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COVER STORY

8

| BNE March/April 2015

M

aybe it’s because she’ll take a dare and

do the Ice Bucket Challenge, maybe it’s

because she goes through heartbreak

like the rest of us but doesn’t whine about it,

maybe it’s because she’ll fess up when she has a

meltdown (read between the lines of her song

‘I was Gonna Cancel’, a collaboration with

Pharrell Williams), maybe it’s because she’s

nearly always smiling or maybe it’s because she

uses phrases like “I think she’s the bees knees”

(describing Sia, executive producer on her latest

album

Kiss Me Once

). There are myriad reasons

that we still love Kylie, 27 years after she left

Ramsay Street and became one of our greatest

global exports. At 46, designers clamour to dress

her, photographers want to shoot her, younger

singers want to cover her and aspiring singers

want to

be

like her.

Far from fading into the limelight, Kylie’s

star is shining even brighter since signing with

Jay Z’s influential entertainment company

Roc Nation and releasing her latest album

Kiss

Me Once

which features collaborations with

Pharell Williams, will.i.am (a judge alongside

her on

The Voice

last year), and others including

Stargate, Darkchild and Brooke Candy. Roc

Nation is also behind such hitmakers as

Rihanna, Kanye West and Rita Ora.

“I’m not ready to be a heritage artist. That

can happen in another 20 years,” Kylie says.

Nevertheless it was a big move for her and came

following a break with her manager of 25 years,

but she decided it was time to trust her instinct.

And that’s another reason we like Kylie. She

won’t be pigeonholed. When she had dreams of

being a singer while she was playing Charlene

in

Neighbours

, she went with it and recorded a

demo instead of listening to people around her

who said she couldn’t be a singer if she was an

actress. She hasn’t looked back.

“It took me a long time to realise that what I

am is a number of things,” she says now. “And it

took a lot of hard work to get to the stage where

people would allow me to be all those things.

The idea that if you are one thing, you can’t

also be another; I just don’t get it. If someone

asked me to choose which Kylie to be, I’d have

to choose the Kylie I am; every Kylie. I’m not

doing anything by halves.”

That quote, says Michael Gudinski, head of

the Mushroom Group and acknowledged to be

the most influential person in Australian music,

reveals exactly what Kylie is all about. “She’ll

keep on pushing the boundaries; there’s plenty

more things for Kylie still to do,” he says.

Gudinski has been part of Kylie’s music career

since the beginning, when his nieces and

nephews had to tell him who Charlene was.

His company Frontier Touring is bringing the

Kiss Me Once tour to Australia. Now they’re

like family. “I’ve never had an argument with

her. It’s well-known that I can be loud, I can

be argumentative and I can be a bit difficult.

She treats people around her really well. She

cares. To sum up Kylie: I was there at one show

where something malfunctioned with one of

the sprinklers and it hit her smack in the face.

Now, if this had happened to any normal prima

donna pop star, hell would have broken loose.

She didn’t even blink. The show went on, no

drama, that’s Kylie.”

There were, however, much tougher tests of

“It took me a long time

to realise that I am a

number of things, and

it took a lot of hard

work to get to the

stage where people

would allow me to be

all those things”

her resolve to come. We all watched as Kylie

tried to stay strong and positive as she battled

breast cancer in 2005, while underneath she was

an emotional wreck (which was only recently

revealed during a teary television interview).

Gudinski remembers the time. “I saw her

a bit through the recovery period afterwards,

not in hospital. She was positive. I think the

emotion was felt in the room when she came

back during her Homecoming tour. I’ll never

forget – I broke down crying when she hit that

stage the first night, a year or so later (after her

diagnosis and treatment), I just broke down in

tears. To see her just come to life again was just

the best and I think from that point on, every

day was a win for Kylie and perhaps that’s part

of the reason that she tries to pack so much

into life.”

And that’s what has become known as ‘the

Kylie effect’. The term was actually coined when

an Australian study found that the exposure

Kylie’s experience received led to a 20-fold

increase in breast screenings. Her dignity and

strength during that time was a source of

inspiration not just to breast cancer sufferers but

to people all over the world.

When the Kiss Me Once tour arrives in

Brisbane on 21 March it will be a chance to

reconnect with “our Kylie”. She may not live

here anymore but she’s considered a national

treasure. Although it has been four years since

Kylie’s last tour, her role as a judge on

The

Voice

last year was a chance for people to see

her and get to know what she is, especially

for the generation of young kids who are just

discovering her.

Kylie’s long-time stylist William Baker says,

“she’s like champagne bubbles — effervescent

glamour,” but behind-the-scenes Kylie’s so much

more.

Kylie Kiss Me Once tour is on at Brisbane

Entertainment Centre, Boondall, 21 March.

See

www.ticketek.com.au

kylie

EFFECT

THE