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In the late 1980s, the dynamite combination of the rising Aussie star and the powerhouse hit factory Stock Aitken and Waterman dominated the charts. In an extraordinarily candid interview, Waterman revealed he was not that impressed when he first met Kylie. Even more shockingly, he was convinced that he should have parted ways with her far earlier than he did. Even though Kylie was only signed to the PWL label for four years, Waterman said he should have ended the contract two years earlier.
An audio of the interview dropped online today on the Kylie Minogue: The Diminutive Collection podcast.
Pop journalist and former editor of OK and Attitude magazine Christian Guiltenane played the recording of his chat with the legendary producer, starting with Waterman’s hilarious description of his first reactions to Kylie.
At the time, in 1988, Stock Aitken and Waterman had already been riding high in the UK charts since 1984 after an avalanche of hits with stars like Rick Astley, Bananarama, Dead or Alive and Hazel Dean.
Famously, they had actually forgotten the then Aussie soap star was flying in to meet them and didn’t even have a song ready when she showed up at the studio. I Have Been So Lucky was written while she waited in a corridor outside.
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Waterman told Guiltenane: “I didn’t even know who Kylie Minogue was. It looks easy in hindsight, like I was a genius.
“We had a sort of inkling, but the week Kylie came in here we had four records in the Top 5, why would we do any more?
“A little Australian walks in who we’d never heard of from a soap opera and you go, ‘Christ, we haven’t got time for this.’”
Even when they realized Kylie was chart dynamite, Waterman said they had rejected the idea of a duet with her fellow Neighbours star Jason Donovan.
Waterman said: “I remember when we were asked to do a duet with Kylie and Jason and it was a no-no. It just smacked to us of commercialism. Of course it did.”
He added: “How stupid could the biggest pop producers in history be? But at the time we were trying to be cool. We had the hits, now we wanted to be cool.”
Especially For You, of course, did go ahead over Christmas 1988 and was another monster smash. It was followed by yet more hits for Kylie across four years and her four studio albums with the team: Kylie, Enjoy Yourself, Rhythm of Love and Let’s Get To It.
So why would anyone want to end such a successful partnership?
Waterman looks back on the split in typically blunt fashion during the interview, which took place in 2017 but has never been released until now.
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Waterman said: “I wish I had got rid of Kylie two years before. She was with us too long. She really killed the goose that laid the golden egg.
“She was too powerful. She took the creativity out of the team because we were focussed on her, not what was going on (in the music scene). You can’t blame her. She was making everyone a fortune, she had the right to call the shots.
‘We should have said to Kylie, ‘You know what, we should look for a new label for you.’ In the end, we said, ‘We can not carry this weight. It is too big for us. You need to be with a major record company that can give you this freedom and creativity.”
But, after all these years, would he ever work with her again?
In 1993, Kylie signed with Deconstruction Records and released the Kylie Minogue album with a more mature sound.
Since then, the star has been through numerous changes of label, look and music style.
Waterman said there was “no animosity” during her split with his team. So, what if Kylie had come back to Waterman and asked to work together again?
He said: “No, I wouldn’t do it, I would never produce Kylie again. It’s gone, the magic is gone. Kylie has moved on. Kylie is not the Kylie we knew when she was a kid… and that’s the way it should be.”
FULL INTERVIEW AT KYLIE MINOGUE: THE DIMINUTIVE PODCAST
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