Pride month has arrived! And what better way to kick off the celebrations than with a new single release from the gay icon herself, Dannii Minogue!
The Australian singer, television personality, actress, and all-around-babe has returned with her first new song in six years. Titled “We Could Be The One,” the track serves as the theme song for the UK’s first-ever gay dating show, I Kissed a Boy, which she is also the host of. Known for being a supportive ally since the very beginning of her career, Minogue will be donating all profits from the song to Switchboard LGBT.
That’s not all Minogue fans have to be excited about, however. She is also currently honoring the 20th anniversary of her career-defining LP Neon Nights. Considered her magnum opus, the era remains her most successful and a pop classic that deserves all the mentions. Whether it’s the club-infused “Who Do You Love Now?”, the edgy “Put The Needle On It,” the pop perfection “I Begin To Wonder” or the feel-good “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling,” it’s four back to back top 10 hits take us back to the golden 2000s when our favorite artists would feed fans with a flawless run of singles.
In an exclusive interview with EUPHORIA., we were lucky to catch Minogue during her busy schedule to find out more about “We Could Be The One,” the reception of I Kissed a Boy, and whether more music could be in the pipeline before testing her knowledge on the Neon Nights era.
You have released your first single in six years, “We Could Be The One,” which is also the theme song for I Kissed a Boy. How long ago did you record this song and how does it feel to be releasing new music again?
There is such a joy about recording again, getting in front of the mic. It was kind of daunting after so long but really, really good to do. And I think it was World Pride that kind of put me in the mood. I’d been to Sydney to perform with Kylie at that and got back and my friend Ian Masterson had written the theme tune for the show I Kissed a Boy and it had a different vocal on it and I just kept listening to it thinking, “I actually really wanna record this.” So there was that want and that desire to get back up and sing again, but it was just about the show and the song. The song gives me this tingly joy feeling and I just felt like I really wanted to be a part of it and for it to be part of the show.
You are donating the profits of the song to Switchboard LGBT. Tell us why this charity is so special to you and why you’ve chosen to do this.
Recording “We Could Be The One” was really just about it being part of the show as well as my voice being in the texture of the fabric of the show. It was less about me going back to music, releasing an album. It wasn’t in that vein. And so I had an idea, “Why don’t we donate the money from this to a charity?” And really there was only one charity that it was gonna be, and that was Switchboard. I went in to visit them in London and the people who run it and the people who volunteer are so very special. To have a call helpline that’s open 365 days is very meaningful because it might be a special holiday or a special day to you, a birthday or the day that someone’s passed, or it was someone else’s birthday that might be a really triggering day for you. Or it’s just the day that you have questions or you realize something. So their expertise, their love, and their kindness are boundless. I just felt like I wanted to link the show and the song to them. I couldn’t be happier about that.
Has releasing and recording this song given you that buzz to potentially record and put more music out? The response to this song has been very positive!
[laughs] I never know about releasing new music. It seems that when I get asked about it, it seems that it’s got to be Neon Night’s part two. And in my mind, I spent a year working solely on that album and then promoting it full-time. And in my world at the moment, that doesn’t go with the amount of time I want as a mom and being with my son. He’s just about to become a teenager and they’re precious years that I won’t get back. Having said that, I love music and I love the connection that it gives me to other people, whether it be Switchboard, whether it be fans, whether it be jumping up on stage with my sister, it connects me to people and always in a beautiful way. So I think there will always be music happening in my life, but I like at the moment that it is something that is always a little bit unexpected and it’s just when the stars align.
I Kissed A Boy is currently airing each week on BBC Three in the UK. How have you felt about the reception of the show so far?
I’m absolutely buzzing about the reception for I Kissed a Boy. It was a joy to film. The production crew was incredible and the care and attention that was taken to every detail of how the boys were looked after and also having a mostly queer crew. I was one of the first few people that were not from the community so I felt very honored to be there and be a part of it, hear all of the conversations, and see these boys go through this amazing experience.
Also, them coming out the other side now on promo and going to Pride parties. And gosh, Josh who had never been kissed had really only been out months before signing up for the show was on a float at Pride, waving at people and when he got off he was mobbed by people. It’s a buzz to see them go through this huge transformation.
I love reading all the comments, I’m scrolling through social media and interacting with people. I hope that it’s the first series of many for I Kissed a Boy, but also, being the first all-gay dating show in that reality area, hopefully, it also opens new doors for other reality shows that are done very respectively for the queer community. I’m kind of as excited as everyone else to watch this space.
The show clearly knows its audience with the songs that feature throughout episodes. Did you have any input on that?
The music on the show is awesome, just brilliant. We actually had a playlist that we were putting together during the time that we were filming, and there were like a few key production people on that, and we could all input songs, so we made a base of that. Altogether, Everyone’s got different musical tastes. And the editors, when they’re editing the show, definitely have a look through that and see if there’s anything that picks their interest. We’ve still been adding to it since we finished the show. Looking towards the next season and thinking, “Oh, that song would be amazing.” We love the fact that it’s been received really well. A fan of the show made a Spotify playlist of the songs that they’d heard in the show, and I’m following that. I put it on all the time because I love, love, love, love hearing all of those tracks.
Neon Nights is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The era is definitely one that has defined your career. What are some of the standouts from that time that you like to reminisce on?
Neon Nights is back and 20 years later, oh my god. I loved doing it the first time around. I’ve loved certain anniversaries along the way. For the 15th year, we released some really cool vinyl and now it’s 20 years and London Records are honestly doing such an incredible project by putting together the release because it’s not just the music and the packaging, but the artwork is done by people who are graphic artists, but also fans of the album and the liner notes and everyone’s coming together that feels some real affinity with the album. It’s nice to be able to share those experiences with friends, with the people who worked on it, and with the fans that have taken those songs into their hearts and probably listened to them more times than I have [laughs].
But it was the defining album for me. It gave me my biggest chart hit in the UK and the fact that people are still talking about it and loving it and saying, “I’ve ordered this, I’ve ordered that” is incredible. We got to relive all the video clips and all the Top of the Pops performances. And I kind of feel like 20 years ago, it was just a different time and we are never gonna go back to that time exactly. The recording was amazing, which was across Stockholm, Paris, London, I mean, wow! What an experience for somebody who thought that actually music had finished for me after the Girl album. I thought, okay, I’m done. There’s nothing else happening here. It’s been a great ride, but that’s it. And then Pete Tong calls up and says, “You know, will you lay down vocals on ‘Who Do You Love?’”
That was a one-song deal and it went so well that it turned into an album. So, I kind of feel like it just had a life of its own. It was like a tiny little seed and then it just grew, it just sprouted a little bit with that first song and then really blossomed. And so that was kind of the start of me doing a lot of traveling, a lot of touring. I went all over Europe. I was always on a plane packing a bag. And it also introduced me to Ibiza and some of the great DJs there and some of those who are still really good friends of mine, like Carl Cox and Roger Sanchez. Carl lives actually in Victoria where I live, so we see each other in London, and we see each other in Australia. Roger’s living away, he’s mostly in America, so kind of hard for me to catch him and get hold of him, but some really great friendships happened across that album and they’re still my friends today.
You recently put out an Initial Talk remix of “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling,” which is definitely one for the summer season. How did this particular mix come about?
The Initial Talk remix of “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling,” Wow! Insane, insane. I just love it. This is really one that came from London Records. I can’t take credit for this. But as I said before, they have taken so much time and care to put together this 20th-anniversary edition of the album and felt that Initial Talk would just slot really well into that song. The people that they got to remix really wanted to do the song. So it wasn’t just like, “Will you do this? Here’s the money. Okay, great.” Which is how some remixes can be. These are really people who were having a blast reliving these songs and reimagining them.
Let’s test your knowledge to see how well you know the facts surrounding that era. “Put The Needle On It” was one of four top 10 hits in the UK. But, where did it peak?
“Put The Needle On It?” Erm… a top 10 record… I think it peaked at No. 7?! Or was it No. 4?! That’s as close as I get!
It was No. 7! In 2003, Neon Nights was nominated for Best Pop Release at the ARIA Music Awards. Do you remember who ended up winning?
I have no idea who ended up winning [laughs]. I just figured in my heart of hearts that I wasn’t going to win so I kind of mentally took myself out of the running.
It was Delta Goodrem’s Innocent Eyes! OK, you should know this one. “I Begin To Wonder” was in a chart battle for the No. 1 spot with which artist and song?
I’ll never forget who I was up against! It was Christina Aguilera with “Beautiful,” which is a special song for me and millions of other people. I remember thinking, “If I’m gonna lose out on my first chance at No. 1, it had to be to an incredible song!”
This one is a little harder. In 2010, a Turkish singer named Mercan recorded a cover of which song in their native language?
I have NO idea what song that was! Please, put me out of my misery, tell me!
It was “Put The Needle On It!” Neon Nights became your second top 10 album in the UK. Do you remember what position it peaked at?
Erm… [laughs], I know it was in the top 10! You can tell I don’t really like… I know my highest charting single because it was the highest number I got. All the rest tend to fall away from me. I would say 7 or 8.
Correct, No. 8! And lastly, you performed a set in America shortly after where you were given a proclamation. Do you remember what it was and the significance of the date?
I did a performance in America around that era of Neon Nights and it was in San Francisco. it was pretty special because it was gay day at this theme park that had roller coasters and the crowd was pumped. I didn’t know anybody would really know me there that much but the mayor came to give me a presentation. And the presentation was a proclamation that made the 27th of May Dannii Minogue Day in San Francisco. And so I have that proclamation framed and it’s been proudly sitting on my wall because Gavin Newsom, who was the mayor at the time, is currently the governor of California. I mean, t was a big deal then, and it’s an even bigger deal now. And it was the day before my sister’s birthday, and it was at a place called Paramount’s Great America, I believe.