Kylie Minogue Discusses Pharrell, Sia And New Album ‘Kiss Me Once’: Idolator Interview
Switching gears, after several years with your previous manager, you moved over to Roc Nation in 2013. Is it a totally different working experience for you, being with the company? KM: A lot of it is different. It’s American based, so they like to have me in America a lot, which is fine by me. I recorded most of my album in L.A., which was great. They are very dynamic, very proactive and also very aware of my history, and being sensitive to that. I think that’s really evident in the first single, “Into The Blue” — it’s a Kylie song; it’s just the 2014 version. I feel really energized being with them and so far it’s been pretty amazing.
Kylie Minogue — “On A Night Like This” (The Abbey Road Sessions)
Along the lines of your history, did you find that revisiting any of your past material for your recent 25th anniversary in the music business and recording The Abbey Road Sessions influenced the writing for and vibe of Kiss Me Once? KM: You know, it might have. It wasn’t really at the forefront of my mind, but with K25 I got to tick some things off my wish list. K25 seemed like the perfect vehicle or opportunity to do that. So The Abbey Road Sessions was the orchestral interpretations, or acoustic, of existing songs. And maybe more importantly was the Anti Tour. We demoed B-sides and rarities. It was only a show for super fans. You’re not going to hear “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.” I loved that, because I got to sing PWL songs I’ve never sung live, and they’re from 1988 or ’89 or ’90. So when I was doing rehearsals for that show I had to find my PWL voice, which is a different voice from what I have now. And I really appreciated a lot of those songs that have the strongest melodies and have really stood the test of time.
The “Into The Blue” video is very cinematic, and kind of has a classic feel, a la “Finer Feelings” and “What Do I Have To Do.” KM: Yeah, you’re right!
How did French actor Clément Sibony get to be the lucky gentleman who stars opposite you? KM: [Laughs] We needed to find the right guy, and I asked a friend of mine who’s worked with a lot of actresses in the French film industry and is one of my B, B, B, B, BGFs, and I said, “Can you suggest any guys?” Clément looked great, and just by chance I was in Paris maybe three or four days later. We met up to talk about the project, to see if he was interested and if we got on. I can’t imagine the video without him because he brought so much realness and so much more to the filming as an actor. I loved this opportunity, because it felt like I was doing a little bit more acting again.
Kylie Minogue — “Into The Blue”
It really does feel like a throwback to your early clips. I re-watched your video collection on DVD ahead of our chat. KM: Wow! You’ve had a Kylie fest.
I truly did. To come back to “Finer Feelings,” it’s such a great clip, and it feels like there’s a nice parallel, visually, with that one and “Into The Blue.” KM: I loved that. That was great, rolling around in front of the fireplace doing a little Lolita moment and running across a bridge in Paris. Well, [“Into The Blue”] is a bit like a French film. [Director] Dawn [Shadforth] and I were referencing the Jean-Luc Godard film À bout de souffle and other New Wave French films — just little reference points. And then we got a French actor. So, well spotted, you!
Kylie Minogue — “Finer Feelings”
What music have you been listening to for your own enjoyment? KM: To be honest, not much. I’ve been pretty preoccupied with my own stuff. I would say when I was recording, it was about Tegan And Sara, Haim. Now I’m into Disclosure. A bit of Frank Ocean, when that first came out. So pretty eclectic, my taste in music is. Pharrell, of course — you couldn’t step out of the house without hearing those amazing two tracks of his. Bruno Mars, I absolutely adore.
Speaking of Pharrell, he’s arguably the most popular man in music at the moment and he wrote and produced a song on Kiss Me Once. KM: I had a couple of days with Pharrell, so we did a couple of songs, one of which is on the album: “I Was Gonna Cancel.” If you’ve heard anything that I’ve been saying [recently], you might know a little bit about that song. I was having one of those days…just one of those days. The kind of day where, let’s say there’s someone at the shop or there’s a cab driver or whoever, someone with whom you can keep your game face on — but say your friend or your family or someone you like asks you how you are, and you might fall to pieces. Well, that’s pretty much what happened with Pharrell. I was on my way to the studio, just saying to myself in my mind, “Come on, you can do this. Just get through this next day. You can fall apart at the end of the day. Don’t fall apart now.” And the first person I saw when I walked into the studio was Pharrell. And there were a lot of people around, but Pharrell was the first person I saw, so go figure. He says, “Hey, how are you?” It was a simple question, but a complex answer. Anyway, I couldn’t hold it together. I had a teary moment, which he very graciously talked me through. Aside from that little story, he was great to work with. Very chilled, getting on with stuff, creating the track there in the moment. We didn’t spend too long on vocals. I thought I sounded terrible because I’d just been [crying], so I probably didn’t have the clearest voice. But I don’t even mind hearing that on the track because it was such a real and true moment.
It’s a fun modern disco track, and the bells are almost reminiscent of Chic’s “I Want Your Love.” KM: The bells are amazing!
You’re also now a coach on The Voice in both the UK and Australia. KM: Yes!
That’s quite a big commitment. KM: I know. Have I gone absolutely mad?
Not if we’re to go by ratings. It seems you’re being credited with drawing more viewers to the show this season in the UK. How’s it all going? KM: Well, good. I’m not due to work with The Voice UK until March, when we start the live shows. But all the pre-recorded stuff has started to go to air. The response has been amazing. On a personal level, I mostly enjoy the experience. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It’s no fun telling people that they’re not going to go further in the show, and having to make decisions and choose out of two people you put together for the battle — some of that isn’t fun, but as an overall experience, I’ve really enjoyed doing something different and learning a little bit about myself and how I react in those situations.
That’s it for this time. Thanks for the chat. KM: Thank you! Bye.
“Into The Blue” is available on iTunes now. Kylie’s 12th album Kiss Me Once will be released on March 18. Pre-order it here.