KYLIE Minogue is quite short.
You know this though, right? It’s not news.
Nevertheless, while not every interview mentions Minogue’s 27 years in the business, her 70 million record sales, 90 awards, 14 tours or 13 albums, it’s hard get away from the “pint sized pop princess” label.
Here at the Star Observer, we will not be comparing an artist, the most successful Australian female singer of her generation, to standard beer measures.
It was 27 years ago this very month that The Loco-Motion was released and the Melburnian started her journey away from a cul-de-sac at Vermont South to the world stage.
Minogue has traversed a winding musical road from poppet to rock chick and from sex kitten to respected music collaborator, most recently teaming with Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias and fellow Aussie singer/songwriter Sia on her new album Kiss Me Once.
Catching up with the modestly-sized megastar, she is recovering from an impromptu birthday dinner hosted by longtime friend, Scissor Sisters lead singer and homosexual par excellence Jake Shears.
“I don’t really like surprises, and I can normally sniff them out, but I had no idea,” she says.
2004’s I Believe in You was a result of the Shears partnership, but it’s the global god of feel-good funk, Pharrell Williams, who has worked with Minogue on her most recent album penning stand out track I Was Gonna Cancel.
Is working with a diverse range of people part of a quest to always find a new sound?
“It’s really tricky because you want to do something new, something a little left field but something [the audience are] comfortable with on the dance floor, doing the vacuuming or just listening to the radio,” Minogue says.
“So I just have to make a decision and believe in it and hope that enough people like it.”
The flagship single from the new album, Into The Blue includes the lyrics: “When I get my back up against the wall/Don’t need no-one to rescue me/Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle/Yeah tonight I’m running free.”
Is this an ode to not just Minogue’s career but also to her relationships, with her five-year liaison with Spanish model Andrés Velencoso ending last October?
“When I recorded the song I was still in a relationship and it doesn’t take a lot of time when life can change dramatically, so by the time that song was connecting with the public it really felt like it was destined to be a song about me,” she says.
So what about Sexercise, what part of her life does that reflect?
“Well that song isn’t my life at the moment,” Minogue says, laughing.
“It was a character that I was having fun with and wanted people to have a laugh and titillation.
“I hear it caused a bit of a ruckus which was also a bit of fun.”
When Kylie kicks off her Kiss Me Once tour in September she can be assured the gays will constitute a vast amount of the mosh pit.
How did the petit four of pop music manage to bewitch an entire sexuality?
“I don’t know and I kind of don’t want to know; do you really want to know how a magic trick happens?” she says.
“There’s the music, the flamboyant costumes. It was just meant to be.
“I love to look out over my audiences and see a big gay and lesbian section complete with muscle marys and drag queens next to grandmas and grandpops next to boys and girls.
“It seriously fills my heart with love.”
Certainly, Minogue pays more than lip service to the LGBTI community, having appeared at both the amFAR AIDS fundraiser and the GLAAD Awards in the last few months.
“The LGBTI community adopted me at a time where I was really successful but suffering at the hands of the press a fair bit, which still happens today sometimes,” she says.
Indeed it does, such as at this year’s Logie awards when claims emerged that many of her stage dancers hadn’t been paid.
It was not her responsibility, she insists, but it was her name that was put in the headlines.
“That just really put a dampener on everything,” she recalls.
“It was frustrating and I would hope people know me well enough to know that’s just not how I operate.
“I was kind of dragged into something but we remedied the situation and everyone was taken care of.”
The sales performance of Kiss Me Once has also provoked comment, with Minogue forced to deny rumours she was splitting with UK record company Parlophone.
Does she take the coverage to heart?
“I can’t lie,” she says, “it happens and just recently I thought I’ve been down this road before and I’m affected by it.
“But you just really need to dig deep and part of being an artist is having insecurities.”
Minogue says she doesn’t feel she needs to “prove anything anymore”. She also says she’s comforted by the fact she’s spoken to other artists who “never put a foot wrong” and is surprised to find they suffer from the same issues.
“You just have to get back on the horse,” she says.
Earlier this year, Minogue was again in the headlines, but this time for some truly heartbreaking news.
Speaking to Britain’s Sun newspaper, she revealed her posterior — which was made famous when it was clad in gold hotpants for the Spinning Aroundmusic video — was going into retirement: “In your 40s things tend to go south.”
The only thing spinning around now is her seat on The Voice Australia, but it’s a role she suits with Fairfax Media declaring her “smart and sincere,” not “dippy and cloying” like some former judges.
“It’s wild,” she says.
“Your mind is racing… You don’t want to be trigger happy but you also don’t want to miss out on anyone.”
Inevitably she has to reject contestants: “It’s difficult to be creative with different ways of saying no, that’s probably been one of my biggest lessons in the show.”
But with wall-to-wall Minogues on Australian reality shows, who’s the better judge of fresh talent? Her or Dannii?
“She would win hands down. She’s way more experienced,” Minogue says. Kylie, that is.
“She has more belief and confidence in me than I had and she thought that I would really enjoy the experience.
“And she was absolutely right.”
Minogue has to depart from our chat — there are more birthday celebrations to be had.
But the projects are piling up in Australia.
It has just been announced Minogue is to appear alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in San Andreas — a movie about a devastated coastal city where survivors desperately search for civilisation. It’s being filmed on the Gold Coast.
So don’t be surprised if, on the street, you bump into this soupcon of a chanteuse walking tall.
**This article first appeared in the July edition of Star Observer, of which Kylie Minogue was the cover girl. The August issue has just hit the stands in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra. Click here to find out where you can grab your free copy.