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Kylie Minogue

Kylie Ann Minogue, OBE, born 28 May 1968, is an Australian pop singer-songwriter and occasional actress. She rose to prominence in the late 1980s through her role in the Australian television soap opera Neighbours, before commencing her career as a recording artist in 1987.

Signed to a contract by British songwriters and producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman in 1988, she achieved a string of hit records throughout the world. Her popularity waned during the early 1990s, leading her to part company from Stock, Aitken & Waterman in 1992. During the mid to late 90s, Minogue distanced herself from her earlier work and attempted to establish herself as a credible and independent performer and songwriter. Her projects were widely publicised, but her albums failed to attract a substantial audience and resulted in the lowest sales of her career at the time. She returned to popularity as a pop artist in 2000, and became well-known for her elaborate music videos and expensively mounted stage shows. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Minogue returned to performing and recording in late 2006 after a period of convalescence.

Although she was dismissed by some critics during her early career, she has achieved longevity as a pop music artist. She has sold in excess of 60 million records, and has achieved her greatest successes in Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. She was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to music.

Childhood and beginnings of a music career

Kylie Minogue was born in Melbourne, Australia, the first child of Ron Minogue, an accountant of Irish people ancestry and Carol Jones, a former dancer from Maesteg, Wales. Her sister, Dannii, is also a pop singer, and her brother, Brendan, works as a news cameraman in Australia.

The Minogue sisters began their careers as children on Australian television, and from the age of twelve, Kylie appeared in small roles in soap operas such as The Sullivans and Skyways, before being cast in one of the lead roles in The Henderson Kids. She gave her first singing performance in 1983, on the weekly music programme Young Talent Time which featured Dannii as a regular performer. Dannii's success in this program overshadowed Kylie's acting achievements, until Kylie was cast in the soap opera Neighbours in 1986.

In Neighbours Minogue played the character of Charlene Mitchell, a female garage mechanic. As stated in The Guardian, "Her appeal at first lay in her unapologetic ordinariness... she played an oil-smudged mechanic with no desire to better herself. Charlene was happy to spend her life grappling with the intestines of greasy cars. A story arc that created a romance and eventual marriage between her character and that played by Jason Donovan culminated in a wedding episode in 1987 that attracted an audience of 20 million viewers.

Her popularity in Australia was demonstrated when she became the first person to win four Logie Awards in one event, including the "Gold Logie" as the country's "Most Popular Television Performer", with the result determined by public vote.

Recording and performing career

Stock, Aitken and Waterman: 1987–1992

During a Fitzroy Football Club benefit concert with other Neighbours cast members, Minogue performed "Locomotion" and was signed to a recording contract with Mushroom Records in 1987. Released as a single, and retitled "The Loco-Motion", the Australian recording spent seven weeks at number one on the Australian music charts, and was the highest-selling single in Australia for the 1980s. Its success resulted in Minogue traveling to London with Mushroom Records executive Gary Ashley to work with Stock, Aitken & Waterman. They knew little of Minogue and had forgotten that she was arriving; as a result, they wrote "I Should Be So Lucky" while she waited outside the studio. The song reached number one in the UK and Australia and was a hit in many parts of the world. Her debut album Kylie, a collection of dance-oriented pop tunes spent more than a year on the British album charts, including several weeks at number one. It sold over seven million copies worldwide, with most sales occurring in Europe and Asia, and it contained six successful singles. In the United States and Canada, the album did not sell strongly, however the re-recorded version of "The Loco-Motion" reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number one on the Canadian Singles Chart. "It's No Secret", released only in the U.S., peaked at number thirty-seven in early 1989, and "Turn It Into Love" was released as a single in Japan, where it reached number one. In late 1988 Minogue left Neighbours to concentrate fully on her music career. Jason Donovan commented "When viewers watched her on screen they no longer saw Charlene the local mechanic, they saw Kylie the pop star."

A duet with Donovan, titled "Especially for You", sold over one million copies in the UK in early 1989. The critic Kevin Killian wrote that it was "majestically awful... makes the Diana Ross, Lionel Richie "Endless Love" sound like Mahler. She was sometimes referred to as "the Singing Budgie" by her detractors over the coming years, however Chris True's comment about the album Kylie for Allmusic suggests that Minogue's appeal transcended the limitations of her music, by noting that "her cuteness makes these rather vapid tracks bearable. Her follow up album Enjoy Yourself (1989) was a success in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia, and contained several successful singles (including the UK number one "Hand on Your Heart"), but it failed throughout North America, and Minogue was dropped by her American record label Geffen Records. She embarked on her first concert tour, the Enjoy Yourself Tour, in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia, where Melbourne's The Herald Sun wrote that it was "time to ditch the snobbery and face facts — the kid's a star. Rhythm of Love (1990) presented a more sophisticated and adult style of dance music and also marked the first signs of Minogue's rebellion against her production team and the "girl-next-door" image. Determined to be accepted by a more mature audience, Minogue took control of her music videos, starting with "Better the Devil You Know", and presented herself as a sexually aware adult. Pete Waterman reflected that the song was a milestone in her career and that it made her "the hottest, hippest dance act on the scene and nobody could knock it as it was the best dance record around at the time."

The singles from Rhythm of Love sold well in Europe and Australia and were popular in British nightclubs. When "Shocked" reached the British Top 10 in 1991, she became the first recording artist to place their first thirteen single releases in the Top 10. In May 1990, Minogue performed her band's arrangement of The Beatles's "Help!" before a crowd of 25,000 at the John Lennon: The Tribute Concert on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool. Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon offered Minogue their thanks for her support of The John Lennon Fund, while the media commented positively on her performance. The Sun wrote "The soap star wows the Scousers — Kylie Minogue deserved her applause".

After recording a fourth album, Let's Get to It (1991), Minogue had fulfilled the requirements of her contract and elected not to renew it. She had often expressed the viewpoint that she was stifled by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, and later compared the experience to her time with Neighbours, saying all they required her to do was "learn your lines... perform your lines, no time for questions, promote the product".

Deconstruction: 1993–1998

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 eponymous Kylie Minogue (1994) received mixed reviews. It sold well in Europe and Australia, where the single "Confide in Me" spent five weeks at number one. Subsequent singles, "Put Yourself in My Place" and "Where Is the Feeling?" were top twenty hits in the UK.

The music video for "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (1995) (left) was inspired by John Everett Millais' Ophelia (1851/52) (right).

Australian artist Nick Cave had been interested in working with Minogue since hearing "Better the Devil You Know", saying it contained "one of pop music's most violent and distressing lyrics" and "when Kylie Minogue sings these words, there is an innocence to her that makes the horror of this chilling lyric all the more compelling". They collaborated on "Where the Wild Roses Grow" (1995), a brooding ballad whose lyrics narrated a murder from the points of view of both the murderer (Cave), and his victim (Minogue), and its success demonstrated that Minogue could be accepted outside of her established genre as a pop artist. It received widespread attention in Europe, where it reached the top 10 in several countries, and acclaim in Australia where it reached number two, and won ARIA Awards for "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Release". Following concert appearances with Cave, Minogue recited the lyrics to "I Should Be So Lucky" as poetry in London's Royal Albert Hall "Poetry Jam", at the suggestion of Cave, and later credited him with giving her the confidence to express herself artistically, saying: "He taught me to never veer too far from who I am, but to go further, try different things, and never lose sight of myself at the core. For me, the hard part was unleashing the core of myself and being totally truthful in my music".

In 1997, French photographer Stephane Sednaoui described Minogue as a combination of "geisha and manga superheroine". He began taking photographs of her that downplayed her glamour, with the aim of attracting a more diverse audience, and she drew inspiration from artists such as Shirley Manson and Garbage, Björk, Tricky and U2, and Japanese pop musicians such as Pizzicato Five and Towa Tei, with whom she would later collaborate on the singles "GBI: German Bold Italic" and "Sometime Samurai".

Impossible Princess, named after a poetry collection by artist Billy Childish, featured collaborations with musicians such as James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore of the Manic Street Preachers. Largely a dance album, its style was not represented by its first single "Some Kind of Bliss", and Minogue countered questions that she was trying to become an indie artist. She told Music Week, "I have to keep telling people that this isn't an indie-guitar album. I'm not about to pick up a guitar and rock. Billboard magazine described the album as "stunning" and concluded that "it's a golden commercial opportunity for a major [record company] with vision and energy [to release it in the United States]. A sharp ear will detect a kinship between Impossible Princess and Madonna's hugely successful album, Ray of Light". In the UK, Music Week gave a negative assessment, commenting that "Kylie's vocals take on a stroppy edge ... but not strong enough to do much".

Retitled Kylie Minogue in the UK following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, it became the lowest selling album of her career. In Australia, Impossible Princess became her highest selling album since Kylie in 1988, with sales boosted by a highly successful live tour. In reviewing her show, The Times wrote of her ability to "mask her thin, often nondescript voice with musical diversity and brittle charisma and genuinely great pop songs by any standard", and a live album recorded during her tour, titled Intimate and Live, was successful in Australia.

She maintained her high profile in Australia with live performances, including the 1998 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney in 1999, where she performed Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", and a Christmas concert in Dili, East Timor in association with the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces.

Parlophone and middle career: 1999–2005

Minogue and Deconstruction Records parted company and following a duet with the Pet Shop Boys' on their Nightlife album, she signed with Parlophone in April 1999. Her album Light Years (2000) was strongly influenced by 1970s disco artists, such as Donna Summer and Village People and included several songs written by Guy Chambers and Robbie Williams who imbued their lyrics with humour. New Musical Express wrote: "Kylie's capacity for reinvention is staggering" and summarised the album as "sheer joy" and "what she does best". It generated strong reviews for Minogue and quickly became a success throughout Asia, Australia and Europe, selling over two million copies worldwide. The single "Spinning Around" became her first UK number one in ten years, and its accompanying video, which featured Minogue in revealing gold hot pants, received widespread television airplay. "Kids", a duet with Robbie Williams, was also a subtantial hit, peaking at number two in the UK.

In 2000 Minogue performed a cover version of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" and her single "On a Night like This" at the 2000 Sydney Olympics closing ceremony, an event watched by an estimated 2.1 billion people in 220 countries. Afterwards, she embarked upon a concert tour, On A Night like This Tour, which played to sell-out crowds in Australia and the United Kingdom. Her ticket sales in Australia exceeded 200,000 and set a record for a female artist. Her six initial planned shows were increased to twenty-two due to public demand. Minogue was inspired by the style of Broadway shows such as 42nd Street and films such as Anchors Aweigh, South Pacific and the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals of the 1930s. Describing Bette Midler as a "heroine", she also incorporated some of the "camp and burlesque" elements of Midler's live performances. The show featured elaborate sets, and Minogue was praised for her new material and her reinterpretations of some of her greatest successes, turning "I Should Be So Lucky" into a torch song and "Better the Devil You Know" into a 1940s big band number. She won a "Mo Award" for Australian live entertainment as "Performer of the Year". Following the tour she was asked by a Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalist what she thought was her greatest strength, and replied, "That I am an all-rounder. If I was to choose any one element of what I do, I don't know if I would excel at any one of them. But put all of them together, and I know what I'm doing."

Fever, released in 2001, retained some disco elements and combined them with 1980s electropop. It reached number one in Australia, the UK, and throughout Europe, eventually achieving worldwide sales in excess of 6 million. Its lead single "Can't Get You out of My Head" became the biggest success of her career, reaching number one in over twenty countries.

Following extensive airplay by North American radio, Capitol Records released it in the United States in 2002. The album debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart at number three, and the single reached number seven on the Hot 100.

The subsequent singles "In Your Eyes", "Love at First Sight" and "Come into My World" were substantial successes throughout the world, and Minogue established a presence in the mainstream North American market, achieving particular success on the club scene. In 2003 she received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Dance Recording" for "Love at First Sight", and the following year won the same award for "Come into My World".

Minogue's former stylist and creative director William Baker explained that the music videos for the Fever album were inspired by science fiction films—specifically those by Stanley Kubrick—and accentuated the electropop elements of the music by using dancers in the style of Kraftwerk. Alan MacDonald, the designer of the 2002 KylieFever tour, brought those elements into the stage show which drew inspiration from Minogue's past incarnations. The show opened with Minogue as a space age vamp, which she described as "Queen of Metropolis with her drones", through to scenes inspired by Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, followed by the various personas of Minogue's career. Minogue said that she was finally able to express herself the way she wanted, and that she had always been "a showgirl at heart".

Her next album, Body Language (2003), was released following an invitation-only concert, titled Money Can't Buy, at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. The event marked the presentation of a new visual style, designed by Minogue and Baker, inspired in part by Brigitte Bardot, about whom Minogue commented: "I just tended to think of BB as, well, she's a sexpot, isn't she? She's one of the greatest pinups. But she was fairly radical in her own way at that time. And we chose to reference the period, which was ... a perfect blend of coquette and rock and roll.

The show attracted mixed reviews, with the main criticisms being that nothing substantially new was presented, and that the new songs did not match the appeal of her previous hits. Despite this, the concert was made into a successful television special that drew high ratings.

The album downplayed the disco style and Minogue said she was inspired by 1980s artists such as Scritti Politti, Human League, Adam and the Ants and Prince, blending their styles with elements of hip hop. It received positive reviews with Billboard Magazine writing of "Minogue's knack for picking great songs and producers". All Music described it as "a near perfect pop record... Body Language is what happens when a dance-pop diva takes the high road and focuses on what's important instead of trying to shock herself into continued relevance". Sales of Body Language were lower than anticipated after the success of Fever, though the first single, "Slow", was a UK number-one hit. After reaching number one on the US club chart, "Slow" received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Dance Recording category.

Minogue released her second official greatest hits album in November 2004, entitled Ultimate Kylie, along with her music videos on a DVD compilation of the same title. The album introduced her singles "I Believe in You", co-written with Jake Shears and Babydaddy from the Scissor Sisters, and "Giving You Up". Both songs reached the British top ten, and with a tally of twenty-nine top ten singles, Minogue became the second most successful woman on the British singles charts, behind Madonna. "I Believe in You" reached the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play top three, and Minogue was nominated for a Grammy Award for the fourth consecutive year when the song was nominated in the category of "Best Dance Recording".

Early in 2005, "Kylie : the Exhibition" opened in Melbourne. The free exhibition featured costumes and photographs spanning Minogue's career and went on to tour Australian capital cities receiving over 300,000 visitors. It was then exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in February 2007.

Minogue commenced her Showgirl - The Greatest Hits Tour, which was intended to be the most extensive of her career, and anticipated a total audience of more than 700,000. The show was a success in the United Kingdom, however shortly after Minogue arrived in Melbourne to begin the Australian shows, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Return: 2006–present

In November 2006, Minogue resumed her Showgirl - Homecoming Tour with a performance in Sydney. She had told journalists prior to the concert that she would be highly emotional, and she cried before dedicating the song "Especially for You" to her father, a survivor of prostate cancer. Although her dance routines had been reworked to accommodate her medical condition, and slower costume changes and longer breaks being introduced between sections of the show to conserve her strength, the media reported that Minogue performed energetically, with the Sydney Morning Herald describing the show as an "extravaganza" and "nothing less than a triumph".

The following night, Minogue was joined by Bono, who was in Australia as part of U2's Vertigo tour, for the duet "Kids", but Minogue was forced to cancel a subsequent planned appearance at U2's show, because of exhaustion. During her last two shows, she was joined on stage by sister Dannii Minogue for the duet, their first performance together since the late 1980s. Minogue's shows throughout Australia continued to draw positive reviews, and after spending Christmas with her family, she resumed the European leg of her tour with six sold-out shows in Wembley Arena, before taking her tour to Manchester for a further six shows. On 31 December 2006, she saw in the new year with an extra sell-out show at London's Wembley Arena, where she was supported by ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again.

Minogue released X, her tenth studio album and much-discussed "comeback" album, in November 2007. The electro-styled album included contributions from Guy Chambers, Cathy Dennis , Bloodshy & Avant and Calvin Harris. For the overarching visual look of X, including the music video for first single "2 Hearts", Minogue and William Baker developed a combination of the style of Kabuki theatre and the aesthetics originating from London danceclubs including BoomBox. The album was criticised for its subject matter in light of Minogue's experiences with breast cancer; she responded by highlighting the album's personal nature in comparison to her previous few albums, and saying "My conclusion is that if I'd done an album of personal songs it'd be seen as Impossible Princess 2 and be equally critiqued." She later said, "In retrospect we could definitely have bettered it [the album], I'll say that straight up. Given the time we had, it is what it is. I had a lot of fun doing it."

In Australia and the UK, X initially attracted lukewarm sales, which were attributed to the single "2 Hearts", although its commercial performance eventually improved. In the U.S., where X was released in April 2008, it debuted outside the top 100 on the albums chart despite some promotion. Critics blamed the low sales on the choice of the single, "All I See", which was not tested in Britain, where Minogue has had much success. Minogue called the U.S. market "notoriously difficult [...] You have so many denominations with radio. To know where I fit within that market is sometimes difficult", though she did not rule out the possibility of returning to promote her music there.

In December 2007, Minogue participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway with a variety of artists, and later performed on The X Factor final with the eventual winner, Leon Jackson, whose mentor was Dannii Minogue. From May 2008, Minogue promoted X with a European tour, KYLIEX2008, which is her most expensive tour to date with production costs of £10 million. Although she described the rehearsals as "grim" and the set list went through several overhauls, the tour was generally acclaimed and sold well, including in the UK, where it was reported that tickets for the eight shows scheduled sold out within 30 minutes of them going on sale.

It was announced in late December 2007 that Minogue was to be among those honoured in Queen Elizabeth II's 2008 New Years Honours list, with an OBE for services to music. Minogue commented "I am almost as surprised as I am honoured. I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way. She received the OBE officially from Prince Charles in July 2008. Shortly after, Minogue was voted and named as the Britain's Best Loved Celebrity by a tabloid newspaper. Also in 2008, Minogue won best International Female Solo Artist award at the 2008 BRIT Awards, and received the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in May, this being France's highest cultural honour.

On September 15th, 2008, it was announced Kylie Minogue will star at what is being touted as the most expensive private party ever staged - a £16 million ($35 million) soiree at a new luxury hotel in Dubai. British newspapers reported that Minogue will be paid £2 million ($4.4 million) to keep 2000 guests spinning around at the opening of the Atlantis Hotel on the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah.

Film and television career

In 1989, Minogue starred in The Delinquents, which told the story of a young girl growing up in Australia during the late 1950s. Its release coincided with her popularity in Neighbours, and while both the film and Minogue's performance received poor reviews, it was a commercial success. She appeared as Cammy in the action film Street Fighter (1994), based on the fighting game series of the same name. The film received poor reviews by critics, with The Washington Post's Richard Harrington calling her "the worst actress in the English-speaking world. She stared as Dr. Petra von Kant along with Pauly Shore in the 1996 movie Bio-Dome.

Australian film director Baz Luhrmann, cast Minogue in Moulin Rouge! (2001) where she played the part of Absinthe, the Green Fairy, singing a line from The Sound of Music. In 2002, Minogue provided the voice of a young girl named Florence in the animated film The Magic Roundabout, released in 2005. She also sang the title song in the movie and was one of the two starring actors not replaced when the film was released in North America.

In April 2007, News of the World reported that Minogue had been cast as a 'sexy Cyberwoman' in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special episode entitled "Voyage of the Damned". This was denied by the show's executive producer, Russell T Davies, in the magazine Ariel, but a statement by Minogue indicated that she would be in the episode, but not as a villain as previously reported. It was officially announced by the BBC on 3 July 2007 that Minogue was to feature in the episode as Astrid Peth, a waitress on a spacefaring version of the Titanic, following rumours in the press and sightings of her filming. The episode aired on 25 December 2007, with 13.31 million viewers, the show's highest viewing figures since 1979.

In another television venture, The Kylie Show was broadcast in the UK on ITV1 on 10 November 2007. The programme featured highly stylised set-piece song performances from Minogue as well as sketches showing her backstage, most notably ones featuring Jason Donovan failing to recognise Minogue, and a catfight sequence with her sister, Dannii Minogue. The show secured strong viewing figures of 5.03 million. Minogue was also featured in the film documentary, White Diamond, which she made with friend and stylist, William Baker during August 2006 and March 2007. White Diamond documents Minogue's return to the world stage with her 2006 Showgirl Homecoming Tour. White Diamond premiered at Vue cinemas across the UK on 16 October 2007, with a DVD release in December 2007.

She has appeared in guest roles in television series such as The Vicar of Dibley and Men Behaving Badly in the UK, and Kath & Kim in Australia, which capitalised on her celebrity status and image for comedic effect. In the latter she played a Melbourne teenager on her wedding day, referencing her role as Charlene in Neighbours.

Personal life

In 1990 Minogue was in a relationship with INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence, which furthered her attempts to gain acceptance as a mature performer, with Hutchence saying his favourite hobby was "corrupting Kylie", and writing the INXS hit song "Suicide Blonde" in reference to her. By 1997 Minogue was involved in a relationship with French photographer Stephane Sednaoui.

Her relationships, including her now finished relationship with French actor Olivier Martinez, have been extensively reported. In February 2008, there was much media speculation about the relationship between Minogue and Martinez when they were seen together in Paris. The couple reportedly talked about reuniting and starting a family but the singer later dismissed the reports. Minogue was later quoted as saying "I had dinner with my ex-boyfriend and next thing I know there's a debate about whether we're having a family. We didn't even talk about that.

Breast cancer

Minogue's breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 led to the postponement of the remainder of her Showgirl - The Greatest Hits Tour and her withdrawal from the Glastonbury Festival.

Her hospitalisation and treatment in Melbourne resulted in a brief but intense period of media coverage, particularly in Australia, where the Prime Minister John Howard issued a statement supporting Minogue. As media and fans began to congregate outside the Minogue residence in Melbourne, the Victorian Premier Steve Bracks warned the international media that any disruption of the Minogue family's rights under Australian privacy laws would not be tolerated. His comments became part of a wider criticism of the media's overall reaction, with particular criticism directed towards paparazzi.

Minogue underwent surgery on 21 May 2005 at the private Catholic Cabrini Hospital in Malvern. Friends such as Olivia Newton-John (who had overcome her own battle against the illness several years earlier) urged the media and fans to respect Minogue's privacy. Soon after, Minogue commenced chemotherapy as part of her treatment regimen.

Minogue issued a public statement, thanking her fans for their support and urging them not to worry. On 8 July 2005, she made her first public appearance after her surgery, when she visited a children's cancer ward at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. She returned to France where she completed her chemotherapy treatment at the Institut Gustave-Roussy in Villejuif, near Paris.

In December 2005, Minogue released a digital-only single, "Over the Rainbow", a live recording from her Showgirl tour. During the early months of 2006, media began reporting Minogue's upcoming projects and the general improvement in her health. In June 2006, she was reported to be recording material for a new album, collaborating with Scissor Sisters, Steve Anderson, Richard Stannard, Johnny Douglas, Ash Thomas, and Teddy Riley while also making preparations to continue her newly renamed Showgirl Homecoming tour.

Her children's book, The Showgirl Princess, written during her period of convalescence, was published in October 2006, and her perfume, "Darling", was launched in November. On her return to Australia for her concert tour, she likened her cancer battle and chemotherapy to experiencing a nuclear bomb, and expressed her determination to resume her career. Whilst appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show in the United States, Minogue spoke of how her cancer had originally been misdiagnosed, and stated "Because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn't necessarily mean they're right", but she later spoke of her respect for doctors.

Image and celebrity status

Throughout her professional life, Minogue has been the subject of intense media interest in both the United Kingdom and Australia, which remained constant even while her success as a recording artist had temporarily fluctuated. Her efforts to be taken seriously as a musician have sometimes been hindered by her high profile as noted by The Australian, who wrote in 1997, "When you have to lug around an image the size of Kylie's, it's difficult for any music you produce to match the hype—especially in a country that gives scant credibility to pop".

Minogue is regarded as a gay icon, which she encourages with comments such as "I am not a traditional gay icon. There's been no tragedy in my life, only tragic outfits." While part of her appeal lies in her flamboyant costumes and her confident sexual posturing, she acknowledges the gay community throughout the world by performing at gay venues and events, and by openly supporting AIDS charities and gay rights causes. Her male dancers have often displayed overt homosexual attires and attitudes, like wearing high-heeled women's shoes, heavy makeup, dancing with other males, etc. She has said that she believes gay fans responded to her apparent distress when the news media began heavily criticising her in 1989, and that those fans have remained loyal, explaining, "My gay audience has been with me from the beginning... they kind of adopted me".

After playing the "girl next door" in her early music videos, Minogue began to touch on adult themes: a mature relationship in "Better the Devil You Know", lesbian posturing and drag queens in "What Do I Have to Do", telephone sex in "Confide in Me", and prostitution in "On a Night like This". She performed a slow strip tease in the Barbarella-inspired "Put Yourself in My Place" and wore revealing costumes in many of her videos, most notably "Spinning Around" and "Can't Get You Out of My Head". She satirised her image in the video for "Did It Again", in which the four major incarnations of her career, "Indie Kylie", "Dance Kylie", "Sex Kylie", and "Cute Kylie" battled for supremacy. Her evolving image and often overt sexuality led to some critical comparisons to Madonna.

In 1993, Baz Luhrmann introduced Minogue to the photographer Bert Stern, notable for his work with Marilyn Monroe. Stern photographed her in Los Angeles and, comparing her to Monroe, commented that she had a "similar vulnerability and awareness of the camera".

During her career she has chosen photographers who attempt to create a new "look" for her, and the resulting photographs have appeared in a variety of magazines, from the cutting edge The Face to the more traditionally sophisticated Vogue and Vanity Fair, making the Minogue face and name known to a broad group of people. Stylist William Baker has suggested that this is part of the reason she has entered in the mainstream pop culture of Europe more successfully than many other pop singers who concentrate simply on selling records.

Despite her commercial success, and her acceptance by a large audience as a contemporary sex symbol, her critics describe her willingness to display her body as an attempt to disguise a lack of talent. Her detractors, such as those discussed in the book La La La, have described her as a "one dimensional performer" and "pretty, but mindless and talentless". Miki Berenyi of the group Lush said "I have a massive problem with her because she epitomises the acceptable role ... it's a shame she gets so much credibility when there are so many women worth a hundred times that. It's war—you shouldn't stick up for Kylie, she should be fought at every turn". At the 2007 Q Music Awards, at which Minogue won the Q Idol Award, Ian Brown, former lead singer of the Stone Roses savaged Minogue, saying "I don't know what Kylie's doing at a music awards to be honest. I don't think she's cute. I don't think she's good looking. Her music's rubbish - she makes music for little kids. I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm putting her down, but there's a lot of great minds out there making music and she's not one of them.

Minogue has often spoken of the stability of the team she works with. Her parents, Ron and Carol Minogue, are actively involved in her career; her father, an accountant, is her financial advisor and her mother has joined her on each of her tours. She has been managed by Terry Blamey since 1987 and the close network, along with her Stock, Aitken and Waterman origins, have led to comments that she is "manufactured", an assessment which Minogue has admitted is partly accurate, saying, "if you're part of a record company, I think to a degree it's fair to say that you're a manufactured product. You're a product and you're selling a product. It doesn't mean that you're not talented and that you don't make creative and business decisions about what you will and won't do and where you want to go... Ultimately, yes, it's my name and I have to deliver the goods. But it doesn't happen without a team. So I try and work with the best people I can and take from them what I can. Hopefully I enhance what they do as well" William Baker has described her status as a sex symbol as a "double edged sword" observing that "we always attempted to use her sex appeal as an enhancement of her music and to sell a record. But now it has become in danger of eclipsing what she actually is: a pop singer".

In January 2007 Madame Tussaud's in London unveiled a new waxwork of Minogue. This is her fourth waxwork and only Queen Elizabeth II has had more models created. On 23 November 2007 a bronze statue of Minogue by sculptor Peter Corlett was unveiled at Melbourne Docklands for permanent display. The sculpture took 3 months to create with the assistance of a waitress with the same dimensions as Minogue.

Fashion

Minogue has gained credibility by her association with people such as fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, photographer Stephane Sednaoui, and designer John Galliano, who described her as a "blend of Lolita and Barbarella".

In 2001, Minogue launched her "Love Kylie" underwear line in Australia. More recently, she inspired a limited edition beachwear range for the company H&M and appeared in advertisements promoting it. The range went on sale in May 2007, and includes bikinis, scarves and swimsuits. In 2000 Minogue performed at the Sydney Olympic Games closing ceremony. Designed by Michael Wilkinson, Minogue's costume featured a pink silk beaded corset and diamante headdress. It is now housed at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

It has been confirmed that Minogue will be the face of the Spanish luxury brand TOUS, and that she will be the image for the company until 2010.

Known for her fashion flair, Minogue was added to PETA’s "Worst-Dressed Celebrities of 2008" after being seen carrying a python skin purse.

Tours

Discography

Studio albums

See also

Notes and references

Notes

References

  • The Complete Kylie, Simon Sheridan, Reynolds & Hearn Books (April 2008). ISBN 10-1905287607
  • Kylie: La La La, William Baker and Kylie Minogue, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. ISBN 0-340-73440-X. Paperback version.
  • Model's wait for Kylie's man, Daily Telegraph (Australia), 2007-03-15.

External links

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