Published Apr 27, 2018Kylie Minogue has always forged her own pop path. From TV actor to teen pop star to international phenom, she's survived commercial flops, the paparazzi and cancer, seamlessly riding the cultural waves for over three decades. It's an enviable journey, a blueprint for all the Selenas, Demis and Ariannas of the world as they make their way out of the teen-pop ghetto.
With the recent release of her 14th album, Golden, here are five noteworthy facts you may not know about the Australian superstar.
1. Originally, her sister Dannii was pegged as the star of the Minogue household.
Both Kylie and Dannii take singing and dancing lessons. In her first public performance Kylie plays "Run Rabbit Run" on the piano at a local arts festival and wins second prize. Yet Dannii is the budding star. At the age of seven, Dannii persuades her parents to enrol her in the Johnny Young Talent School and in 1982 joins the school's very popular TV show Young Talent Time. Kylie sorts through her younger sister's fan mail after school, often forging her signature on photos.
2. Early in her career, Minogue was part of one of the '80s most successful songwriting production lines.
Minogue travels to England to meet with '80s synthpop uber-producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (known professionally as Stock Aitken Waterman, or SAW) best known for their assembly-line style production on career defining hits for Bananarama, Rick Astley and Dead or Alive. By the time Minogue walks through their door, they've already sold 37 million records. The 19-year-old Minogue spends ten days in a London hotel room waiting for the producers to call. They've forgotten she's even in town. They finally hook up on her last day, and write and record "I Should Be So Lucky" in 40 minutes, between sessions with Bananarama and Rick Astley. "We treated Kylie rather shabbily," says Mike Stock in 2003. "She came to London to work for us and on the last day I get her in for 40 minutes and then tell her to go back home."
3. A year before Madonna's Ray of Light, Minogue made a similar, though less commercially successful turn to "electronica" sounds.
With both [boyfriend Stéphane] Sednaoui and [Nick] Cave's encouragement, Minogue takes even more control of her next album. Compounding her newfound freedom was the absence of Deconstruction's A&R person Pete Hadfield due to illness. After travelling the world with Sednaoui, she writes lyrics, which she presents to Brothers in Rhythm for them to build tracks around. Inspired by Björk, Prodigy, Garbage and Eels, she wants a more electronica sound. She veers even further from her traditional dance-pop, collaborating with Manic Street Preachers, and incorporates live instruments for the first time in her career.
4. "Can't Get You Out of My Head," the song that broke Minogue in North America, was the subject of a media-driven chart battle with Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham.
Fever arrives in the fall in Australia and the UK, debuting at number one in both countries. It goes on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Minogue's fashion designer, William Baker, describes the record's aesthetic as "slick, minimalist and postmodern." First single "Can't Get You Out of My Head," co-written by Rob Davis, former guitarist of glam rock band Mud, becomes embroiled in a media-driven chart battle with former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham's single "Not Such an Innocent Girl." Minogue outsells Beckham ten to one.
5. Reflecting North America's general indifference to Minogue, the singer has toured the continent extremely rarely.
Minogue embarks on her first-ever North American tour in the fall. "On a purely financial boring logistical note, it's not something that bean counters would say, 'Yeah, that's a great idea!'" she'll recall to Rolling Stone in 2018. "But at this point in my life and my career, I think, 'Man, I really wanna go and see these people! Find a way and make it happen!'" Playing just six dates, including one show in Toronto, Kylie Live in New York, recorded at the Hammerstein Ballroom in October, commemorates the tour.