The fabulous Dannii Minogue reflects on her glittery thirty year career in entertainment, her relationship with the gay community and talks to me about her future music plans.
It has been a massive year for new mum Dannii who is currently promoting her first tell-all autobiography – My Story – and rocking the X Factor judging panel in the UK every week.
Here on our special chat for JOY 94.9, Dannii reminisces on her Young Talent Time years and talks about her unexpected return to family TV entertainment. She also opens up about her relationship with the gay music scene and the inadvertent statement she made when she insisted on performing at London’s G-A-Y back in the day.
Dannii is still very much the queen of clubs over in the UK with an unmatched record of 12 consecutive #1 club singles but while she remains unsure of her place in music today, she talks to me about her new recordings and tells fans to, “watch this space!”
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Dave: It seems like everything has come full circle for you recently. Your career started on a talent show in the 80s and now you’re judging on one of the world’s biggest talent shows (X Factor).
Dannii: I never thought I would be doing something like this. My sister said to me years ago, “you’d be great on the judging panel on one of these shows” but I couldn’t see what she or the show producers could see. I love being able to mentor and help the contestants on X Factor – and I guess, use the experience I had from Young Talent Time back in Australia.
Dave: It’s a big deal landing a gig on X Factor and Australia’s Got Talent – how did you catch Simon Cowell‘s attention?
Dannii: I don’t know, actually! The producers for Australia’s Got Talent had lined me up for that judging panel and Simon only saw the tape after. There are a few things in my life where I look back on and think, maybe I was in the right place, at the right time!
Dave: Do you ever show them YouTube clips of your Young Talent Time performances?
Dannii: No. [laughs] They’re all on there in their full glory and it’s so funny! My friends are constantly emailing them to me when they’re bored at work. I remember going back to Channel Ten once and they said to me that the wardrobe department had all the Young Talent Time costumes. I went down there and I ended up stealing one of the costumes that I used to wear. It was such happy memories for me.
Dave: You’ve just published your autobiography, My Story. Why the tell-all book and why now?
Dannii: I’ve been approached by publishers in the last few years to write a book and I just thought they were mad. I love reading autobiographies but I couldn’t imagine in a million years that some thing I write would also be on the shelf and people would want to read it. It wasn’t until I did the interview with Piers Morgan that I stopped and realised that there were lots of big things I’ve been through that people were interested in.
As a teenager, I always studied hard at school because I never thought this was what I would end up doing. In fact, I was always the one thinking this is going to end. I guess, as a protection for my own feelings, I’d put it out there that when people stop enjoying it then I’ll stop doing it. I’ve gone through rough patches with my career but I’ve sort of changed direction and, as you said, I’ve wound back in family entertainment.
Dave: It sounds like you’re closing a chapter on music. Is that the case?
Dannii: I don’t think I’ll ever close it completely. I always love music whether I’m performing professionally or not. I have recently recorded a few new songs. These brilliant songs presented themselves to me at a point where I had decided I don’t want to do music any more. But I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with them yet. It’s a bit of a “watch this space”.
Dave: I heard that you recorded with the Freemasons?
Dannii: I have written one song with them but we haven’t done any more with it. I wrote the song with Richard ‘Biff’ Stannard, he’s just amazing. We might end up doing something but we only want to do it if it’s brilliant because I’m such a huge fan of the Freemasons. Everything they put out is superb so I would want mine to be the same.
Dave: Do you still feel connected to dance music?
Dannii: There will always be a part of me that is, particularly with my friends. I always get to hear what they’re working on and you can’t help but get excited. But as you get older, it’s more nerve-wracking releasing new music. The music industry is changing all the time, there’s a lot of young people doing different stuff and you kind of think: ‘oh god, is there still a place for me in the music industry?’
Dave: It’s been over three years since we had any new music from you. Maybe put out a little EP?
Dannii: I know, I know! We’ll see. At the moment, I’m just getting through each day trying not to get a nappy stuck in my hair. But maybe one day we’ll put the disco heels back on and get back into the clubs!
Dave: It’s no secret that we love you. What do you think makes your relationship with the gay community so special?
Dannii: I think it’s a bond that has matured over many years, built on the support that I’ve had and certain things I’ve done. In London a big part of that is all the performances I’ve done at G-A-Y. When I first started performing there, it wasn’t the normal thing to do as part of a pop promotion. In fact, people were worried that if you performed at a gay club, it would be a bad thing for your music. But I knew people that went to this club loved the music I did so I thought, ‘I’m gonna put that aside and I’m still gonna perform at this club – and I don’t care what anybody thinks of it.’ It’s those statements that you make when you’re putting your faith in somebody that they then trust you with that in return. I absolutely love being a part of the gay music scene. I think it’s fun music. It makes me happy. I always tune into JOY 94.9 when I come home to Melbourne.
Dave: Let’s talk about a very exciting new chapter in your life – being a mum. What’s been the most unexpected thing about motherhood?
Dannii: Well it’s very un-Disco Dannii to be a mum. I just said to Kris the other day that when Ethan‘s a toddler, I won’t be able to wear the heels because I won’t be able to run after him. It’s life changing from the heels to everything else. Your whole world becomes dominated by making this little person happy. It’s a big learning curve and I’m glad that my brother, who already has two children, can show me the ropes so if there’s anything I’m freaking out about, I’ve got him on speed dial.
Dannii Minogue‘s autobiography My Story is in stores Monday.
Check out our radio show: Diff’rent Strokes on JOY 94.9