of a role in the busi­ness side of his sis­ters’ ca­reers. The Minogues are known as one of the most closely knit fam­i­lies in Aus­tralian en­ter­tain­ment. “I have known those girls all their lives,” fam­ily friend Tina Arena tells Stel­lar. “We’ve all been fa­mous, re­ally, since we were kids. They’ve got a very good re­la­tion­ship with their fam­ily and their craft. You need good sup­port around you.”

Minogue’s for­mer teenage boyfriend Dono­van re­cently joined her at Hyde Park in Lon­don for a tele­vised con­cert where they per­formed their mil­lion-sell­ing duet ‘Es­pe­cially For You’, which turns 30 this month and was recorded when they were still keep­ing their re­la­tion­ship a se­cret. The low-main­te­nance Dono­van, who still reg­u­larly tours the UK as well as do­ing ra­dio work, cy­cled to the con­cert. “I had this chin-stroking mo­ment,” Minogue re­calls. “Ja­son is com­ing, would he want to sing ‘Es­pe­cially For You’? We were do­ing it in the show, any­way; we had a gospel choir singing it. When he ar­rived on his bike, I asked him to sing with me and told him there was zero pres­sure if he didn’t want to. He was such a good sport. We had a quick warm up back­stage and peo­ple were creep­ing into the room to have a lis­ten. If we’d ar­ranged it all be­fore­hand, it wouldn’t have been that gen­uine. It blew peo­ple’s minds.”

Dono­van, who also turned 50 this year, made head­lines re­cently for re­ported bawdy com­ments about Minogue in his lat­est UK tour. “Ja­son did text me about that,” she says. “I didn’t even hear any­thing about it un­til he men­tioned it. I just said, ‘Oh god, don’t worry.’ You have to ap­pre­ci­ate some­one’s hu­mour.”

While Minogue tours Golden, she is also still work­ing on a mu­si­cal that would be based on her ca­reer and use her songs. “Ev­ery­one said, ‘It takes a long time to make a mu­si­cal,’ and true enough, it’s tak­ing a long time,” she says. “There’s been quite a bit of work, up to a ta­ble read where you fig­ure out what’s right and what’s not right, but it’s still at the draw­ing-board stage.”

In the mean­time, the tour will reach Aus­tralia next year, and she is plan­ning to play a mix of in­door and out­door shows for the first time as part of her plan to try new venues. “To use the foot­ball anal­ogy, I can hon­estly say I’ve never toured where I’ve left noth­ing on the pitch like I have on this tour. I re­ally en­joy every mo­ment of this show. I’ve found my­self do­ing things I’ve never done be­fore, which hap­pened re­ally or­gan­i­cally.

“Vo­cally it’s been lots of fun.through mak­ing the al­bum I’ve dis­cov­ered new ar­eas of my voice and new ways of de­liv­ery. I guess it’s ma­tur­ing into my­self, too. It feels good. It’s a big show. And a big sing. I’ve thrown ev­ery­thing at it and I love it.”

“You can do the work and the re­sult isn’t there. You have to keep try­ing”

ALL (be­low, THAT from GLIT­TERS… top) Kylie Minogue on the open­ing night of her Golden Tour in the UK in Septem­ber; shar­ing a mo­ment with her new love Paul Solomons at her 50th birth­day bash by go­ing pub­lic with the photo; be­ing joined on­stage by sis­ter Dan­nii at her A Kylie Christ­mas con­cert se­ries at Lon­don’s Royal Al­bert Hall in 2015.

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