Kylie Minogue new album is called Golden – appropriately as next month the eternal sprite of the pop world turns 50. She talks to Eleanor Black about love, life, career longevity and marriage equality.
There’s something about Kylie Minogue. Still. After 30 years of working the corsets and the feathers and delivering the perfectly adequate but not startling vocals, the occasional acting gig and the marriage equality work, she remains effervescent, lovely and widely admired, especially in the United Kingdom, where she was awarded an OBE, and Australia, where they have already immortalised her in bronze.
Kylie is one of a handful of performers of her generation who can legitimately be called an “icon”. She’s sold 80 million records, her gold hot pants are in a museum, she’s part of our cultural history, she’s a circus master, she’s Kylie – so when you get a chance to chat to her, you grab it. And then you wonder what on Earth you’ll talk about, because you don’t want to be one of those vultures who pick over her operatic love life or make sly allusions to her age (she turns 50 this year), and frankly there’s not a lot to say about a another album of upbeat, disco-inspired poppy froth. It’s nice, you know?
Disclaimer: I am a Kylie fan. The 2001 Fever album helped me through a difficult time, and hearing it still makes me happy. When she brings her new tour to New Zealand, I will be there, spinning around in the crowd. Move outta my way.
I really don’t want to provoke her, so it’s a relief when she jumps on the touchy topics right off the bat. Kylie has one of the most obsessively reported love lives in modern history. Jennifer Aniston-level ridiculous. Jason Donovan, her first famous boyfriend and Neighbours co-star, helped her become a household name; INXS frontman Michael Hutchence turned her goodie two-shoes image on its head; French actor Olivier Martinez supported her through breast cancer; Spanish model Andres Velencoso left her crying alone every night after he went.
Kylie says making Golden soothed her during her most recent heartbreak, after she ended her relationship with British actor Joshua Sasse, to whom she was engaged. She spent two weeks in Nashville concentrating solely on writing music. “It was incredible, there is something in the air, that place has a magic quality and I don’t think I would have the album I have today if I hadn’t made that trip,” she says. “And if I had the opportunity to go back, I’d go in a heartbeat. I loved it.”
Her first original album since that stinker Kiss Me Once in 2014 (215,000 worldwide sales, compared to Fever, with 6 million sales) Golden hits the market on Friday. It is her 14th, and even she seems surprised by that.
“I was being a clown as usual the other day and went off into some spin, laughing with a friend, and I said, ‘This my 14th studio album!’ and he said, ‘Is this number 14?’ and I thought, ‘Is it?’”
She has returned – joyfully – to the formula that worked so well for her in the past, and without being rude or unkind, because she is Kylie, she reassures us that this album will not be an unsatisfying pastiche like Kiss Me Once, which was produced by a cast of 18, including Sia and Pharrell Williams.
“The A&R is someone I worked with at my previous label for 10 or 11 years. Spinning Around, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, On a Night Like This – we had a lot of success together. It was different to the last album where I was sort of ferried around to tonnes of different studios, did tonnes of different songs and didn’t really have a guiding light or know where I was really going. Not to totally down that project, but that’s just the way it was and for this one I wanted to make it a bit easier. Just because something’s easier doesn’t mean it’s not going to have as good a result.”
Also different to the last album, she won’t be indulging others’ interest in her age while promoting Golden. In fact the name pre-empts it. “I did say early on, I like Golden [as a title]. Golden came from just a sentence that I wanted to put in somewhere, and it morphed a bit. At first I wanted to say I’m not young, I’m not old, I’m golden. Yes I’m older than I was before, but I’m younger than I will be. Golden is sunny,
She’s sold 80 million records, her gold hot pants are in a museum, she’s part of our cultural history, she’s Kylie.