Kylie Minogue has scored seven previous No.1 albums in the UK – but if she manages her eighth today with new album Disco, it will have been the most hard-won of the lot.
Disco has been locked in an epic battle for No.1 with Little Mix’s Confetti all week. Both albums are selling well, to the extent that either could potentially break Lady Gaga’s mark for the year’s fastest-selling album later today. Chromatica moved 52,907 copies in its first week – Minogue was on 45,093 sales at the Wednesday midweek stage, according to the Official Charts Company, with Little Mix a few thousand sales further back, and some streaming data still to be counted.
Minogue has already told Music Week her thoughts on the big chart race, and BMG and A&P Management have taken us inside their Kylie campaigns. All the stops have certainly been pulled out – with Minogue appearing on Graham Norton, The One Show and BBC Breakfast, staging a smash hit livestream and even participating in a Tim Burgess Twitter listening party for the record.
So, as chart day dawns, Minogue – who appeared on the cover of Music Week’s blockbuster Q4 issue last month to start the campaign with a bang – talked us through the making of Disco…
Does it feel ironic to have released a Disco album just as every club on the planet is closed?
“[Laughs] I did wonder at a certain point if this was still right. Is it viable or is this just unpalatable? I know Jamie [Nelson, BMG VP, A&R] tested the waters in a few different places and it came back with a resounding, ‘Yeah, we really want the new music’. That gave me the positive note that I needed and, as it turned out, a lot of people are talking about disco or uplifting music in general, so it’s resonating especially right now…”
BMG boss Alistair Norbury told us you’ve become quite the studio expert…
“[Laughs] Well, I just put some vocals down for something and it’s mad to me that I know how to do that now! I could say, ‘Yeah, it was great’ but, actually, thinking back to the way things materialised, I had producers on my back saying, ‘Have you got the gear yet? Have you got the stuff?’ If anyone didn’t know what we were talking about, it would be a worry! Kylie the bedroom producer? That story’s got legs but, honestly, I can just get recorded what needs recording. But that was very satisfying and a means to an end, there was no other way we could do it.”
Was it difficult making an album under those circumstances?
“It was a very different experience compared to going into studios where the doors shut, you have no idea what time it is and suddenly it’s 7pm and you’ve not looked at your phone. It was lockdown so the door would go, there’d be a delivery – and I was here on my own, so it got quite intense. There was a point near the end where I actually felt just so drained, I’d been going at such a pace every day and juggling different writers, producers and schedules and trying to be prepared… It really wore me out towards the end and I had a slight… Well, meltdown probably sounds a bit dramatic, but I realised I’d been going at such a pace because I was so driven to get this done. And we did get it done in the end. We really wanted to make it count and direct our energy. We all threw our best into it.”
On the one hand I go, ‘Wow, 15 albums’. And on the other I go, ‘That’s not so many!’
When you decided to make a disco album, did you have any idea that the sound was going to come back into vogue?
“No! Of course I’m asked about it now, but Dua Lipa’s album was made last year, mine was conceived last year and probably most things people are hearing now were not made as a reaction to the pandemic, so I think the zeitgeist is a bit ahead of us! I think this wave of disco and dance music was going to happen in pop, it probably was time, it just happened to be now.”
Golden was so successful, many people would have stuck with that sound…
“Well, the lessons that I learned in Nashville have stayed with me and I don’t think they will ever leave. Writing for this album, it might not sound like it, but it’s in me now and I really love that. And I will always love singing Dancing. I would love to go to Nashville again and just write or see what Nashville could bring to another style. It was so different to recording in LA or wherever. They would say, ‘Oh, let me give you numbers, let me give you the best cafes and restaurants’. You really felt welcomed long before you got there. And there are all sorts of writers there and music is everywhere. I absolutely loved it.”
How does it feel to have made 15 albums?
“On the one hand I go, ‘Wow, 15 albums’. And on the other I go, ‘That’s not so many!’ It’s weird. I got off to a good start – PWL was one every year, so I managed to get some pace in early…”
Very few people actually get to make that many records though…
“I definitely have to remind myself of that and just be grateful for the opportunity. I’d be so sad if I didn’t have the opportunity to make records now, when I feel like I’ve collected all these nuggets of experience and I want to use them.”