Only a week after the trailer dropped, Netflix released Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé. The highly anticipated (at least for the last seven days or so, as this is how long we’ve had to process the news) documentary offers fans an intimate, in-depth look at what really went on in the months leading up to her incredible 2018 Coachella performance.
The Formation singer – who made history as the first female black artist to headline the annual music festival in California – wrote, directed and produced the film and like anything Beyoncé Knowles-Carter does, the documentary does not disappoint.
For about 2.5 hours, Homecoming explores everything from the three sound stages for rehearsals to the design of the costumes (did we mention they’re custom Balmain), whilst finally showing footage of her jaw-dropping performance. In brief, there’s a lot to get into, so here are the most important takeaways.
‘Homecoming’ is a celebration of black creativity
It was really important for Beyoncé to have a black orchestra. Her ‘Homecoming’-themed set was inspired by HBCU traditions and included roughly 200 musicians, background singers and dancers, all recruited from historically black colleges and universities.
‘I wanted different characters; I didn’t want us all doing the same thing,’ she states in her documentary. ‘The things that these young people can do with their bodies and the music they can play, and the drumrolls, and the haircuts, and the bodies. It’s just so much damn swag. It’s just gorgeous, and it makes me proud.’
The performance took months of preparation
‘When I decided to do Coachella, instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella,’ she explains. ‘There was a four-month period of rehearsals with Derek [Pixie] and the band before we started the four months of dance rehearsals. The music and those vocal rehearsals – that’s the heartbeat of the show.’
She handpicked every single detail of the set
Beyoncé personally selected all the details. From each dancer and every light, to the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid and even the material on the steps.
Talking about the incredible costumes (the entire crew had two completely different sets of outfits for each weekend of Coachella), she reveals: ‘every tiny detail had an intention. There were so many meetings with Olivier [Rousteing].’
Beyoncé was supposed to headline in 2017
Beyoncé was originally set to headline at Coachella the year prior, but she got pregnant unexpectedly. ‘It ended up being twins, which was even more of a surprise. My body went through more that I knew it could,’ she shares openly.
‘I had an extremely difficult pregnancy. I had high blood pressure. I developed toxaemia, preeclampsia and, in the womb, one of my babies’ heartbeat paused a few times so I had to get an emergency C-section.’
She followed a very strict diet to get into shape
This performance was the singer’s first time back on the stage after giving birth to Rumi and Sir Carter, and she struggled to get back into shape. ‘I’m creating my own homecoming. And it’s hard,’ Beyoncé admits.
‘There were days that I thought I’d never be the same. I’d never be the same physically; my strength and endurance would never be the same. She shares that she had to rebuild her body: ‘It me a while to feel confident enough to freak [the performance] and give it my own personality.’
Beyoncé was dedicated – cutting out bread, carbs, sugar, dairy, meat, fish and alcohol, in order for her to meet her goal. ‘I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could,’ she says, ‘and I’ve learned a very valuable lesson. I will never push myself that far again.’
Even Queen B struggles to balance her work and personal life
Taking on a performance like this when you’ve just given birth to twins, isn’t an easy task. Beyoncé is very honest about how, when they first started rehearsing, her mind was not there, but with her children. ‘What people don’t see is the sacrifice,’ she says. ‘I would dance, a go off to the trailer and breastfeed the babies.’
‘It was a lot to juggle,’ she confesses. ‘Just trying to figure out how to balance being a mother of a six-year-old and of twins that need me, and giving myself creatively and physically. It’s not like before when I could rehearse 15 hours straight. I have children. I have a husband. I have to take care of my body.’
To quote Netflix (or should we say Beyflix, as the streaming service changed its name for a day to celebrate the premier of the documentary), what a time to be alive. Homecoming is incredible film, and Beyoncé is an incredible artist. That’s something every music fan, whether or not you’re part of the Beyhive, will have to admit after watching this groundbreaking performance.
She’s the Grammy-nominated songwriter who uses her talent – and 7.6million Instagram followers – to shine a light on mental health issues. Sophie Goddard meets Bebe Rexha
Selena Gomez, Iggy Azalea, Rihanna and Eminem… she’s responsible for some of their biggest hits, and now Bebe Rexha is stepping into the limelight herself. But what you might not know, is that Rexha’s recent transformation from writer to solo artist isn’t her first rodeo. Back in 2010, she was spotted by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and the pair went on to form the band Black Cards, before Rexha landed a solo deal… which quickly went south (‘they weren’t passionate about me,’ she says). Her second shot at stardom, though, is going much better – well, that’s if two Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist, are anything to go by. Her 2018 debut album Expectations (featuring hits like I’m A Mess and Meant To Be – the song that scored the 29-year-old her second Grammy nomination) won her mainstream success, and her second album is due later this year. But, while her impossibly catchy earworms have seen her collaborating with major artists like Cardi B and Rita Ora (like Ora, Brooklyn-born Rexha is of Albanian descent), there’s plenty below the surface, too. Here, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha tells all…
Firstly, congratulations on being a Grammy-nominated artist!
Thank you. It felt like every bone in my body went when I found out. I was Jell-O. My parents kissed – the first time they’ve done that in front of my brother and me, because we’d be like, ‘Ew, nasty!’
Was that your biggest pinch-me moment?
My whole career has been a series of those moments. The industry is so hot and cold – you’re not going to be on top forever – so every time I shoot a video, I’m like, ‘I can’t believe I’m still doing this.’
You’ve written for some incredible artists, what made you want to become one yourself?
I was creating records like, ‘This is how I want to do the video’ or ‘this is how you perform it’. I wanted to use my creativity, I wasn’t satisfied just writing songs.
Handing over a song must feel like handing over your baby…
Yeah, but you have to understand it’s no longer yours. You need to allow the artist that takes the song to do what they want.
Has anyone performed one of your tracks in a way that you’re not happy with?
Yeah, a lot! Sometimes I’ve had to pull them back. They have to make it their own – that’s what makes an artist an artist – but if I don’t think it sounds great on the person’s voice, that’s different.
When did you write your first song?
At 14 or 15. I wrote poems when I was eight, but didn’t properly form songs until high school. I played the trumpet and was always musically involved – inspired by Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Tracy Chapman, Alanis Morissette, Madonna and Cher. I like strong powerful women, who have something to say and are unapologetic.
So that’s how Women In Harmony (Rexha’s initiative for female music creatives) was born?
I couldn’t believe there’s never been a get-together for female music creatives – it hit me, like, ‘I want a safe space for women’. I threw my first dinner for 50 people in LA, then one in London, and now I’m doing a brunch for 150. It’s becoming this community – I want to get to a point where I do workshops, give scholarships and for it to continue when I’m gone.
What do you think it’s achieved?
For a long time, I compared myself to other women in the industry, and if you’re constantly comparing yourself, you’re never going to be happy. And I don’t know about other girls, but I’m a hermit. I don’t like going out; I get really anxious. People say, ‘Go out, be seen, play the game’, but I’ve never been that girl, and I’ve struggled to make friends in the industry. This way, it breaks the ice. Nobody is allowed a plus-one – you have to mingle.
Which stars’ careers would you like to emulate?
Pink. She had success, then had her family and managed to balance that. It’s something I really look up to because my career is everything, but so is balance. I want to enjoy my life. I reached out to Alicia Keys for advice on the music business. Any time I need help, she’s willing to give it to me, and that’s really hard to come by. She always responds right away and is really respectful. I admire that – a lot of successful females could easily be like, ‘Oh, no, you’re an up-and-coming artist, why should I help?’ She’s really kind.
Is it a big pressure having 7.6m followers on Instagram?
I’m used to it now; I just don’t care. If I don’t want to post for a week, I don’t. If I want to post every day, I will. I do it when I feel strongly about something. I want to stand for something. If I have fans who feel insecure, if I show them I’m also insecure about things, they know they’re not alone. I need to stand for something other than just writing catchy songs.
Tell us about that Grammy’s video (in which Rexha was vocal about designers only lending sample-sized clothes)
I understand models are models, and there’s nothing wrong with having that type of body – I think all bodies are beautiful – but it gets frustrating when designers send pieces that don’t even go halfway up. I’ve heard things said about models who are ‘too big’, and that’s really upsetting. I refuse to stand for that.
Being open about your mental health, is that important to you?
Absolutely. I’ve had moments when I didn’t want to leave the house, or I’d get super nervous at parties; I’d be in the corner freaking out. I didn’t know that was anxiety. I finally saw a therapist and found ways to control it – like exercising, eating healthier and changing my priorities. That helped so much and I’m not ashamed. If I can shine a light to make my fans feels less alone, that makes me feel good. I started seeing a therapist in my early twenties. It was after I got dropped from my first record label – they wouldn’t let me go, but didn’t want to put my songs out, so I was hopelessly stuck and I think that triggered it. I was literally so depressed. I wrote a letter to the CEO, like, ‘I don’t want to be alive, you guys are making my life miserable; I’m sad every day and stuck in a place where you’re keeping me hostage.’ As a human, I could never do that to somebody. Ever since I saw how dark the industry could get, that really affected me. It took me a long time to accept that but, once I did, I got so much better.
Is that what inspired you to write The Monster for Eminem and Rihanna?
Yeah, it’s about hating that part of myself, my anxiety. It’s like, ‘We stop looking for monsters under our beds when we realise they’re inside of us.’ That’s what inspired me.
Have you been told by fans that these songs resonate with them, too?
Absolutely – about I’m A Mess especially, and I’m Going To Show You Crazy and Me, Myself And I. I’ve had fans come up [to me] with their mothers crying, and saying, ‘Thank you so much for getting my daughter through these hard times.’ I tell myself I’m here to help people feel better, even if it makes me feel bad sometimes… I’m really big on energy. I think that’s why I’m able to be a songwriter, but sometimes it can really affect you.
What else makes you happy?
Music. When I’m in the studio, I feel like nothing sad in the world exists. It’s a safe space, as if nothing could harm me. It’s like my therapy.
Has your confidence changed with age?
Yes. I’ve had men in the industry say I’m getting too old and I should retire. I’m 29, my grandmother is old! I’m edging closer to my thirties, but I’m not faking my age like I’m supposed to. I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone, or search for anybody’s acceptance any more.
Gaga worked with the R&B star, collaborating with him on 2013 song, ‘Do What U Want (With My Body)’, a duet she has now vowed to remove from streaming services.
While the allegations against R. Kelly were made a long time ago (spanning decades), it was the recent broadcasting of a new documentary about the singer that prompted a lot of people to take them seriously, with the rapper indicted on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse last week.
After defending him in a press conference back in 2013 and allegedly declining to be interviewed for the 2018 documentary, Gaga broke her silence earlier this year.
‘I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,’ she stated. ‘As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life.’
She continued: ‘My intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadn’t processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life. The song is called “Do What U Want (With My Body)”, I think it’s clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time.
‘If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I’d tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in – or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation – to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what we’ve been through.’
‘I’m sorry, both my for my poor judgement when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner,’ she concluded.
This week R. Kelly sat down for an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King where he denied the allegations of sexual abuse. But when King brought up the response from the music industry, he had a lot to say about Gaga.
‘[Lady Gaga is] a very great talent and all and it’s unfortunate that her intelligence go to such a short level when it comes to that,’ he stated. ‘You know, I have nothing against none of these artists, but I think it’s not professional for them to do that, because something like this can happen to any artist, anybody famous. Anybody famous can get accused of so many different things.’
For over two decades, R Kelly has been accused of abusing and sexually harassing young women. And while the allegations against R Kelly were made a long time ago, it was the recent broadcasting of a new documentary about the singer that prompted a lot of people to take them seriously.
R Kelly has now been indicted on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse against four victims, with the reported crimes allegedly taking place between 1998 and 2010.
This, according to prosecutors, would make three of the alleged victims underage at the time of the reported assaults.
A judge in Chicago set Kelly’s bond at $1 million – $250,000 for each of the alleged victims in the case – but to leave police custody, he would be required to pay $100,000 – 10% of the total bond.
Kelly was unable to pay his bail however, with his attorney Steve Greenberg announcing that despite the bond seeming ‘fair and reasonable given the allegations’, R Kelly was unable to pay.
Explaining that Kelly ‘really doesn’t have any money at the moment’, apparently due to ‘mismanagement’ and ‘bad deals’, he explained that Kelly would ultimately be able to pay the required $100,000 after he had worked it all out.
If he is convicted, R Kelly faces three to seven years in prison for each count.
The Grammys have officially finished and from Drake to Lady Gaga, there were a bunch of winners who took home a Grammy. Take a look at the list below:
Best R&B album
“Sex & Cigarettes,” Toni Braxton
“Good Thing,” Leon Bridges
“Honestly,” Lalah Hathaway
“H.E.R.” H.E.R. *WINNER
“Gumbo Unplugged (Live),” PJ Morton
Best country album
“Unapologetically,” Kelsea Ballerini
“Port Saint Joe,” Brothers Osborne
“Girl Going Nowhere,” Ashley McBryde
“Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves *WINNER
“Volume 2,” Chris Stapleton
Album of the year
“Invasion of Privacy,” Cardi B
“By the Way, I Forgive You,” Brandi Carlile
“Beerbongs & Bentleys,” Post Malone
“Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monae
“Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves
“Black Panther: The Album,” Featuring Kendrick Lamar
Record of the year
“I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
“This is America,” Childish Gambino
“God’s Plan,” Drake
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
“All The Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA
“Rockstar,” Post Malone feat. 21 Savage
“The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey
Song of the year
“All The Stars,” Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Spears, Al Shuckburgh, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, and Dijon McFarlane
“God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron Latour, Matthew Samuels and Noah Shebib.
“In My Blood,” Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes and Geoffrey Warburton
“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth
“The Middle,” Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha and Anton Zaslavski
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“This Is America,” Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson *WINNER
Best new artist
Chloe X Halle
Greta Van Fleet
Best pop solo performance
“Havana (Live),” Camila Cabello
“God Is A Woman,” Ariana Grande
“Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga *WINNER
“Better Now,” Post Malone
Best pop vocal album
“Camila,” Camila Cabello
“Meaning Of Life,” Kelly Clarkson
“Sweetener,” Ariana Grande *WINNER
“Shawn Mendes,” Shawn Mendes
“Beautiful Trauma,” P!nk
“Reputation,” Taylor Swift
Best pop duo/group performance
“Fall in Line,” Christina Aguilera featuring Demi Lovato
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Backstreet Boys
“‘S Wonderful,” Tony Bennett & Diana Krall
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper *WINNER
“Girls Like You,” Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B
“Say Something,” Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton
“The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
Best rap album
“Invasion Of Privacy,” Cardi B *WINNER
“Swimming,” Mac Miller
“Victory Lap,” Nipsey Hussle
“Daytona,” Pusha T
“Astroworld,” Travis Scott
Best rap song
“God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake) *WINNER
“King’s Dead,” Kendrick Duckworth, Samuel Gloade, James Litherland, Johnny McKinzie, Mark Spears, Travis Walton, Nayvadius Wilburn & Michael Williams II, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake)
“Lucky You,” R. Fraser, G. Lucas, M. Mathers, M. Samuels & J. Sweet, songwriters (Eminem Featuring Joyner Lucas)
“Sicko Mode,” Khalif Brown, Rogét Chahayed, BryTavious Chambers, Mike Dean, Mirsad Dervic, Kevin Gomringer, Tim Gomringer, Aubrey Graham, John Edward Hawkins, Chauncey Hollis, Jacques Webster, Ozan Yildirim & Cydel Young, songwriters (Travis Scott, Drake, Big Hawk & Swae Lee)
“Win,” K. Duckworth, A. Hernandez, J. McKinzie, M. Samuels & C. Thompson, songwriters (Jay Rock)
Best country song
“Break Up In The End,” Jessie Jo Dillon, Chase McGill & Jon Nite, songwriters (Cole Swindell)
“Dear Hate,” Tom Douglas, David Hodges & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris Featuring Vince Gill)
“I Lived It,” Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley & Ben Hayslip, songwriters (Blake Shelton)
While a list of notable celebrities were absent from this year’s Grammy Awards, one star who was very much present was the beloved Cardi B. The singer, who is set to perform at the awards, was not only there… she was THERE. Dressed in a unique pink and black ensemble, Cardi made quite the entrance and posed up an absolute storm on the red carpet with her partner Offset.
Shortly after her first appearance, the inevitable memes started flooding in on Twitter, comparing Cardi’s dress to everything from a coffee filter to a tower of Forrero Rocher’s. Yep, for real.
In actual fact, Cardi was actually coveting 1995 Mugler Couture, and whether you liked or loathed, it was certainly a look.
Video clips of Cardi getting ready before the awards soon started to surface too, and no matter what anyone else thinks, she is feeeeling herself.
This isn’t the first time the star has gone all out with her outfits. She is known to rock some eye catching looks while on the FROW of fashion week, and loves to experiment at red carpet events.
Alicia Keys hosted this year’s Grammy awards, and one of the first presenters she introduced to help her out? Well, it was the girl squad of actual dreams.
To the internet’s sheer delight, Michelle Obama stepped out hand in hand with Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jennifer Lopez before the first few awards. The four joined Alicia to share positive messages of empowerment on stage.
While each of the women talked about music and empowerment, it was Obama’s speech that was met with most rapturous applause.
“Fom the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the Who Run the World songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here,” she proudly told those watching.
She continued: “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters — every story within every voice, every note within every song, is that right ladies?”
Naturally, Twitter went absolutely crazy for the girl squad, asking what we are all thinking: HOW DO WE SIGN UP?!
All hail Alicia Keys for getting these awesome women together for this moment!
The Grammys red carpet is officially underway and the ceremony will soon be starting. But you may have noticed that some of your favourite stars are missing from the Grammys this year. Ariana Grande? Can’t seem to spot her. Beyonce? Nope. Taylor Swift? Nowhere to be seen. So er, why?
Well, there are a bunch of different reasons why loads of our favourite musicians most likely will not be around this year, starting with timing conflicts and ending with disagreements with the Grammys’ big bosses.
Ariana Grande, for example, will not be there due to a disagreement she had with Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich. When Ehrlich told press that the reason she would not be performing is because she wasn’t able to put together a performance quickly, Ariana took to Twitter to call him out, claiming the real reason she wouldn’t be there is that her creativity had been ‘stifled’:
Taylor Swift, on the other hand, will not be present due to her current schedule; the star is currently in London shooting Cats. According to Chrissy Teigen’s Twitter feed, her and John Legend were staying home rather than attending, too.
Then there were the stars who allegedly just straight up didn’t want to go. According to The New York Times, both Drake and Childish Gambino were both asked to perform but declined (it is unclear whether they will still attend), and Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran have not attended for a while after previous award snubs.
Similarly, Time claims that Beyonce isn’t likely to show after a 2017 snub, and predict Rihanna may be absent also as she is currently focussing on her beauty empire and has not released new music recently.
While we’re sure the show will still be great, all these absentees beg the question: are the Grammys sort of, well, over?
Her career has spanned four decades in music and TV, with endless reinventions. But what makes Kylie Minogue special is her ability to bounce back from hardships and heartbreak
Words by Michelle Davies
It was the summer of 1978, and in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Carol Minogue was wrestling with a dilemma. Her seven-year-old daughter Dannii was a stage-school attendee and desperate to go to an audition at a casting agency that was looking for child actors. But if she took her, there was nobody to look after her other kids, Kylie, ten, and Brendan, eight. ‘Eventually, I wore her down and she agreed to take me on the condition that Brendan and Kylie came along too, just to make it fair,’ Dannii later revealed. ‘Then Kylie got cast [instead].’ The idea of the eldest Minogue sister becoming a star stunned everyone – until that point, her only interest in entertainment was learning to play the piano. But her breakthrough role as a Dutch orphan in The Sullivans, a drama series set in World War II, put her on the road to a 40-year career and has seen her amass over 80 million record sales worldwide. Now 50, and second only to Madonna in terms of image reinvention, Minogue is set to spend 2019 touring on the back of her country and western-inspired album Golden – her sixth album to hit number one. ‘I had no idea music would become my life, I thought acting would be my path,’ she said.
Born Kylie Ann Minogue on 28 May 1968 in Melbourne, her mother Carol was a former stage dancer and her father, Ron, an accountant. After her eight-episode run on The Sullivans, Minogue’s next role was on a show called Skyways, where a certain Jason Donovan was cast as her older brother. Her first recollection of him was that he was ‘really chubby with a bowl haircut’, but the pair would later go on to become both on- and off-screen lovers.
In April 1986, Minogue, then 18, joined the popular daytime soap Neighbours as mechanic Charlene Mitchell. Donovan was already on the show, as Scott Robinson, and it wasn’t long before the producers decided to exploit their winsome appeal by making their characters a couple. They then began dating in real life, but played an effective ‘are they, aren’t they’ game with fans and the press. The fascination over their relationship lead to a 20 million UK audience on 8 November 1988 for the episode in which Scott and Charlene married. Off camera, though, their relationship was floundering as Minogue’s music career took off.
A year previously, she’d signed a record deal in Australia after music executives spotted her singing at a benefit concert, and her version of the 60s hit The Locomotion then spent seven weeks at the top of the Australian charts. It caught the attention of Brit record producers Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW), who flew Minogue to London to discuss working with her – but then forgot she was coming and wrote I Should Be So Lucky while she waited in reception before their meeting. ‘We had to get the song together in about 40 minutes,’ admitted Mike Stock. It was an international hit, selling an estimated 695,000 copies in the UK alone. But Donovan was struggling with Minogue’s success, despite also having signed to SAW. ‘It was a jealousy thing,’ he later said. ‘I could see her slipping away.’
In 1989, then 21, she met INXS singer Michael Hutchence and ended her romance with Donovan. ‘It was bad enough that she’d run off with anybody, but she happened to run into the arms of the greatest rock god of the period, the very guy who I secretly wanted to be,’ Donovan admitted. ‘I took a long time to recover from it.’
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 6: Kylie Minogue performs on stage on her ‘Showgirl Homecoming’ concert tour at Wembley Arena, on January 6th, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Still/Redferns)
‘I had no idea music would become my life, I thought acting would be my path’
Much was made in the press of Minogue’s transformation while she was with Hutchence: gone was the ingénue next door and in her place was a pixie-cropped siren. ‘Let’s just say my eyes were open to the world,’ she said, crediting him for introducing her to ‘lots of firsts’. ‘It was a great love.’ The relationship confounded public expectations of a young innocent Minogue and triggered a continuing fascination with her love life. When Hutchence left her for model Helena Christensen in 1991, she then had a fling with the equally rakish Lenny Kravitz. Her music became more rebellious, too, with her third album Rhythm Of Love in 1990 spawning hits like Better The Devil You Know, which was adopted by the gay community as an anthem and turned her into its icon. In 1993, she parted ways with SAW and signed to indie label Deconstruction to release her fifth album. Tackling themes of sex and infidelity, the Barbarella-esque video for Put Yourself In My Place caused uproar, and her sales didn’t match previous highs.
It was in the late 90s that she met the man who would play a pivotal role in reviving her pop career. William Baker was an assistant at Vivienne Westwood’s store in London and a huge Minogue fan. He contacted her label asking if she had a stylist. The singer then turned up unannounced at the store to talk to him. Baker made his mark sourcing the gold hot pants she wore in the video for her comeback single Spinning Around in 2000 – her first UK number one in a decade. Contrary to the oft-quoted story, however, he didn’t pay 50p for them in an Oxfam shop. ‘She bought them years ago from a market stall, and I unearthed them from the bottom of her drawer when we were scrambling through the wardrobe looking for something,’ he revealed.
A year later, Minogue, then 33, continued her career revival with the album Fever, which featured the track Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, her most successful single to date, which earned her a BRIT award. However, once again her career was at odds with her private life. A three-year relationship with British model-turned-photographer James Gooding imploded in early 2003 when his infidelity was exposed. He then sold his story to a tabloid newspaper and she described splitting as ‘difficult and emotional’. She wasn’t single for long, though, meeting French actor Olivier Martinez at the Grammys that February. Speculation grew that he’d propose, but Minogue often hinted marriage wasn’t for her. ‘Who knows if that’s part of my story. But maybe I’m just a little bit unconventional,’ she said. ‘I never had it as a goal.’
Then, two years into their relationship, the singer’s gilded life turned a desperately sad corner. On 17 May 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a partial mastectomy. ‘Oli was there all the time, helping with the practical stuff and being protective,’ she said. The treatment all but destroyed her chances of having children naturally, something she only discussed for the first time last year when she revealed she’d undergone a medical menopause after her oestrogen levels were suppressed to fight the cancer. ‘Of course I wonder what [having children] would be like, but your destiny is your destiny, ’ she said.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 9: Kylie Minogue performs on stage on her ‘Showgirl Homecoming’ concert tour at Wembley Arena, on January 9th, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Still/Redferns)
‘Who knows if marriage is part of my story’
In 2007, she returned to the spotlight with a new album, X, and also released a documentary called White Diamond: A Personal Portrait Of Kylie Minogue, shot behind the scenes on her Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour. It was a welcome return to being in front of the camera. She’d never turned her back on acting completely, though – she starred as The Green Fairy in 2001’s Moulin Rouge!, and appeared on various TV shows, including Australian cult comedy series, Kath & Kim. Yet music was where her heart lay, and in 2012 she undertook a 12-month celebration of her quarter-century in the music industry, named K25. But while her career was thriving, the effort of maintaining it was putting pressure on her personal life. Since 2008, she’d been in a relationship with Spanish model Andreas Velencoso, ten years her junior, and in 2012 had described him as ‘the one’. But it ended just 12 months later, apparently due to work commitments driving them apart, leaving her ‘devastated’. In 2016, she became a judge on The Voice, and stunned everyone by accepting a whirlwind proposal from 29-year-old British actor Joshua Sasse. Their highly publicised split in February 2017 left her ‘broken’ and she went to Thailand with friends to recover. ‘I just wanted to stop. I knew I needed to heal,’ she said. ‘My physical system was compromised. I think it’s called a nervous breakdown.’
Her recovery sparked another change of musical direction and image when she flew to Nashville, birthplace of country music, to record her album Golden. ‘It was, in many ways, a great escape,’ she said. ‘I was quite fragile when I started work on it, but being able to express myself in the studio made quick work of regaining my sense of self.’
Today, Minogue is continuing to celebrate her musical milestones, marking the 30th anniversary of her and Donovan’s duet, Especially For You, in November last year. She also reunited with another Neighbours co-star, Guy Pearce, to film the Australian comedy Swinging Safari, in which she played a housewife. She has found love with Welsh-born GQ magazine creative director Paul Solomons, 43. They were introduced by a mutual friend in February 2018 and went public at Minogue’s 50th birthday celebrations last May. As for which musical incarnation will follow ‘country Kylie’, Minogue isn’t saying, but she has been refreshingly candid about how she’ll cosmetically transform her image into ‘ageless Kylie’ if she needs to. ‘I’m not pro or against [surgery]. One of my absolute idols is Jane Fonda, and the way she has handled it is admirable,’ Minogue said in an interview last year. ‘I remember her saying something like, it’s 80 per cent genetics, ten per cent taking care of yourself and ten per cent a good surgeon. So if, and when, the time comes I’ll be taking a leaf out of her book.’
As the Spice Girls prepare to go on tour once again (we’ve just got time for one last WOO), we’ve been practicing our best peace poses, frantically looking for a Union Jack dress online, and listening to the Wannabe rap on repeat because no one wants to fall short when that banger comes on, do they?
Except, when you look up the lyrics you’ll find that you actually had no idea what you were singing all along.
Warning: You’ll never be able to hear it in the same way ever again. Especially when you think of how often you’d belt it out aged seven.
We recently found out what zig-ah-zig-ah means, and that blew our minds, but wait until you hear this.
It turns out the official lyrics are: ‘So here’s a story from A to Z/You wanna get with me you gotta listen carefully/We got Em in the place who likes it in your face/We got G like MC who likes it on an/Easy V doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady/And as for me, ha you’ll see.’
Still no idea what it all means? It’s actually a break down of each Spice Girl’s sexual preferences. And no one had any idea.
Let’s break it down.
‘We’ve got Em in the place‘ is likely a reference to Emma/Baby Spice who, apparently, ‘likes it in your face‘. Pretty self explanatory.
Then ‘we got G like MC‘ (Geri and Mel C) who ‘like it on an e‘ – this one really caught us off guard. Who knew that we’ve been unknowingly singing that for over twenty years?
‘Easy V‘ actually gets it very easy because she doesn’t come for free – ‘she’s a real lady‘, so congrats Posh.
And Mel B’s is steeped in mystery as we’ll just have to see what she’s all about.
We’ll be singing it with our new-found knowledge at the forefront of our minds in June.