Kylie Ann Minogue, OBE (born 28 May 1968) is an Australian pop singer, songwriter, and actress. After beginning her career as a child actress on Australian television, she achieved recognition through her role in the television soap opera Neighbours, before commencing her career as a recording artist in 1987. Her first single, "Locomotion", spent seven weeks at number one on the Australian singles chart and became the highest selling single of the decade. This led to a contract with songwriters and producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman. Her debut album, Kylie (1988), and the single "I Should Be So Lucky", each reached number one in the United Kingdom, and over the next two years, her first 13 singles reached the British top ten. Her debut film, The Delinquents (1989) was a box-office hit in Australia and the UK despite negative reviews.
Initially presented as a "girl next door", Minogue attempted to convey a more mature style in her music and public image. Her singles were well received, but after four albums her record sales were declining, and she left Stock, Aitken & Waterman in 1992 to establish herself as an independent performer. Her next single, "Confide in Me", reached number one in Australia and was a hit in several European countries in 1994, and a duet with Nick Cave, "Where the Wild Roses Grow", brought Minogue a greater degree of artistic credibility. Drawing inspiration from a range of musical styles and artists, Minogue took creative control over the songwriting for her next album, Impossible Princess (1997). It failed to attract strong reviews or sales in the UK, but was successful in Australia.
Minogue returned to prominence in 2000 with the single "Spinning Around" and the dance-oriented album Light Years, and she performed during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her music videos showed a more sexually provocative and flirtatious personality and several hit singles followed. "Can't Get You Out of My Head" reached number one in more than 40 countries, and the album Fever (2001) was a hit throughout the world, including the United States, a market in which Minogue had previously received little recognition. Minogue embarked on a concert tour but cancelled it when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. After surgery and chemotherapy treatment, she resumed her career in 2006 with Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour. Her tenth studio album X was released in 2007 and was followed by the KylieX2008 tour. In 2009, she embarked upon her For You, for Me Tour, her first concert tour of the US and Canada.
Although she was dismissed by some critics, especially during the early years of her career, she has achieved worldwide record sales of more than 68 million, and has received notable music awards, including multiple ARIA and Brit Awards and a Grammy Award. She has mounted several successful concert tours and received a Mo Award for "Australian Entertainer of the Year" for her live performances. She was awarded an OBE "for services to music", and an Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2008.
Life and career
1968–86: Early life and career beginnings
Kylie Ann Minogue was born 28 May 1968 in Melbourne, Australia, the first child of Ronald Charles Minogue, an accountant of Irish ancestryand Carol Ann (née Jones), a former dancer from Maesteg, Wales.Her sister, Dannii Minogue, is also a pop singer and a judge on The X Factor, and her brother, Brendan, works as a news cameraman in Australia. The Minogue children were raised in Surrey Hills, Melbourne, and educated at Camberwell High School.
The Minogue sisters began their careers as children on Australian television. From the age of 11, Kylie appeared in small roles in soap operas such as The Sullivans and Skyways, and in 1985 was cast in one of the lead roles in The Henderson Kids. Interested in following a career in music, she made a demo tape for the producers of the weekly music programme Young Talent Time, which featured Dannii as a regular performer. Kylie gave her first television singing performance on the show in 1985 but was not invited to join the cast. Dannii's success overshadowed Kylie's acting achievements, until Kylie was cast in the soap opera Neighbours in 1986, as Charlene Robinson, a schoolgirl turned garage mechanic. Neighbours achieved popularity in the UK, and a story arc that created a romance between her character and the character played by Jason Donovan culminated in a wedding episode in 1987 that attracted an audience of 20 million British viewers.
Her popularity in Australia was demonstrated when she became the first person to win four Logie Awards in one event, and the youngest recipient of the "Gold Logie" as the country's "Most Popular Television Performer", with the result determined by public vote.
1987–92: Stock, Aitken and Waterman and Kylie
"I Should Be So Lucky" (1987) was one of the early
music videos that presented Minogue
as a "girl-next-door".
During a Fitzroy Football Club benefit concert with other Neighbours cast members, Minogue performed "I Got You Babe" as a duet with the actor John Waters, and "The Loco-Motion" as an encore, and was subsequently signed to a recording contract with Mushroom Records in 1987. Her first single, "The Loco-Motion", spent seven weeks at number one on the Australian music charts. It sold 200,000 copies,became the highest selling single of the 1980s and Minogue received the ARIA Award for the year's highest selling single. Its success resulted in Minogue travelling to England with Mushroom Records executive Gary Ashley to work with Stock, Aitken & Waterman. They knew little of Minogue and had forgotten that she was arriving; as a result, they wrote "I Should Be So Lucky" while she waited outside the studio. The song reached number one in the UK, Australia, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Israel and Hong Kong, and was a hit in many parts of the world. Minogue won her second consecutive ARIA Award for the year's highest selling single, and received a "Special Achievement Award".debut album, Kylie, a collection of dance-oriented pop tunes spent more than a year on the British album charts, including several weeks at number one. The album did not sell strongly in the United States and Canada, although the single, "The Loco-Motion", reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number one on the Canadian Singles Chart. "It's No Secret", released only in the U.S., peaked at number 37 in early 1989,and "Turn It Into Love" was released as a single in Japan, where it reached number one.
In July 1988, "Got To Be Certain" became Minogue's third consecutive number one single on the Australian music charts, and later in the year she left Neighbours to focus on her music career. Jason Donovan commented "When viewers watched her on screen they no longer saw Charlene the local mechanic, they saw Kylie the pop star." A duet with Donovan, titled "Especially for You", sold almost one million copies in the UK in early 1989, but critic Kevin Killian wrote that the duet was "majestically awful ...[it] makes the Diana Ross, Lionel Richie 'Endless Love' sound like Mahler." She was sometimes referred to as "the Singing Budgie" by her detractors over the coming years, however Chris True's comment about the album Kylie for Allmusic suggests that Minogue's appeal transcended the limitations of her music, by noting that "her cuteness makes these rather vapid tracks bearable".
Her follow-up album Enjoy Yourself (1989) was a success in the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Australia, and contained several successful singles, including the British number one "Hand on Your Heart", but it failed throughout North America, and Minogue was dropped by her American record label Geffen Records. She embarked on her first concert tour, the Enjoy Yourself Tour, in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia, where Melbourne's Herald Sun wrote that it was "time to ditch the snobbery and face facts—the kid's a star." In December 1989, Minogue was one of the featured vocalists on the remake of "Do They Know It's Christmas",and her debut film, The Delinquents, premiered in London. It was poorly received by critics,and the Daily Mirror reviewed Minogue's performance with the comment that she "has as much acting charisma as cold porridge", but it proved popular with audiences; in the UK it grossed more than £200,000, and in Australia it was the fourth-highest grossing local film of 1989 and the highest grossing local film of 1990.
Rhythm of Love (1990) presented a more sophisticated and adult style of dance music and also marked the first signs of Minogue's rebellion against her production team and the "girl-next-door" image. Determined to be accepted by a more mature audience, Minogue took control of her music videos, starting with "Better the Devil You Know", and presented herself as a sexually aware adult. Her relationship with Michael Hutchence was also seen as part of Minogue's departure from her earlier persona; Hutchence was quoted as saying that his hobby was "corrupting Kylie", and that the INXS song Suicide Blonde had been inspired by her. The singles from Rhythm of Love sold well in Europe and Australia and were popular in British nightclubs. Pete Waterman later reflected that "Better the Devil You Know" was a milestone in her career and said that it made her "the hottest, hippest dance act on the scene and nobody could knock it as it was the best dance record around at the time"."Shocked" became Minogue's thirteenth consecutive British top-10 single.
In May 1990, Minogue performed her band's arrangement of The Beatles's "Help!" before a crowd of 25,000 at the John Lennon: The Tribute Concert on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool. Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon offered Minogue their thanks for her support of The John Lennon Fund, while the media commented positively on her performance. The Sun wrote "The soap star wows the Scousers—Kylie Minogue deserved her applause".Her fourth album, Let's Get to It (1991), reached number 15 on the British album charts and was the first of her albums to fail to reach the Top 10; her fourteenth single "Word Is Out" was the first to miss the Top 10 singles chart, though subsequent singles "If You Were with Me Now" and "Give Me Just a Little More Time" reached number four and number two respectively.Minogue had fulfilled the requirements of her contract and elected not to renew it. She later expressed her opinion that she was stifled by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, and said, "I was very much a puppet in the beginning. I was blinkered by my record company. I was unable to look left or right."
A Greatest Hits album was released in 1992. It reached number one in the UK and number three in Australia,] and the singles "What Kind of Fool (Heard All That Before)" and her cover version of Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" each reached the UK Top 20.
1993–98: Deconstruction, Kylie Minogue and Impossible Princess
Minogue's subsequent signing with Deconstruction Records was highly touted in the music media as the beginning of a new phase in her career, but the eponymous Kylie Minogue (1994) received mixed reviews. It sold well in Europe and Australia, where the single "Confide in Me" spent four weeks at number one. She performed a striptease in the video for her next single, "Put Yourself in My Place", inspired by Jane Fonda as Barbarella. This single and her next, "Where Is the Feeling?" each reached the British top 20,and the album peaked at number four, eventually selling 250,000 copies. During this period she made a guest appearance as herself, in an episode of the comedy The Vicar of Dibley. The director Steven E. de Souza was intrigued by Minogue's cover photo in Australia's Who Magazine as one of "The 30 Most Beautiful People in the World", and offered her a role opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Street Fighter (1994). The film was a moderate success, earning USD$70 million in the U.S., but received poor reviews with The Washington Post's Richard Harrington calling Minogue "the worst actress in the English-speaking world". She co-starred with Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin in Bio-Dome (1996), but it was a failure, dismissed by Movie Magazine International as the "biggest waste of celluloid space". Minogue returned to Australia where she appeared in the short film, Hayride to Hell (1995), and then to the UK where she filmed a cameo role as herself in the film Diana & Me (1997).
The music video for "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (1995)
(left) was inspired by John Everett
Millais' Ophelia (1851/52) (right).
The Australian artist Nick Cave had been interested in working with Minogue since hearing "Better the Devil You Know", saying it contained "one of pop music's most violent and distressing lyrics" and "when Kylie Minogue sings these words, there is an innocence to her that makes the horror of this chilling lyric all the more compelling". They collaborated on "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (1995), a brooding ballad whose lyrics narrated a murder from the points of view of both the murderer (Cave), and his victim (Minogue). The video was inspired by John Everett Millais's painting Ophelia (1851–1852), and showed Minogue as the murdered woman, floating in a pond as a serpent swam over her body. The single received widespread attention in Europe, where it reached the top 10 in several countries, and acclaim in Australia where it reached number two on the singles chart, and won ARIA Awards for "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Release".Following concert appearances with Cave, Minogue recited the lyrics to "I Should Be So Lucky" as poetry in London's Royal Albert Hall "Poetry Jam", at the suggestion of Cave, and later described it as a "most cathartic moment". She credited Cave with giving her the confidence to express herself artistically, saying: "He taught me to never veer too far from who I am, but to go further, try different things, and never lose sight of myself at the core. For me, the hard part was unleashing the core of myself and being totally truthful in my music." By 1997, Minogue was in a relationship with the French photographer Stephane Sednaoui, who encouraged her to develop her creativity. Inspired by a mutual appreciation of Japanese culture, they created a visual combination of "geisha and manga superheroine" for the photographs taken for the album Impossible Princess and the video for "German Bold Italic", Minogue's collaboration with Towa Tei. Minogue drew inspiration from the music of artists such as Shirley Manson and Garbage, Björk, Tricky and U2, and Japanese pop musicians such as Pizzicato Five and Towa Tei.
Impossible Princess featured collaborations with musicians such as James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore of the Manic Street Preachers. Mostly a dance album, its style was not represented by its first single "Some Kind of Bliss", and Minogue countered suggestions that she was trying to become an indie artist. She told Music Week, "I have to keep telling people that this isn't an indie-guitar album. I'm not about to pick up a guitar and rock." Acknowledging that she had attempted to escape the perceptions of her that had developed during her early career, Minogue commented that she was ready to "forget the painful criticism" and "accept the past, embrace it, use it". Her video for "Did It Again" paid homage to her earlier incarnations, as noted in her biography, La La La, "Dance Kylie, Cute Kylie, Sex Kylie and Indie Kylie all struggled for supremacy as they battled bitchily with each other." Billboard described the album as "stunning" and concluded that "it's a golden commercial opportunity for a major [record company] with vision and energy [to release it in the United States]. A sharp ear will detect a kinship between Impossible Princess and Madonna's hugely successful album, Ray of Light". In the UK, Music Week gave a negative assessment, commenting that "Kylie's vocals take on a stroppy edge ... but not strong enough to do much". Retitled Kylie Minogue in the UK following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, it became the lowest-selling album of her career. At the end of the year a campaign by Virgin Radio stated, "We've done something to improve Kylie's records: we've banned them." A poll conducted by Smash Hits voted her the "worst-dressed person, worst singer and second-most very horrible thing—after spiders".
In Australia, Impossible Princess spent 35 weeks on the album chart and peaked at number four, to become her most successful album since Kylie in 1988, and her Intimate and Live tour was extended due to demand. The Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, hosted a civic reception for Minogue in Melbourne,and she maintained her high profile in Australia with live performances, including the 1998 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the opening ceremonies of Melbourne's Crown Casino and Sydney's Fox Studios in 1999, where she performed Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", and a Christmas concert in Dili, East Timor in association with the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces.During this time she filmed a small role for the Australian-made Molly Ringwald film, Cut (2000).
1999–2005: Light Years, Fever and Body Language
William Baker has cited the 1940s "Vargas Girl" pinups of Alberto
Vargas as an influence, as demonstrated in the music
video for "Spinning Around". (2000)
Minogue and Deconstruction Records parted company. She performed a duet with the Pet Shop Boys' on their Nightlife album and spent several months in Barbados performing in Shakespeare's The Tempest.Returning to Australia, she appeared in the film Sample People and recorded a cover version of Russell Morris's "The Real Thing" for the soundtrack. She signed with Parlophone Records in April 1999. Her album Light Years (2000) was a collection of dance songs, influenced by disco music. Minogue said that her intention was to present dance-pop music in a "more exaggerated form" and to make it "fun". It generated strong reviews and was successful throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, selling over one million copies in the UK. The single "Spinning Around" became her first British number one in ten years, and its accompanying video featured Minogue in revealing gold hot pants, which came to be regarded as a "trademark". Her second single, "On a Night Like This" reached number one in Australia and number two in the UK. "Kids", a duet with Robbie Williams, was also included on Williams's album Sing When You're Winning, and peaked at number two in the UK.
In 2000, Minogue performed ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and her single "On a Night like This" at the 2000 Sydney Olympics closing ceremony. She then embarked upon a concert tour, On A Night like This Tour, which played to sell-out crowds in Australia and the United Kingdom. Minogue was inspired by Madonna's 1993 world tour The Girlie Show which incorporated Burlesque and theatre, William Baker also cited the style of Broadway shows such as 42nd Street, films such as Anchors Aweigh, South Pacific, the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s and the live performances of Bette Midler. Minogue was praised for her new material and her reinterpretations of some of her greatest successes, turning "I Should Be So Lucky" into a torch song and "Better the Devil You Know" into a 1940s big band number. She won a "Mo Award" for Australian live entertainment as "Performer of the Year". Following the tour she was asked by a Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalist what she thought was her greatest strength, and replied, "[That] I am an all-rounder. If I was to choose any one element of what I do, I don't know if I would excel at any one of them. But put all of them together, and I know what I'm doing."
She appeared as "The Green Fairy" in Moulin Rouge! (2001), shortly before the release of Fever, an album containing disco elements combined with 1980s electropop and synthpop. Fever reached number one in Australia, the UK, and throughout Europe, eventually achieving worldwide sales in excess of eight million. Its lead single "Can't Get You out of My Head" became the biggest success of her career, reaching number one in more than 40 countries. She won four ARIA Awards including a "Most Outstanding Achievement" award,and two Brit Awards, for "Best international female solo artist" and "Best international album". Rolling Stone states that "Can't Get You out of My Head" "was easily the best and most omnipresent dance track of the new century", and following extensive airplay by American radio, Capitol Records released it and the album Fever in the U.S. in 2002. Fever debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at number three, and "Can't Get You out of My Head" reached number seven on the Hot 100. The subsequent singles "In Your Eyes", "Love at First Sight" and "Come into My World" were successful throughout the world, and Minogue established a presence in the mainstream North American market, particularly in the club scene. In 2003 she received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Dance Recording" for "Love at First Sight", and the following year won the same award for "Come into My World".
Minogue's stylist and creative director William Baker explained that the music videos for the Fever album were inspired by science fiction films—specifically those by Stanley Kubrick—and accentuated the electropop elements of the music by using dancers in the style of Kraftwerk. Alan MacDonald, the designer of the 2002 KylieFever tour, brought those elements into the stage show which drew inspiration from Minogue's past incarnations. The show opened with Minogue as a space age vamp, which she described as "Queen of Metropolis with her drones", through to scenes inspired by Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, followed by the various personas of Minogue's career. Minogue said that she was finally able to express herself the way she wanted, and that she had always been "a showgirl at heart". During 2002 she worked on the animated film The Magic Roundabout, released in 2005 in Europe and 2006 in the U.S.; she voiced one of the principal characters, Florence.
Performing in Belgium at the start of the Showgirl tour, March 2005
Minogue began a relationship with the French actor, Olivier Martinez, after meeting him at the 2002 Grammy Awards ceremony. Her next album, Body Language (2003), was released following an invitation-only concert, titled Money Can't Buy, at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. The event marked the presentation of a new visual style, designed by Minogue and Baker, inspired in part by Brigitte Bardot, about whom Minogue commented: "I just tended to think of BB [Bardot] as, well, she's a sexpot, isn't she? She's one of the greatest pinups. But she was fairly radical in her own way at that time. And we chose to reference the period, which was ... a perfect blend of coquette and rock and roll." The album downplayed the disco style and Minogue said she was inspired by 1980s artists such as Scritti Politti, The Human League, Adam and the Ants and Prince, blending their styles with elements of hip hop. It received positive reviews with Billboard Magazine writing of "Minogue's knack for picking great songs and producers". Allmusic described it as "a near perfect pop record... Body Language is what happens when a dance-pop diva takes the high road and focuses on what's important instead of trying to shock herself into continued relevance". Sales of Body Language were lower than anticipated after the success of Fever, though the first single, "Slow", was a number-one hit in the UK and Australia. After reaching number one on the US club chart,"Slow" received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Dance Recording category.
Body Language achieved first week sales of 43,000 in the U.S., and declined significantly in the second week. The Wall Street Journal described Minogue as "an international superstar who seems perpetually unable to conquer the U.S. market". Minogue commented that she had told her American record company that she was not willing to invest the time needed to establish herself in the U.S. and that she would rather enhance the success she had already achieved in other parts of the world, an attitude endorsed by Billboard analyst Geoff Mayfield as a "business decision... If I were her accountant, I couldn't blame her for making that call." Minogue later commented that she was not concerned by her limited success in the U.S. and was more frustrated by assumptions that she considered her career incomplete without it.
Minogue played a guest role in the season finale of the comedy series Kath & Kim, in which she referenced her earlier role as Charlene in Neighbours, during a wedding sequence. The episode was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's highest rating program of the year.
She released her second official greatest hits album in November 2004, entitled Ultimate Kylie, along with her music videos on a DVD compilation of the same title. The album introduced her singles "I Believe in You", co-written with Jake Shears and Babydaddy from the Scissor Sisters, and "Giving You Up". "I Believe in You" reached the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play top three, and Minogue was nominated for a Grammy Award for the fourth consecutive year when the song was nominated in the category of "Best Dance Recording".
Early in 2005, Kylie : The Exhibition opened in Melbourne. The free exhibition featured costumes and photographs spanning Minogue's career and went on to tour Australian capital cities receiving over 300,000 visitors, and was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in February 2007.Minogue commenced her Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour, and after performing in Europe, travelled to Melbourne, where she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
2005–06: Breast cancer
Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 led to the postponement of the remainder of her Showgirl – The Greatest Hits Tour and her withdrawal from the Glastonbury Festival. Her hospitalisation and treatment in Melbourne resulted in a brief but intense period of media coverage, particularly in Australia, where the Prime Minister John Howard issued a statement supporting Minogue. As media and fans began to congregate outside the Minogue residence in Melbourne, the Victorian Premier Steve Bracks warned the international media that any disruption of the Minogue family's rights under Australian privacy laws would not be tolerated. His comments became part of a wider criticism of the media's overall reaction, with particular criticism directed towards paparazzi. Minogue underwent surgery on 21 May 2005 at Cabrini Hospital in Malvern, and commenced chemotherapy treatment soon after.
On 8 July, 2005, she made her first public appearance after her surgery, when she visited a children's cancer ward at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. She returned to France where she completed her chemotherapy treatment at the Institut Gustave-Roussy in Villejuif, near Paris. In December 2005, Minogue released a digital-only single, "Over the Rainbow", a live recording from her Showgirl tour. Her children's book, The Showgirl Princess, written during her period of convalescence, was published in October 2006, and her perfume, "Darling", was launched in November. On her return to Australia for her concert tour, she discussed her illness, and said that her chemotherapy treatment had been like "experiencing a nuclear bomb". While appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2008, Minogue said that her cancer had originally been misdiagnosed. She commented, "Because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn't necessarily mean they're right", but she later spoke of her respect for the medical profession.
Minogue was acknowledged for the impact she had made by publicly discussing her cancer diagnosis and treatment; in May 2008, the French Cultural Minister Christine Albanel said, "Doctors now even go as far as saying there is a 'Kylie effect' that encourages young women to have regular checks."
2006–09: Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour, X, KylieX2008 and For You, for Me Tour
Performing in Berlin during KylieX2008
In November 2006, Minogue resumed her Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour with a performance in Sydney. She had told journalists before the concert that she would be highly emotional, and she cried before dedicating the song "Especially for You" to her father, a survivor of prostate cancer. Her dance routines had been reworked to accommodate her medical condition, and slower costume changes and longer breaks were introduced between sections of the show to conserve her strength. The media reported that Minogue performed energetically, with the Sydney Morning Herald describing the show as an "extravaganza" and "nothing less than a triumph". The following night, Minogue was joined by Bono, who was in Australia as part of U2's Vertigo tour, for the duet "Kids", but Minogue was forced to cancel a subsequent planned appearance at U2's show, because of exhaustion. Minogue's shows throughout Australia continued to draw positive reviews, and after spending Christmas with her family, she resumed the European leg of her tour with six sold-out shows in Wembley Arena, before taking her tour to Manchester for a further six shows.
In February 2007, Minogue and Olivier Martinez announced that they had ended their relationship, but remained on friendly terms. Minogue was reported to have been "saddened by false [media] accusations of [Martinez's] disloyalty". She defended Martinez, and acknowledged the support he had given during her treatment for breast cancer, commenting "He was always there, helping with the practical stuff and being protective. He was incredible. He didn't hesitate in canceling work and putting projects on hold so he could be with me. He's the most honorable man I have ever met."
Minogue released X, her tenth studio album and much-discussed "comeback" album, in November 2007. The electro-styled album included contributions from Guy Chambers, Cathy Dennis, Bloodshy & Avant and Calvin Harris. For the overarching visual look of X, including the music video for first single "2 Hearts", Minogue and William Baker developed a combination of the style of Kabuki theatre and the aesthetics originating from London danceclubs including BoomBox. The album received some criticism for the triviality of its subject matter in light of Minogue's experiences with breast cancer; she responded by explaining the personal nature of some of the album's songs, and said "My conclusion is that if I'd done an album of personal songs it'd be seen as 'Impossible Princess 2' and be equally critiqued." Rolling Stone's reviewer described Minogue as "pop divadom's party planner in chief", and said of her breast cancer, "thankfully, the experience hasn't made her music discernibly deeper". Minogue later said, "In retrospect we could definitely have bettered it [the album], I'll say that straight up. Given the time we had, it is what it is. I had a lot of fun doing it."
Minogue in 2009.
X and "2 Hearts" entered at number one on the Australian albums and singles charts respectively. In the UK, X initially attracted lukewarm sales, although its commercial performance eventually improved, and Minogue won a Brit Award for "International solo female". X was released in the U.S. in April 2008, and debuted outside the top 100 on the albums chart despite some promotion.Minogue called the U.S. market "notoriously difficult ... [Y]ou have so many denominations with radio. To know where I fit within that market is sometimes difficult." X was nominated for the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album, Minogue's fifth Grammy Award nomination.
In December 2007, Minogue participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, and later performed in the final of the UK talent show The X Factor with the eventual winner, Leon Jackson, whose mentor was Dannii Minogue. From May 2008, Minogue promoted X with a European tour, KylieX2008, which is her most expensive tour to date with production costs of £10 million.Although she described the rehearsals as "grim" and the set list went through several overhauls, the tour was generally acclaimed and sold well.
Minogue was featured in White Diamond, a documentary filmed during 2006 and 2007 as she resumed her Showgirl Homecoming Tour. She appeared in The Kylie Show, which featured highly stylised set-piece song performances from Minogue as well as comedy sketches with Mathew Horne, Dannii Minogue, Jason Donovan and Simon Cowell. She co-starred in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special episode, "Voyage of the Damned", as Astrid Peth, a waitress on a spaceship Titanic. The episode aired on 25 December 2007, with 13.31 million viewers, the show's highest viewing figures since 1979.
It was announced in late December 2007 that Minogue was to be among those honoured in Queen Elizabeth II's 2008 New Years Honours list, with an OBE for services to music. Minogue commented "I am almost as surprised as I am honoured. I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way." She received the OBE officially from The Prince of Wales in July 2008. In May, 2008 Minogue was awarded the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France's highest cultural honour. Culture Minister Christine Albanel described Minogue as a "midas of the international music scene who turns everything she touches into gold", and saluted her for publicly discussing her breast cancer. In July, Minogue was named the UK's "Best Loved Celebrity" by a tabloid newspaper, who commented that she "won the hearts of the nation as she bravely battled breast cancer", and won the "Best International
Female Solo Artist" award at the 2008 BRIT Awards.
Performing in Toronto 2009 with display of the
landmarks of venue in the background.
In late September 2008 Minogue made her Middle East debut as the headline act at the opening of Atlantis, The Palm, an exclusive hotel resort in Dubai, and from November, she continued with her KylieX2008 tour, taking the show to cities across South America, Asia and Australia. The tour visited 21 countries, and was considered a success, with ticket sales estimated at $70,000,000. She hosted the 2009 BRIT Awards on 18 February 2009 with James Corden and Mathew Horne.
In September and October 2009 Minogue embarked on the For You, For Me Tour, her first North American concert tour, which included shows in the U.S. and Canada. She was also featured in the Bollywood film, Blue, performing an A.R. Rahman song, and has confirmed that she is working on her eleventh studio album, commenting that it will be an album of dance and pop music. On 13 September 2009 Minogue performed "Super Trouper" and "When All Is Said and Done" with Benny Andersson at the ABBA tribute concert "Thank You for the Music... a Celebration of the Music of ABBA" at London's Hyde Park, her only live performance in the UK in 2009. On 14 December 2009, Minogue released a download-only concert album entitled Kylie: Live in New York. The album was recorded at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom and contains 25 live version songs.
In mid-2009, Minogue confirmed that she was working on her eleventh studio album commenting that it will be an album of dance and pop music. Confirmed producers and songwriters working with Minogue on the album have been Nerina Pallot and Andy Chatterley, Xenomania, Calvin Harris, Jake Shears and Babydaddy of Scissor Sisters, Richard Stannard, Lucas Secon, Greg Kurstin, Stuart Price, Tim Rice-Oxley, Fraser T Smith and RedOne, who has produced music for Lady Gaga, Little Boots and Sugababes amongst others. The only track to be heard from the sessions so far is "Better than Today", written by Nerina Pallot and Andy Chatterley, which Minogue performed on her 2009 For You, for Me Tour. Minogue referred to it as "a song that will feature on my next album". The United States is expected to be a priority this time around, after rave reviews for her debut American tour.
RedOne stated, "To me I was expecting a diva, you know, somebody who's going to be like (that) because she's been doing it for so long," he said of Minogue. "It was fun, easy to work with her. We did three songs in two days ... (and) we said we're going to do more songs in LA."
Minogue's eleventh studio album, Aphrodite, will be released on 5 July 2010. The lead single, "All the Lovers", will be released on 13 June 2010.
On 3 June 2010, she will be hosting the inaugural AmfAR "Inspiration Gala" at the New York Public Library honouring Jean Paul Gaultier for his lifelong contribution to men's fashion and the fight against AIDS.
Image and celebrity status
"[Madonna] subverts everything for her own gain. I went to see her London show and it was all so dour and humourless. She surpasses even Joan Crawford in terms of megalomania. Which in itself makes her a kind of dark, gay icon... I love Kylie, she's the anti-Madonna. Self-knowledge is a truly beautiful thing and Kylie knows herself inside out. She is what she is and there is no attempt to make quasi-intellectual statements to substantiate it. She is the gay shorthand for joy."
Observer Music Monthly, 2006.
Minogue's efforts to be taken seriously as a recording artist were initially hindered by the perception that she had not "paid her dues" and was no more than a manufactured pop star exploiting the image she had created during her tenure on Neighbours. Minogue acknowledged this viewpoint, saying, "if you're part of a record company, I think to a degree it's fair to say that you're a manufactured product. You're a product and you're selling a product. It doesn't mean that you're not talented and that you don't make creative and business decisions about what you will and won't do and where you want to go. In 1993, Baz Luhrmann introduced Minogue to the photographer Bert Stern, notable for his work with Marilyn Monroe. Stern photographed her in Los Angeles and, comparing her to Monroe, commented that Minogue had a similar mix of vulnerability and eroticism. During her career Minogue has chosen photographers who attempt to create a new "look" for her, and the resulting photographs have appeared in a variety of magazines, from the cutting edge The Face to the more traditionally sophisticated Vogue and Vanity Fair, making the Minogue face and name known to a broad group of people. Stylist William Baker has suggested that this is part of the reason she has entered in the mainstream pop culture of Europe more successfully than many other pop singers who concentrate solely on selling records.
Bronze statue of Kylie Minogue at Waterfront City, Melbourne Docklands
By 2000, when Minogue returned to prominence, she was considered to be have achieved a degree of musical credibility for having maintained her career longer than her critics had expected. That same year, Birmingham Post noted "[o]nce upon a time, long before anybody had even heard of Britney, Christina, Jessica or Mandy, Australian singer Kylie Minogue ruled the charts as princess of pop. Back in 1988 her first single, I Should Be So Lucky, spent five weeks at number one, making her the most successful female artist in the UK charts with 13 successive Top 10 entries." Her progression from the wholesome "girl next door" to a more sophisticated performer with a flirtatious and playful persona attracted new fans to her. Her "Spinning Around" video led to some media outlets referring to her as "SexKylie", and sex became a stronger element in her subsequent videos.William Baker described her status as a sex symbol as a "double edged sword" observing that "we always attempted to use her sex appeal as an enhancement of her music and to sell a record. But now it has become in danger of eclipsing what she actually is: a pop singer." After 20 years as a performer, Minogue was described as a fashion "trend-setter" and a "style icon who constantly reinvents herself". She has been acknowledged for mounting successful tours, and for worldwide record sales of more than 60 million.
Minogue is regarded as a gay icon, which she encourages with comments such as "I am not a traditional gay icon. There's been no tragedy in my life, only tragic outfits..." and "My gay audience has been with me from the beginning ... they kind of adopted me."[Minogue has explained that she first became aware of her gay audience in 1988, when several drag queens performed to her music at a Sydney pub and she later saw a similar show in Melbourne. She said that she felt "very touched" to have such an "appreciative crowd" and this had encouraged her to perform at gay venues throughout the world, as well as headlining the 1994 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Minogue has been inspired by and compared to Madonna throughout her career. Her producer, Pete Waterman recalled Minogue during the early years of her success, with the observation, "She was setting her sights on becoming the new Prince or Madonna... What I found amazing was that she was outselling Madonna four to one, but still wanted to be her."Minogue received negative comments that her Rhythm of Love tour in 1991 was too similar visually to Madonna's Blond Ambition World Tour of the previous year for which the critics labelled her a Madonna wannabe. Kathy McCabe for The Telegraph notes that Minogue and Madonna follow similar styles in music and fashion, and concludes, "Where they truly diverge on the pop-culture scale is in shock value. Minogue's clips might draw a gasp from some but Madonna's ignite religious and political debate unlike any other artist on the planet... Simply, Madonna is the dark force; Kylie is the light force." Rolling Stone comments that, with the exception of the U.S., Minogue is regarded throughout the world as "an icon to rival Madonna", and says, "Like Madonna, Minogue was not a virtuosic singer but a canny trend spotter." Minogue has said of Madonna, "Her huge influence on the world, in pop and fashion, meant that I wasn't immune to the trends she created. I admire Madonna greatly but in the beginning she made it difficult for artists like me, she had done everything there was to be done...", and "Madonna's the Queen of Pop, I'm the princess. I'm quite happy with that."
In January 2007 Madame Tussaud's in London unveiled its fourth waxwork of Minogue; only Queen Elizabeth II has had more models created. During the same week a bronze cast of her hands was added to Wembley Arena's "Square of Fame". On 23 November 2007, a bronze statue of Minogue was unveiled at Melbourne Docklands for permanent display.
In March 2010, Minogue was declared by researchers as the "most powerful celebrity in Britain". The study examined how marketers identify celebrity and brand partnerships. Mark Husak, head of Millward Brown's UK media practice, said: "Kylie is widely accepted as an adopted Brit. People know her, like her and she is surrounded by positive buzz".[