While many pop artists are lucky to last 25 weeks in the music industry, Kylie Minogue this year celebrated a quarter of a century in the music business. Instead of marking this with a stadium spectacular, Kylie chose to honour her fans. First with a tour of b-sides and fan-favourite album tracks and now with an album reworking some of her finest hits - The Abbey Road Collection.
Ahead of the album's release, Gigwise caught up with Kylie at London's Savoy Hotel for a cup of tea, a macaroon and look back at her 25 years in the business - and 12 months of celebrations. The pop legend discussed her Abbey Road collection album, whether the reworkings will spell the end of her huge concert tours, her career hiccups and plans for a much deserved rest in 2013...
Has re-recording hits such as 'All The Lovers', 'The Locomotion' and 'Confide In Me' been on the cards for a while?
It's been a bit of a pipe dream. We thought one day it would be great to release this record. Any time we've recorded anything with even a four-piece string section - we're excited. So the idea of having a full orchestra is amazing
We did a week in a studio - a cheap studio, not Abbey Road - with the band and we tried different things. It was interesting to see 'All The Lovers', I changed the melody because it seemed like the right way to go. Now when I do the regular 'All The Lovers' I struggle to remember how it goes. I've created a bit of a monster trying to remember which version i'm performing! It was a really great experience.
After stripping back the big pop productions, which songs do you think have the most emotional impact?
It's telling how good some of the songs are that they translate so well. A song like 'Never Too Late' is so sad, it's really sad and I never thought of that before.
Were there any songs you tried to record for this album that simply couldn't work with a simpler arrangement?
I don't think so. Some songs we tried in that rehearsal period, and that approach just didn't take them anywhere. Even with 'Lucky' it's already appeared as that kind of torch version, but before we did it with a piano, not just with strings. The one I was super pleased about was getting Nick Cave to come back and he and I sitting on stools with our sheet music, both singing the song and knowing so much water had gone under the bridge. I was so touched that he was happy to be part of the project.
Kylie re-recorded some of her biggest hits at London's Abbey Road studios
The Anti-Tour and the Abbey Road album seems a very intimate way to celebrate your anniversary - and one for the fans. When did you realise how important these songs were to fans?
I think it was through social media. I think prior to that, how did I hear what someone had to say? Someone i'm never going to meet. If you look through your tweets you come across some weirdos and think 'I'm not going to look at that for a good week' and you just pretend those people are not out there. But 99.9% of the fans are real fans. They're excited and they can affect what you do. I think that for something like Anti-Tour, it came from Aphrodite shows being so huge and thinking 'Oh my God, how are you going to top that?' Instead, I went in the other direction. I wouldn't have been so sure to do that if I didn't know through social media that people were begging for me to play specific songs. I guess it wasn't like that in the beginning. I had to go out on a limb and sometimes fall flat on my face.
What would you consider the biggest 'fall on your face'?
They're all important parts of the journey, but looking back at Impossible Princess it wasn't selling truckloads! What I think we've ended up with through all the different things we've done is a real luxury to have fans expecting something different. This new album isn't like 'What has she done?' OK, so when I did a Murderballad with Nick Cave, yes, that was scandalous but that, through to doing a film about the last castrato with Sam Taylor Wood, to this - I've been attracted (not in the early days - I wasn't old or evolved enough) but for a long time now i've been attracted to looking things at a different angle and seeing what I could do - given the opportunity. I really appreciate that I have the luxury to do these things, or an Anti-Tour. I couldn't tour that perhaps, because it's to a very select audience, but that select audience, myself and my band had the best time.
Listen to a sampler of Kylie Minogue - The Abbey Road Sessions album below.
After years of touring with giant hats and pyrotechnics, how has it been performing live with a small band or orchestra?
The giant hats! Yeah i've balanced things on my head, worn huge heels... It was amazing to first do Anti-Tour and then Proms In The Park - I was really nervous but once I got going it was amazing. I stepped out and of course it all sounded nothing like rehearsals. I absolutely loved it and I know it was a long time to get to that point, but the audience were so warm and so welcoming. When we did rehearsals for the show I just faced the orchestra because I knew once we got on the stage I was going to miss them, the best bit. It was so liberating not to have to do quick changes, not to do choreography - just sing the songs and connect with the audience. It was just brilliant. As much as I love riding on an angel from one side of the stage to another, it's feeding different sides of me.
Will you go back to the giant hats and riding on angels?
I'm sure. They are great but even in those shows I make sure I build in a little segment where I can take requests and we'll throw out the worst version of a song where I can't remember the lyrics. It's a relief not to have to focus on being at a certain spot on the stage wearing a certain outfit at a certain time. The stage is dangerous for a start. People forget you're on moving surfaces. The last one had fountains! I'm just thriled that we took it there. I'm so proud of the Proms show. I really feel that i'm going outward. I'm at this point in my career where I feel it's just great to do Holy Motors, this album. It's really feeding me. It's an exciting time.
You've been celebrating K25 this year and The Rolling Stones have been celebrating 50 years. Will we see a K50?
There's no K26. This year has been full on. It's been great that we gave it a tag, K25, and people get it. It's been really cool to celebrate that and I think some fans will have a depression next year, wondering where this month's 'special upload' is. I honestly don't know. When I was in New York last week Barbra Streisand was doing a gig in Brooklyn. These women who still do it, of course I admire them. Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton - still making movies, still doing concerts. If that's to be and if people still want it maybe it will happen. I've no idea now. I do have days when I want to throw it in the fire.
So we won't see much of Kylie next year?
I just need a little breather. I would love to do some more acting, and i'm meeting with independent directors, which is cool. But at the same time i'll be starting work on the next album - so it will probably be much the same.
The Abbey Road Session is released via Parlophone on 29th October. Full details here - http://kylie.com/abbeyroadsessions/