Kylie Ann Minogue
Kylie Ann Minogue (born
May 28, 1968) is an Australian singer and actress who has been based
primarily in the United Kingdom since the early 1990s.
Her recording career has been marked by periods of outstanding
success and comparative failure. Despite criticism, particularly in
the early stages of her career, she has evolved her musical and
visual style to attain longevity in the competitive field of pop
music. As she has matured from a teenager into an adult, she has
become one of her generation's most recognizable celebrities and sex
In many parts of the world, she is known simply as Kylie.
Early life and
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Minogue is the eldest of three
children. Her sister Dannii Minogue is also a pop singer. Her
brother, Brendan, is a camera man. Minogue first came to attention
as a child actor in Australian soap operas, making her acting debut
at the age of 11. She appeared in "Skyways", Young Talent Time, The
Sullivans and The Henderson Kids, before rising to prominence in
1986 with her role in the Australian soap opera Neighbors.
On Neighbors, Minogue
played the character of Charlene Mitchell, a tomboy who rebelled at
every opportunity, and who fell in love with the boy next door,
Scott Robinson, played by Jason Donovan (who she worked with as a
child on "Skyways"). The storylines featuring the young couple
proved popular with viewers, and both Minogue and Donovan were drawn
into the public spotlight, becoming recognisable celebrities for the
first time in their respective careers. A record audience watched
the episode featuring Scott and Charlene's wedding in 1987.
Minogue's personal popularity in Australia eclipsed that of other
cast members, and to a degree that of the program itself. She was
the recipient of a Gold Logie Award, as the nation's most popular
television performer, with the result determined by public vote. The
program began screening in the United Kingdom in 1987 and was highly
successful. As in Australia, Minogue was considered to be one of the
program's most popular and charismatic performers. She left the
series in 1988 to concentrate on her music career.
During a charity event with other Neighbours cast members, Minogue
performed Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion" and was signed to a
recording contract with Mushroom Records in 1987. Released as a
single, and retitled "Locomotion", the song spent seven weeks at
number one on the Australian music charts, and was the year's
highest selling single. Its success resulted in Minogue travelling
to London to work with production team Stock, Aitken & Waterman. Her
first album "Kylie", a collection of dance songs, reached number one
on the British albums charts, and was the year's highest selling and
sold over 7 million copies worldwide. It contained six hit singles
including "I Should Be So Lucky", and a new version of "The
Loco-Motion". The United States was the only major record market in
which this album did not sell strongly. Although "The Loco-Motion"
reached number three on the US Billboard Magazine Chart, she failed
to make a firm impression on the American record buying market. A
duet with Jason Donovan titled "Especially For You" was a major hit
in Britain in early 1989.
Her follow up album, Enjoy Yourself (1989), continued in the style
of its predecessor, and with several hit singles, became another
success in the United Kingdom and Australia. Critics who were
confounded by her first success, became hostile in light of her
second album and began to discuss her limitations as a performer.
One critic named her "The Singing Budgie", a name that stuck for
several years. By this time she had become Stock, Aitken &
Waterman's highest selling act, and its first priority. In the face
of widespread criticism it was decided to adjust the overall style
of Minogue's music.
Her next album, Rhythm of Love (1990), marked a departure from the
bubblegum music of her previous albums, and attempted a more
sophisticated and adult style of dance music. It also marked the
first signs of rebellion against her production team and the
carefully crafted "girl-next-door" image they had designed for her.
Determined to be accepted by a more mature audience, Minogue took
control of her music videos for the first time, and presented
herself as a sexually aware adult. A concurrent romance with INXS
lead singer Michael Hutchence futhered Minogue's attempts to gain
acceptance as a mature performer, with Hutchence stating in an
interview that his favorite hobby was "corrupting Kylie".
The single releases all sold well, and were also successful in the
UK nightclubs, where they were accepted by the older audience
Minogue had deliberately targeted. When the album's fourth single,
"Shocked", reached the British Top 10 in 1991, Minogue became the
first recording artist to place their first 13 single releases in
the Top 10.
After the success of Rhythm of Love, which had received generally
positive reviews, her next album Let's Get To It (1991), was
designed to broaden Minogue's appeal. Stock, Aitken & Waterman
provided her with a diverse range of ballads and slower dance songs,
but it did not receive strong reviews. The first single, "Word Is
Out" became her first single to peak outside of the British Top 10,
and the album did not sell well. In Australia, her popularity of the
previous years was followed by a backlash, and the Australian public
appeared to have grown indifferent to her. Her media supporters
described her as a victim of tall poppy syndrome.
Her career was briefly revived by the release of a Greatest Hits
album in 1992. It contained all of her hit singles, as well as three
new recordings, and reached number one in the UK. The album's
release coincided with her departure from Stock, Aitken & Waterman.
Her final single releases with them, "What Kind Of Fool (Heard All
That Before)" and "Celebration", were only minor successes.
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 first album released, the self titled Kylie Minogue
(1994), received mixed reviews. Collaborations with such established
and successful dance artists as Pet Shop Boys and M People
disappointed both critics and record buyers alike. The album was a
moderate success, selling over 1 million copies, but only achieved
one hit single of note, "Confide In Me", which sold 2 million copies
worldwide and stayed at number 1 on the Australian charts for 5
weeks. The other two singles, "Where Is The Feeling" and "Put
Yourself In my Place", failed to make the top ten. The media, which
had earlier triumphed Minogue's departure from Stock, Aitken &
Waterman, now began to predict the end of her career.
A 1995 duet with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds titled "Where The Wild
Roses Grow" resulted in widespread acclaim in Europe (entering the
top 10 in the European charts) and Australia, where the single won
the ARIA Award for "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Release". A
brooding ballad whose lyrics narrated a murder from the points of
view of both the murderer (Cave), and his victim (Minogue), the song
demonstrated that Minogue could be accepted outside of her
established genre as a dance artist. She even appeared and performed
the single with Nick Cave at the Australian summer rock festival,
"The Big Day Out". Her next album Impossible Princess (1997)
featured collaborations with such highly regarded musicians as Manic
Street Preachers, and saw Minogue participating more in the
songwriting process. The album became the lowest selling of her
career in the United Kingdom, although many critics wrote positively
of her attempt to develop as an artist. The album was her most
successful release in Australia since her debut album, with sales
boosted by a highly successful live tour.
Minogue and Deconstruction Records parted company shortly after, and
two years later she signed with Parlophone. Her album Light Years
(2000) was strongly flavoured with 1970s disco, and was knowingly
kitsch. It received the best reviews of her career and quickly
became a success throughout Europe, Asia and Australia, selling over
2 million copies worldwide. The single "Spinning Around" became her
first British number one in 10 years, with its accompanying video,
featuring Minogue in revealing gold hot pants, receiving widespread
television airplay. The subsequent single releases, including the
duet "Kids" with Robbie Williams, also sold strongly.
Minogue played to the biggest audience of her career at the 2000
Sydney Olympics, where she performed a cover version of the ABBA hit
"Dancing Queen" and her then-current single, "On A Night Like This".
The following year she released the album Fever. It also received
positive reviews although many reviewers commented that it was not
as consistently appealing as Light Years. Its musical style retained
some disco elements and combined them with 1980s electropop. The
first single, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", spent four weeks at
number one in the United Kingdom, reached number one in most
European countries, and also in Australia. The single "Can't Get You
Out Of My Head" hit the number one spot in over 40 countries and was
also number 1 for 11 weeks on the world chart, number for 1 for 16
weeks on the European chart and sold over 4 million copies
worldwide. The single became the biggest selling single of 2001 and
was the best seller and one of the best sellers in many countries.
The album's success was equally widespread, and for the first time
since 1988, American radio stations gave her extensive airplay. The
album debuted on the American Billboard chart at number 3, and the
single reached number 7. Further singles were substantial hits
throughout the world, and Minogue established a presence in the
mainstream American market, achieved particular success in the
American club scene. The album's three other singles, "In Your
Eyes", "Love At First Sight" and "Come Into My World" were also big
hits worldwide. The album sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
Her credibility as a recording artist was enhanced by winning a Best
Dance Recording Grammy in 2004 for the single "Come Into My World",
against fellow nominees Madonna, Cher, Groove Armada and
Télépopmusik. She had previously been nominated in the same category
in 2003 for "Love At First Sight".
Her next album Body Language (2003) dispensed with the disco style,
and included elements of hip hop. Sales in the United Kingdom and
Australia were relatively low, despite the success of its first
single, the uncharacteristically subdued "Slow". In the United
States the album made little impression, although the singles became
major club hits. To date, she has sold over 40 million singles and
over 25 million albums and has had a number 1 hit in over 45
Minogue released her second official greatest hits album on November
22, 2004, entitled Ultimate Kylie. The album features her next
single "I Believe in You", co-written with Jake Shears and Baby daddy
from the Scissor Sisters.
Image and celebrity status:
Like most recording artists of her era, Minogue has utilised the
medium of the music video as the most effective way of promoting her
image, and has consistently worked at creating and evolving her
visual representation. Her earliest videos portrayed her as a
"girl-next-door" who was innocent and slightly gauche. When she took
control of her portrayal in 1990, she quickly developed a more
adult, slightly raunchier image, which caused her to be compared
unfavourably to Madonna. Minogue admitted that she was an influence,
but as her confidence grew she established a persona that differed
considerably from that of Madonna. Unlike Madonna, Minogue has
rarely portrayed herself as a sexual aggressor. Instead she presents
herself as a more passive object of desire, and frequently imbues
her performances with camp elements and humour. She has occasionally
satirised herself, most notably in the video for "Did It Again", in
which the four major incarnations of Minogue's career, "Cute Kylie",
"Dance Kylie", "Sex Kylie" and "Indie Kylie" battled for supremacy,
with "Sex Kylie" fittingly as the ultimate victor. Her videos have
touched on adult themes – an interracial relationship in "Better The
Devil You Know", lesbian posturing in "What Do I Have To Do", and
telephone sex in "Confide In Me". She performed a slow strip tease
in the Barbarella inspired "Put Yourself In My Place", and wore
revealing costumes in the majority of her videos, most notably those
for "Spinning Around" and "Can't Get You Out Of My Head". Her more
recent videos have shown vintage (70s, 80s, and earlier) influences
similar to those of her recent music.
These efforts caused elements of the British press to label her
SexKylie. She has created her own LoveKylie range of lingerie, and
her saucy calendars have been consistently high sellers throughout
much of her career. Despite the success of this marketing strategy,
and her acceptance by a large audience as a contemporary sex symbol,
her critics maintained that her willingness to display her body was
an attempt to disguise her lack of talent, and although Minogue
accepted these criticisms throughout her career with little public
comment, she announced in 2003 that she would present herself more
demurely in future. She also stated that this was a result of what
she describes as an unplanned incident at the 2003 Brit Awards.
During a duet performance with Justin Timberlake, he crudely grabbed
her bottom. Minogue said the incident embarrassed her, and caused
her to question the public perception of her as a sex object, a
perception she admitted she had created.
Throughout her career, Minogue has been the subject of intense media
interest in both the United Kingdom and Australia, which has
remained consistent even while her success as a recording artist
fluctuated. Her relationships, including her current relationship
with French actor, Olivier Martinez, have been extensively reported.
Early in her career, Minogue became a gay icon. While part of her
appeal lies in her flamboyant costumes, her humour and sense of fun,
and her confident sexual posturing, she has also consistently
acknowledged the gay community throughout the world, not only by her
willingness to perform at gay venues and at gay events, but also by
her outspoken commitment to raising social awareness and acceptance
towards people living with AIDS.
As she has matured, she has been accepted by a wider audience than
simply that of her record buying fans, particularly in Australia,
where her profile has been used to promote issues such as recycling
projects through Planet Ark, as well as a campaign to raise public
awareness about domestic violence and a kids' helpline.
Minogue's film career has not taken the typical path of a successful
singer attempting to broaden his or her appeal. Her career in pop
music was only possible as a result of her high profile as a
television actress. Her film roles have been few, and have generally
resulted from her high profile as a pop singer.
In 1989, she starred in The Delinquents, which told the story of a
young girl growing up in the Australia of the late 1950s. Its
release coincided with her popularity in Neighbours, and while both
the film and Minogue's performance were the subject of derisive
comments by critics, the film was a commercial success.
In 1994 she played Cammy in the action film Street Fighter, based on
the videogame series of the same name. The film received poor
reviews, was panned by fans of the series and moviegoers alike, and
did nothing to further Minogue's acting career.
In Moulin Rouge! (2001) she played the part of Absinthe, the Green
Fairy, singing a line from The Sound of Music. This cameo remains
her most widely seen film performance.
In 2004 she will provide the voice of Florence in a new film based
on The Magic Roundabout.
She has also had smaller roles in Australian horror flick "Cut" 2000
and "Bio Dome" 1996 as well as another Australian film "Sample
Enjoy Yourself (1989)
Rhythm of Love (1990)
Let's Get To It (1991)
Greatest Hits (1992)
Kylie Minogue (1994)
Impossible Princess (1998) (originally released as Kylie Minogue in
Intimate and Live (1999)
Light Years (2000)
Confide In Me (2001)
Greatest Hits 1987-1997 (2003)
Body Language (2003)
Ultimate Kylie (2004)
Minogue has achieved 9 number one singles – more than any other
Australian recording artist.
Minogue has cited Olivia Newton-John as her first major influence.
She recorded a cover version of Newton-John's hit "Physical" for the
Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, however the song was not included. It can
be found as a bonus track on the Australian tour edition of "Light
Years" and she performed it during the tour of the same name.
Early in her recording career, Madonna became her acknowledged role
model. Madonna returned the compliment by wearing a "Kylie Minogue"
shirt during a performance at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards. In
the United Kingdom, Minogue and Madonna are the only female artists
to achieve number one singles in the 1980s, the 1990s and 2000s.
Madonna is the only female performer to surpass Minogue's (As of
2004) tally of 27 British Top 10 singles. Madonna also sent Minogue
a demo song to record called "Alone Again" that she co-wrote with
Rick Nowels. Minogue's version however remains unreleased. See
Unreleased Madonna songs.
In 1995, Minogue recited the lyrics to one of her biggest hits "I
Should Be So Lucky" as poetry in London's Royal Albert Hall "Poetry
Jam", at the suggestion of Nick Cave.
Minogue's Madame Tussaud's waxwork has been regularly updated to
represent her changing image. In 2002, a figure of Minogue wearing
lingerie and in a provocative pose, attracted both praise and
condemnation, but became one of Tussaud's most discussed figures.
The success of her single "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" was
enhanced when Minogue performed an unauthorised version of the song,
which blended it with the music track of New Order's "Blue Monday",
at the Brit Awards. Its popularity led to an authorised version
being recorded and released as the "B" side for her single "Love At
Minogue's portrait hangs in the National Gallery of Australia in
Minogue has been featured on an Australian postage stamp.
Paul Morley's study of the evolution of pop music, Words And Music:
A History Of Pop In The Shape Of A City, employs Minogue as the
vehicle by which pop is explored.
Minogue now has her own line of lingerie available in Australia and
the UK called "Love Kylie".
In 2002, Q magazine named Minogue in their list of the "50 Bands To
See Before You Die".