Kylie Minogue's been at the top for five decades but still hears 'singing budgie' criticism ringing in her ears

DITCHING soap Neighbours for a career in pop, a 19-year-old Kylie Minogue could never have dreamed she would be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky).

But last month, latest record Disco made her the first woman with a No1 album in five consecutive decades.

Not bad for a girl who was described as a “singing budgie” by critics when she set out.

Kylie, 52, recently told Vogue magazine: “I’ve had more than my fair share of criticism of my voice over the years.

“And I’ve had the voices in my head knocking on my door, saying, ‘You can’t sing. She can’t sing!’.

But Kylie, who is set to appear on ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show tonight, has sold 80million records in 33 years.

And with eight No1 albums under her belt, she has overtaken the solo efforts of Elton John, Cliff Richard and George Michael in the all-time charts.

Yett despite her phenomenal success, Kylie admits she still sometimes hears those early negative voices.

She says: “A lot of it is to do with insecurity, so when naysayers are playing with your insecurities, that’s a difficult battle.

“I’ve had to really tell myself, ‘Wait, how are you being successful if they’re telling you that you can’t sing and your voice is not a valid voice?’.”

It is a typically down-to-earth comment from Kylie, whose girl-next-door appeal first made her a star.

As mechanic Charlene in Neighbours from 1986 to 1988, Kylie was an immediate fan favourite.

Her wedding to Scott Robinson, played by Kylie’s then real-life boyfriend Jason Donovan, was watched by nearly 20million viewers — 18million tuned in when Prince Harry married Meghan in 2018.

Record executives snapped her up soon after. But it was not until Kylie flew to London in 1987 to meet legendary producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman that a pop icon was born.

The songwriting trio had forgotten she was coming — so had to hurriedly write her first UK hit, I Should Be So Lucky, in 40 minutes while she waited outside the door.

With her sugar-sweet vocals, bouncy perm and easy charm, Kylie took the song to No1 across the globe.

Over the following decades she continued to score hit after hit — while reinventing herself from squeaky clean Charlene to a bona fide sex kitten.

She channelled gothic indie for Where The Wild Roses Grow, her 1995 duet with Nick Cave, before the perfect pop of 2000’s Spinning Around and 2001’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.

There have been Hollywood roles too, including in 1994’s Street Fighter and 2001’s Moulin Rouge!.

And in March this year she was named “most powerful celebrity in Britain” by research company Millward Brown.

Her 2001 album Fever proved her career peak to date, topping the charts in more than 40 countries.

Now her latest album Disco sees a return to her feelgood roots, with dancefloor bangers that echo childhood favourites from Donna Summer, Abba and the Bee Gees.

Kylie by numbers

40 MINUTES time taken by producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman to write smash hit I Should Be So Lucky

8 UK No1 albums

80million records sold

3rd bestselling female artist in the UK

£75m net worth

7 UK No1 singles

5 weeks time spent at No1 by Kylie’s longest- reigning chart topper, I Should Be So Lucky

4 different Kylie waxworks at Madame Tussauds

20m number of viewers who watched Charlene wed Scott on Neighbours in November 1988

Of the album, she says: “I will always come back to this lane — the pop-dance lane.”

Her previous album, country-inspired Golden, was released just after her very public break-up with actor Joshua Sasse, 32.

Kylie describes the split as, “A very relatable tail-between-the-legs moment”.

That heartbreak was the latest in a long list. It includes the end of a five-year relationship with model Andres Velencoso, 42, because of “conflicting work schedules” and her split from actor Olivier Martinez, 54, who was rumoured to have cheated, a claim Kylie denies.

Other high-profile ex-boyfriends include model James Gooding, 46, French actor Stephane Sednaoui, 57, and singer Lenny Kravitz, 56.

Before that was her relationship with Michael Hutchence of INXS, who died aged 37 in 1997.

It was for him she dumped Neighbours boyfriend Jason Donovan by phone.

But it seems she may now have finally found The One in Paul Solomons, 43, creative director for GQ magazine, who she has been dating for two years.

Kylie said: “He is so nice. He is such a good support. We have a laugh. We have both been through enough in our lives and just met at the right time, so it’s lovely.”

Last year she headlined Glastonbury’s legend slot, 14 years after breast cancer forced her to cancel her Pyramid stage headline act.

Her set became the most-watched Glastonbury performance on TV, beating the previous record set by Ed Sheeran.

Admitting she was “so nervous beforehand I couldn’t speak”, Kylie was astonished by the “huge wave of love from the audience”.

She added: “What it actually felt like was this massive acknowledgement of me as a performer. And for the first time in my life I accepted that and just cried.”

It may have taken her some time to realise it, but fans have adored her for decades.

Superfan and Sun Executive Editor Dan Wootton said: “Kylie endures so long because she is an understated pop star who adores her fans, knows what they want and takes them along with her for every reinvention.”

While she might not be a risk-taker or revolutionary like Madonna or Lady Gaga, Kylie has moved with the times while staying true to herself.

She is a relatable star who knows what makes a perfect pop song. And while she does not chase controversy, she stands up for the causes she believes in.

She backed a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia, saying she and then-fiancé Jason Sasse would not get married until everyone had the same rights.

It is one of the many reasons she is adored by the LGBTQ community.

Singer Rufus Wainwright, 47, said: “Kylie is what she is and there is no attempt to make quasi-intellectual statements to substantiate it. She is the gay shorthand for joy.”

And joy is what Kylie always delivers.

She is an ordinary girl from the Melbourne suburbs who became an extraordinary diva, without sacrificing herself in the process.

It is a magical equation — and one that could keep producing hits for many decades to come.

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