Kylie Minogue: ‘I’m Not Ready To Hit The Pause Button’

It’s been a wild year for pop icon Kylie Minogue – and she has no intention of slowing down.

Christian Vermaak for Grazia

by Fiona McCarthy |
Updated on

Summer is approaching, so you can bet Kylie Minogue will be toasting not only its arrival, but the stellar 12 months she’s just had – with a glass of her own rosé. ‘It has been a trip,’ she beams. There was her sell-out residency at The Venetian’s new Voltaire club in Las Vegas. The viral sensation of Padam Padam and the Grammy win that followed (her first in 20 years). Her inclusion in Time magazine’s feted ‘100 most influential people of 2024’ list. Dua Lipa declared her ‘one of the greatest pop legends in the world’, presenting her with the Global Icon award at this year’s BRITs.

It takes Minogue, 56, a while to put her feelings about all the accolades and praise into words. ‘Of course, there have been waves of things happening for the first time throughout my career, but it feels like it is from a different “camera angle” now,’ she says. ‘On the one hand, it doesn’t change anything and, on the other, it changes a lot. It’s hard for me to unpack, let’s put it that way. But there has definitely been a part of me that has tried to relax into it and appreciate the recognition.’

She certainly didn’t see the sensation of Padam Padam coming. Fans of all ages and nationalities took to TikTok to recreate the dance moves from the song’s video; in February, it won the Grammy for Best Pop Dance Recording. Minogue loves that it has taken on a life of its own, becoming part of the cultural vernacular ‘as a noun, a verb, an adjective, even used as a greeting or farewell’, she says. ‘It’s so joyful. It feels like it’s not my song any more. When I’m singing along, it’s like it’s everyone’s.’

We catch up just before the Met Gala – where she wore a custom gown by Diesel’s creative director Glenn Martens and danced until dawn at the Loewe after-party with Jonathan Bailey and Andrew Scott – as her Vegas residency draws to a close. ‘It was a unique experience,’ she says. ‘Not so much adapting what I do as a performer, but adapting to how I felt about it. It was intense.’ The intimacy of a venue like Voltaire meant the crowd of 1,000 were incredibly close, confrontingly so at a mere arm’s length away. ‘It all added to the experience for the people in the room and the shows got wilder and wilder but, full disclosure, day one, I was thinking, oh my god, what have I done?’

The impact of Minogue’s 35-year-and counting career in music cannot be overestimated: over 80 million records sold and five billion streams worldwide, she is the only female artist to score a number one album in five consecutive decades in the UK (her 16th album, Tension, flew straight to the top of the charts in September).

Photo: Christian Vermaak. Kylie's dress: Alberta Ferretti

Her longevity owes not so much to reinvention, she reflects, but to being ‘naturally, happily malleable, happy to shapeshift’. Coldplay’s Chris Martin, penning a heartfelt dedication to her in Time, puts it down to the fact that, ‘Kylie always seems to be 10 years ahead of everyone else and she’s an artist who knows how to be of service, making songs that fans go on to love for years.’ Indeed, when Minogue made a guest appearance at one of Madonna’s concerts in LA earlier this year, to celebrate International Women’s Day, it was a performance of two legends in their own right.

‘Singing with her felt weirdly natural. There’s an unspoken bond between artists that I hold very dear. I respect how she has forged her own path and continues to do things her way,’ says Minogue. As a teenager, she had ‘the cut-off lace gloves and sang along to her songs in my bedroom, being my best Madonna’, she recalls. ‘Then later, in the early ’90s, I’d stay up till midnight to see the first play of her new video.’

Their duet was poignant. ‘She wanted us to cover I Will Survive for various reasons… she lost her mother to breast cancer and she knows of my history with it [Minogue was diagnosed in 2005, declared cancer-free a year later]; and we have both survived the ups and downs of being a woman in the industry,’ she says. ‘There was much that didn’t need to be said or explained to the audience, but it was understood.’

Minogue likens her 35-year survival in music to surfing. ‘A long time ago I was in Costa Rica on a longboard – which makes me sound like I can surf, which I can’t – but I clearly remember paddling out, missing, paddling out, missing, paddling out, missing… And then when I finally got up on a wave, I felt weightless and euphoric,’ she remembers. ‘That is kind of the motto of my life. If you don’t keep paddling, you’re never going to catch a wave. So I just keep paddling.’

Still, has the mental toll of fame ever become too much for her? ‘I remember many, many years ago, I was really getting it from the press and I just couldn’t understand how it was possible to be so untrue or so mean,’ she says. ‘There was no name behind the article or the untruth, so there was no way of responding.’

Things are different these days, she says, ‘and I am happy that mental health is a conversation for everyone, including those within my industry. People generally understand that there are highs and lows of performing and putting yourself out there, but it is obviously much more complex and nuanced than that and, of course, different for every individual. Has it ever got too much for me that I’ve had to walk away? No. But it has definitely challenged me at times.’

Minogue’s empire now includes helming one of the fastest growing global wine brands, Kylie Minogue Wines, selling more than 15 million bottles since it launched in May 2020. This summer she’s added a Vin de Provence rosé and a new premium DOC Prosecco – in case ‘you don’t want to lean into pink’. Entering the wine business has been a steep learning curve for the singer, she admits, but ‘we set it up with such good intentions and I think people know they can trust the brand, they can trust what’s in the bottle. The heart’s there.’

Is she not exhausted? ‘Some days I feel like I can do it all and then, on others, it feels like doing Pilates on a wobble board in midair and I’m wrecked. One of the guys I work with a lot says, “You’re like an amusement park – some days the rides are just shut; and other days it is like, whee! Everything’s open, the bells are going and the big dipper is on.” There are certain moments where I think, oh, god, how to keep it up? But for the most part it’s giving energy to create energy. I just have to colour the hair more often!’

Minogue is pleased to be part of a raft of inspiring women – Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo and Gillian Anderson among them – who are redefining what a woman’s fifties ‘should’ look like. The invisibility that used to befall women in the public eye when they tripped over the 50 mark is, thankfully, a thing of the past. ‘But I hope I won’t always be talking about [age] and there is a moment where we can just be – knowing that there’s support around and we are never alone – because it is wonderfully freeing and liberating not to be boxed in by boundaries of “you can do this” and “you can’t do that”,’ she says. ‘I feel like this ship can sail a bit easier and function better without all that drag on it.’

The discourse about women’s lives and their milestones has expanded – and she has benefited from that, she says. ‘The conversations about menopause, friendship, motherhood, not-motherhood are great and it does make me feel a little sad for generations past where there was less understanding about what a woman goes through,’ she says. ‘Being a person and a woman is complex, so I think we take the win where we can and move with the times, but I think if we get obsessed with putting an age on everything, it’s just taking it from another angle rather than moving past it.’

Mentally, Minogue says she feels good right now. ‘I’m a bit more settled within myself.’ As for what’s next, she has a dozen things under wraps but she’s also fantasising about what might happen if she simply took six months off ‘to concentrate on health and mindfulness and all that good stuff ’, she muses. ‘But then I realise that work keeps me active and keeps my mind stimulated. It keeps this Gemini brain of mine going. I’m not ready to hit the pause button just yet.’

Kylie Minogue Wine’s Vin de Provence Rosé, £12, is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and; the DOC Prosecco, £11, is available exclusively in Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and

Photographs: Christian Vermaak. Styling: Frank Strachan. Stylist's assistants: Raghav Tibrewal, Jessica Johnston, Tom Lawrence. Location: The Chateau Marmont, LA. Production: Kendal & Partners.

Top image - Kylie wears: [left] T-shirt and jeans, Rag & Bone; necklace, Edge of Ember [right] Dress, Stella McCartney; shoes, vintage Dolce & Gabbana

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