Kylie Ann Minogue (pronounced: ) (born May 28, 1968) is an Australian singer and actress. She rose to prominence in the late 1980s as a result of her role in the Australian television soap opera Neighbours, before commencing her career as a pop singer and recording artist.
Signed to a contract by British songwriters and record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman, Minogue achieved a string of hit records throughout the world, but her popularity began to decline by the early 1990s, leading her to part company from them in 1992. For several years she attempted to establish herself as an independent performer and songwriter, distancing herself from her earlier work. Her projects were widely publicised, but despite a couple of hit singles, her albums failed to attract a substantial audience, resulting in the lowest sales of her career.
In 2000, she returned to popularity as a dance/pop music artist and became well-known for her provocative music videos and expensively mounted stage shows. Minogue has established one of the longest and most successful careers as a performer in contemporary pop music, and in Europe and Australia has become one of her generation's most recognisable celebrities and sex symbols. In Australia, after being dismissed early in her career by many critics, she has been acclaimed for her achievements; she holds the record for the highest concert ticket sales for a female performer, and is the only female performer to place nine singles at number one on the Australian singles chart.
Early life and Neighbours
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Minogue is the eldest of three children, her sister Dannii Minogue also being a pop singer. The Minogue sisters began their careers as children on Australian television, and from the age of 11 Kylie appeared in soap operas such as Skyways, The Sullivans and The Henderson Kids without attracting much attention. Dannii became successful as a regular performer on the weekly music program Young Talent Time, in which Kylie gave her first singing performance in 1983. Kylie was overshadowed by her younger sister until achieving success in 1986 with her role in the soap opera Neighbours.
Minogue played the character of Charlene Mitchell; a storyline 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 a record audience. 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.  Neighbours began screening in the United Kingdom in 1987 and achieved high ratings.
Recording and performing career
Stock, Aitken and Waterman—1987 to 1992
During a charity event in Melbourne with other Neighbours cast members, Minogue performed Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion" and was signed to a recording contract with Mushroom Records in 1987. Released as a single, and retitled "Locomotion", it spent seven weeks at number one on the Australian music charts, and was the year's highest selling single. Its success resulted in Minogue travelling to London to work with Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Her first album, Kylie, a collection of dance songs, reached number one on the British albums chart and became the year's highest selling album. It sold over 7 million copies worldwide, with most sales occurring in Europe and Asia, and it contained six hit singles, including the biggest hit, "I Should Be So Lucky". The United States was the only major record market in which the album did not sell strongly, although "The Loco-Motion" reached number three on the US Billboard Magazine Singles Chart. In late 1988 Minogue left Neighbours to concentrate fully on her music career.
A duet with Jason Donovan, titled "Especially For You" was a major hit in Britain in early 1989. The critic Kevin Killian wrote that it was "majestically awful... makes the Diana Ross, Lionel Richie "Endless Love" sound like Mahler".  Another critic named her "The Singing Budgie", and this tag continued to be used by her detractors over the coming years. Chris True's comment about the album Kylie for All Music Guide 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 and Australia, and contained several hit singles, but it failed in the United States, and Minogue was dropped by her American record company Geffen Records. She embarked on her first concert tour in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium 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". Minogue had become Stock, Aitken and Waterman's highest selling act, so in the face of widespread comment that the second album was a poor imitation of the first, it was decided to adjust the overall style of her music.
Rhythm of Love (1990) presented a more sophisticated and adult style of dance music and also marked the first signs of 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. A relationship with INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence 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. 
The singles from Rhythm of Love sold well in Europe and Australia and were popular in British nightclubs where Minogue started to be regarded as fashionable by the older audience she had targetted. When "Shocked" reached the British Top 10 in 1991, she became the first recording artist to place their first 13 single releases in the Top 10.
Minogue's contract had been for three albums, but she was persuaded to record a fourth. Let's Get To It (1991) was designed to broaden her appeal by presenting a diverse range of ballads and slower dance songs, but despite positive reviews it failed to make the British Top 10. Still, a British concert tour in late 1991 sold out. In Australia her popularity of the previous years diminished, and when the Australian public appeared to have grown indifferent, her supporters described her as a victim of tall poppy syndrome.
By this time 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 wanted her to do was "learn your lines... perform your lines, no time for questions, promote the product". Realizing that her fans were growing apathetic towards the Stock, Aitken and Waterman formula, and that she could only develop as an artist if she broke away from them, she decided to leave. She agreed to record three new songs to be included on the Greatest Hits album, which was released to coincide with her departure from them in 1992. The album reached number one in Britain, but the new singles were only minor hits.
Deconstruction—1993 to 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 self-titled Kylie Minogue (1994) received mixed reviews. Collaborations with artists such as Pet Shop Boys and M People disappointed both critics and record buyers. The album was a moderate success and the single "Confide In Me" spent five weeks at number one in Australia. When the singles "Put Yourself In My Place" and "Where is the Feeling" failed to make the top ten in Britain or Australia, some commentators predicted the end of her career. Minogue was unhappy with the finished product, describing it later as "a musical bridge over troubled waters—but one that I had to endure [to be able to make Impossible Princess]". 
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". "Where The Wild Roses Grow" (1995), was 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 dance 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". She performed it with Cave at the Australian summer rock festival, "The Big Day Out" before a crowd of alternative music fans, and was well received. She also appeared with Cave during several of his concerts in small venues throughout Europe, which gave her more experience performing outside of the dance/pop genre and before audiences that were not necessarily her fans. She 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". 
By 1997 Minogue was in a relationship with the French photographer Stephane Sednaoui, who described her as a combination "geisha and manga superheroine". He began taking photographs of her that downplayed her glamour, with the aim of attracting a more sophisticated and mature 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 (1997) featured collaborations with musicians such as Manic Street Preachers, and Minogue contributed the majority of the lyrics. 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 new album, Ray of Light".  In Britain, Music Week gave a negative assessment, "Kylie's vocals take on a stroppy edge ... but not strong enough to do much".
It became the lowest selling album of her career in Britain, but was her highest selling album in Australia since her debut album, 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—1999 to the present
Minogue and Deconstruction Records parted company and 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 Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers 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 received the strongest reviews of her career and quickly became a success throughout Europe, Asia and Australia, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The single "Spinning Around" became her first British number one in 10 years, and its accompanying video, featuring Minogue in revealing gold hot pants, received widespread television airplay. The subsequent single releases, including the duet "Kids" with Robbie Williams, also sold strongly. She joined Madonna as the second female performer to achieve British number one singles in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
She played at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she performed a cover version of the ABBA hit "Dancing Queen" and her then-current single, "On A Night Like This". She then embarked upon a concert tour, On A Night Like This, which played to sell-out crowds in Britain and Australia, where she sold over 200,000 tickets and set an Australian record for a female artist. Her 6 planned Melbourne shows were increased to 22 due to public demand. Inspired by Broadway musicals, it featured elaborate sets such as the deck of an ocean liner, an Art Deco New York City skyline, and the interior of a space ship, and Minogue was praised for her new material and her reinterpretations of some of her biggest hits, 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 live entertainment in Australia, as "Performer of the Year". Following the tour she was asked by a Seattle Post 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." 
In 2001 she released the album Fever, which retained some disco elements and combined them with 1980s electropop. The first single, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", became the biggest success of her career, reaching number one in over 40 countries, and selling more than 4 million copies worldwide. The album's success was equally widespread, and after extensive airplay by American radio, Capitol Records released it in the US in 2002. It attracted favourable comment, with Rolling Stone calling it "campy as a tent full of Boy Scouts and yet easy on the cheese", while Popmatters described it as "a perfect album of gorgeous dance music".  She also attracted some scathing commentary, such as from Launch's Bob Gulla who wrote: "she'll do virtually anything to get our attention. Not since Pia Zadora have we seen a more vacant talent grab... an astoundingly bland helping of hollow dance pop grooves and nauseating pleas for sex ... it's so desperately lightweight it's in imminent danger of disintegrating altogether".  The album debuted on the American Billboard chart at number 3, and the single reached number 7. "In Your Eyes", "Love At First Sight" and "Come Into My World" were substantial hits throughout the world, and Minogue established a presence in the mainstream American market, achieving particular success in 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 Fever tour, brought those elements into the stage show which was based around a framework of seven iconic female images, drawing 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". The tour was a commercial and critical success, and in 2002, Q magazine named Minogue in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die."
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 1960s icon 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 and Prince, blending their styles with elements of hip hop. It received some of the most positive reviews of her career 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 in the United Kingdom and Australia were relatively low, despite the success of its first single, "Slow" and in the United States the album made little impression, although the singles became major club hits. In November 2004, "Slow" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of "Best Dance Recording".
As of 2005, Minogue has sold more than 40 million singles and 25 million albums worldwide, and has had at least one number one hit in over 45 countries. She released her second official greatest hits album on November 22 2004, entitled Ultimate Kylie, along with her music videos on a DVD compilation of the same title. The album introduced her single "I Believe in You", co-written with Jake Shears and Babydaddy from the Scissor Sisters. It became her 28th British top 10 single, making her the second most successful female performer on the British charts, behind Madonna. A second single, "Giving You Up", reached the British Top 10 in March 2005. A tour named Showgirl, The Greatest Hits, reported to be the most extensive of Minogue's career, was announced in early 2005.
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 were the subject of derisive comments by critics, 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 did nothing to further her acting career, was dismissed by fans of the series, and received poor reviews by critics, with The Washington Post's Richard Harrington calling her "the worst actress in the English-speaking world."  Subsequent films such as Bio-Dome (1994), Sample People and Cut (both 2000) failed to attract an audience.
Australian film director Baz Luhrmann, impressed by her Intimate and Live tour, cast Minogue in Moulin Rouge! (2001) where she played the part of Absinthe, the Green Fairy, singing a line from The Sound of Music. This cameo remains her most widely seen film performance. In 2004 she provided the voice of "Florence" in a film based on The Magic Roundabout.
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 has remained constant even while her success as a recording artist has 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".  Her relationships, including her current relationship with French actor Olivier Martinez, have been extensively reported as well. 
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, her confident sexual posturing and her sense of fun, she acknowledges the gay community throughout the world by performing at gay venues and events, and by supporting AIDS causes. 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". 
Minogue has utilised the medium of the music video as an effective way of promoting her image, and has consistently worked at creating and evolving her visual representation. Her earliest videos portrayed her as a "girl-next-door" who was innocent and somewhat gauche but when she took control of her portrayal in 1990, she developed a more adult and provocative image. This caused her to be compared unfavourably to Madonna. Minogue admitted that she was an influence, but as her confidence grew she established a coquettish persona that differed considerably from that of Madonna's sexual aggressor. Minogue presents herself as a more passive object of desire, and frequently imbues her performances with camp elements and humour. Madonna acknowledged Minogue by wearing a "Kylie Minogue" shirt for a performance at the MTV Awards in 2000.
In several of her music videos, Minogue has touched on adult themes—an interracial 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.
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". She 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".
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 who might never buy one of her records. 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. She has appeared in guest roles in television series such as The Vicar of Dibley and Men Behaving Badly in Britain, and Kath and Kim in Australia, that have capitalised on her celebrity status and image for comedic effect.
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". She continues to attract discussion, both positive and negative, and in Paul Morley's study of the evolution of pop music, Words And Music: A History Of Pop In The Shape Of A City, Minogue is the vehicle by which pop is explored.
Minogue has often spoken of the stability of the team she works within. 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 she has freely 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". Minogue has suggested that although her career will inevitably change direction she expects to continue as a singer, and move away from the "sex-pot" persona she has created. In 2003 she received positive reviews for some low key performances in Paris clubs where she performed jazz standards, and she indicated she may take her career in this direction. Rather than identify herself as a particular type of singer, she has assessed herself with the comment, "now more than ever, I consider myself a performer... on stage is where I have given and received so much energy and enthusiasm".
Main article: Kylie Minogue discography
(includes chart information for the United Kingdom, United States and Australia)
Listen to samples of:
- Ash, Russell (2000). The Top 10 of Everything, Australian and New Zealand Edition, 2001. Dorling Kindersley Book. ISBN 1740330072
Australian Broadcasting Commission (November 2, 2003). Transcript of Love Is In The Air episode "I Should Be So Lucky".
- Brown, Tony, Kutner, Jon & Warwick, Neil (2002). The Complete Book of the British Charts, Singles and Albums. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9075-1
- Body Language Live DVD documentary (2003). Album launch press conference with Kylie Minogue.
- Caulfield, Keith (February 14, 2004). Album review of "Body Language". Billboard Magazine.
- Davies, Barbara (August 7, 2004). Kylie at the Crossroads Mirror.co.uk.
- Feel the Fever documentary (2002). Interviews with Kylie Minogue, William Baker and Alan McDonald.
- Flick, Larry (March 1998). Billboard Magazine review of "Impossible Princess". Billboard Magazine.
- Good, Tim. Review of "Impossible Princess". LiMBO.
- Gulla, Bob (May 4, 2002). Review of album "Fever". Launch.com.
- Harrington, Richard (December 24, 1994). Review of Street Fighter. The Washington Post.
- Ives, Brian & Bottomley, C. (February 24, 2004). Kylie Minogue - The Thin White Dame. VH1.
- Killian, Kevin. (February 2002). Kylie Minogue and the Ignorance of the West.
- Kylie.com, official website. Kylie.com official site
- Kylie.com. Kylie Minogue - Chronology. Kylie.com. Retrieved February 20, 2005.
- LiMBO online. Biography, The Life of Kylie. LiMBO online. Retrieved February 5, 2005.
- Mangan, John. Review of "Impossible Princess". The Australian.
- McLuckie, Kirstie (January 23, 2003). Michael Hutchence - Dating Danger. Scotsman.com.
- Metacritic.com, music reviews. Summary of review comments for album "Fever". Retrieved February 5, 2005.
- Minogue, Kylie & Baker, William (2003). La La La. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-3407-3440-X
Music Week (incorporating Record Mirror). Review of "Impossible Princess". Music Week.
- Nimmervoll, Ed. Kylie Minogue - Biography. All Music.com Retrieved February 5, 2005.
New Musical Express. Review of "Light Years". New Musical Express.
- Reighley, Kurt B. (July 2002). I Heart Kylie. Seattle Post.
- Smith, Sean (2002). Kylie Confidential. Michael O'Mara Books Limited. ISBN 1854794159
Television.au The History of Australian Television - The Logies. Retrieved February 5, 2005.
- True, Chris (February 2004). Review of "Body Language". All Music Guide.
- True, Chris (December 1, 2004). Review of "Kylie" album. All Music Guide.
Last updated: 10-11-2005 02:16:39