Minogue tells PEOPLE the success of her hit "Padam Padam" is "a great moment for me — but it's a great moment for other artists, women particularly"
More than four decades into her career, Kylie Minogue is at the top of her game once again.
After notching a song of the summer with “Padam Padam,” the Australian pop superstar has struck gold with her 16th studio album Tension, released Friday, and she’s basking in a major resurgence — which is unfortunately still rare for a 55-year-old female musician.
Minogue, with a new record perfectly primed for dance floors, is hoping to change that. This summer, “Padam Padam” became her first solo top-10 hit in the U.K. since 2010, as well as her first top-10 single on any Billboard chart since 2018. The album’s second single, its title track, is already in the U.K.’s top 20, proving her renewed success isn’t slowing down.
For the first time in over 10 years, the “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” musician will also perform a major string of U.S. shows at her upcoming More Than Just a Residency, which opens Nov. 3 at Voltaire at The Venetian Las Vegas. Fans who’ve been waiting to see Minogue can expect to hear her catalog of hits as well as songs from Tension at the concerts — and given her past penchant for showgirl aesthetics, it’s bound to be a spectacle.
Minogue recently sat down with PEOPLE to discuss creating Tension, pushing back against ageism in pop music and whether or not she’ll tour North America following her Las Vegas residency.
Tension is your first album since 2020’s Disco, and you've said it's the first since Kiss Me Once that you created without an overarching theme. What made you land on that approach?
Disco was released in the lockdown. We managed to get some videos done, a little bit of promo, a couple of performances. But although Disco was so well-received, and I've had people literally cry in front of me saying, "Thank you so much. You helped me through lockdown," I really wanted to start fresh. It's a sentiment that needs no further explanation [after lockdown]. We all felt it. But I don't think the album took shape until 2022. Initially, I went into the sessions with my best collaborators [Richard "Biff" Stannard and Duck Blackwell] who I absolutely love, so it's a total thrill for us to see each other and take out a few hours to catch up and then get to business.
I didn't even know I was going to fully commit to another album, and then we toyed with different producers and the theme of a little '80s flavor, and that didn't quite hit. The turning point for the album was when my A&R and I decided there's no theme. I remember him saying to me, "Just go in and have fun. — as long as it's not boring," and I don't think it's boring.
It’s definitely not boring. You also said your song “Slow” helped inspire the direction of this album. Is there any other music, not just your own, were you listening to and consuming for inspiration on Tension?
No, I tend not to. I've got so many songs, melodies, ideas and questions going through my mind. I don't actually listen to too much. There's also a lot of self-referencing. I've been doing it long enough that that's just bound to happen. There's a bit of '80s, you start with a house piano on “Tension,” and then “Padam Padam” is very 2000s icy pop. So, it's definitely hitting on some things that I've done before that worked really well.
“Padam Padam” dropped as the first Tension single and became your first solo top-10 hit in the U.K. since “All The Lovers.” Women, unfortunately, tend to have a bit of a harder time getting radio play and chart success when they're no longer young adults. But you are in your mid-50s with your biggest hit in over 10 years. Was there ever a time where you thought it wouldn't happen again?
I'm trying to think of when, because this is all I've ever done, so for me, I just keep going. Sometimes it's more successful than other times, but I've never had that thought come from me. It's been projected on me from outside. I remember a few years ago being in a lot of interview situations where I would be asked, "What age do you think it is still OK to be in pop music, or to be sexy in pop?" It was really awkward, and I felt like I had to justify my presence there.
So, what's happening now very organically, I'm talking about it with you because it's happened. I've not been out there flying that flag. Of course, it's a great moment for me — but it's a great moment for other artists, women particularly, who have this kind of prejudice or bias against them. So, like I say, I didn't set out to do this. I've also been the youngest kid where I had to fight to be heard or just occupy my space.
The negative then was, "Well, you’re 18. what do you know?" So, through all the decades of my career, there's been something, and here we are. I'm really proud to be representing this moment, and guess what? The earth didn't cave in, and everyone's having a great time. This is the age I am. What can I do?
A good song is a good song. It shouldn't really matter who it comes from.
And I think it should matter less and less. You've got Elton John [making hits] — we can go through all of this. It's kind of boring to go through. But perhaps [radio] programmers who may have felt shackled to that way of thinking, it's liberating for them as well to go, "Hey, we've got more opportunity here and more scope to be really inclusive,” and that's just a modern way of thinking.
Your resurgence in America has been really cool to see, too, and that's all leading up to your More Than Just a Residency that you've got coming up in Las Vegas. This is going to be your first big string of U.S. shows in a really long time. What are you most looking forward to about connecting with your American audience?
Well, firstly, as you know, I've spent quite a bit of time in America of late, and it's been so much fun. It's like, where did 20 years go? But I feel like it's cyclic. That kind of music that I was making then feels really current now, and I'm in a good space. “Padam Padam” is doing its work, “Tension” is doing its work. I've really enjoyed reconnecting with America, and heading to Vegas is super exciting. Of course, I'm nervous. I always am before any new venture, but that's what makes me tick. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with you all.
Well, it's selling out like crazy from what I'm seeing, so being nervous is good, but you should be excited, too.
I'm super excited. I always thought I would do something in Vegas. It's been in the cards on and off through the years. Many moons ago it was seen as your retirement plan, and it's just had such a renaissance that artists are just loving it. So, I feel like stepping into that community is going to be a lot of fun. I'd better start collecting rings and do my best Liberace.
Can fans expect more of a U.S. tour after that?
I would love to. Let's see how Tension goes.
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