Heroes: Kylie Minogue Is An Unlikely Country Icon

Heroes: Kylie Minogue Is An Unlikely Country Icon

The longtime pop maven goes a little bit country.

The longtime pop maven goes a little bit country.

Text: Jake Viswanath

This interview appears in the pages of V113, The Music Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy of the issue today at shop.vmagazine.com

Kylie Minogue is a chameleon. Throughout her illustrious career, which spans nearly three decades and 13 studio albums, she is always re-inventing the wheel without ever losing the sparkling pop sheen or theatrical flair that’s made her beloved for this long. She’s been a perpetual musical force even amid personal hardships like her battle with breast cancer. Today, she continues to be open with admissions of struggle, which only serve to humanize her. “I had a bit of a crappy end to 2016,” she says. “You know when you just go, Alright, ok, that’s it? I just thought, I need to reclaim myself. I want to be true to myself.”

That M.O. has led Minogue down previously uncharted territory. Her new album, Golden, puts a twangy spin on electro-pop. The impetus? A trip to Nashville—and a few nudges from her A&R. The country influences are notable for a pop artist of her stature, but it’s what she says on the album that is most significant. Golden is her most emotional, self-reflective record to date; Minogue doesn’t hold back her deepest thoughts and fears. “Maybe I reached a point in my life where I just don’t have the time or energy to do stuff that doesn’t mean anything to me,” she explains. “It doesn’t mean I’m not gonna go out and have fun and do stupid things. I haven’t become super serious or anything, but I just want some fulfillment on my terms.”

Tracks like “Dancing” and “Live A Little” tackle the urgency of life and death more clearly than ever before, and turning 50 this year absolutely has something to do with it. “I think if I was 20 or 25 singing ‘Dancing,’ it just wouldn’t resonate that much,” she says. “But people know no matter what the road is that gets you to 50 years old, you’ve got stories to tell. You’ve got stuff to say, and people can believe you when you’re saying it.” The pop star draws on stories from her upbringing in the album. “Something like ‘Shelby ’68’ stems from my dad’s Mustang, which is a Shelby ’68, or as he’s now informed me, ‘Darling, we call it a ’68 Shelby,’” she laughs. “I was like, Oh fine! But Shelby ’68 sounds good.”

Now, Minogue is once again faced with the most exciting, challenging part of a new album release: touring, a task made even more interesting given her new sound. The pop star loves to put on a spectacle, but it makes sense for the Golden tour to focus on intimate connections. “You’ve got to have the right balance with shows. Important parts are normally where [it’s stripped down]. Singing ‘If You Don’t Love Me’ sitting on the steps of Aphrodite is when you really get those intimate moments.” That said, she also notes, “I’d love if you could hear a few thousand people stomping their feet or clapping, just break it down and make it the biggest barn dance you’ve ever been to.” There could be no better soundtrack than Golden.

Credits: Photography Ali Mahdavi

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