Kylie Minogue Is the Soccer of Pop Artists: Huge Worldwide, Never Caught On in North America

Kylie Minogue Is the Soccer of Pop Artists: Huge Worldwide, Never Caught On in North America
Photo: Simon Emmett
Kylie Minogue doesn't make trends so much as ride them. Like fellow cultural icon Madonna (forever the female pop singer ideal), the pint-sized Australian pop behemoth — at least outside of North America — has forged her own path. She transitioned seamlessly from TV actress to teen pop stardom to international phenom, fending off commercial flops, cancer and the paparazzi (thanks to a rash of celebrity paramours) along the way. It's an enviable journey, a blueprint for all the Selenas, Demis and Ariannas of the world as they make their way out of the teen-pop ghetto. As Minogue readies her 14th studio album, Golden, we look back on the Aussie megastar's long career of hits and misses.
1968 to 1985
Kylie Ann Minogue is born on May 28, 1968 in Melbourne, Australia. Her brother Brendan follows in 1970 and sister Dannielle (Dannii) in 1971. Her father, Ron, is a certified accountant and works for a family-owned car company, while her mother, Carol, a one-time professional ballet dancer who was born in Wales, works as a tea lady in a hospital. The family moves often, which Kylie finds socially isolating. Kylie eschews outdoor activities for reading, sewing and learning to play the violin and piano. She loves ABBA and Olivia Newton John, particularly in the film version of Grease. As she gets older she turns to R&B like Donna Summer, Prince and Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing."
Both Kylie and Danni take singing and dancing lessons. In her first public performance, Kylie plays "Run Rabbit Run" on the piano at a local arts festival and wins second prize. Yet Dannii is the budding star. At the age of seven Dannii persuades her parents to enrol her in the Johnny Young Talent School, and in 1982, joins the school's very popular TV show Young Talent Time. Kylie sorts through her younger sister's fan mail after school, often forging her signature on photos.
The siblings' aunt Suzette is an established actress and arranges for an audition for Danni. Mom brings all three kids, and while Dannii is too young for the role, ten-year-old Kylie is cast by producer Alan Hardy as Carla in The Sullivans, a World War II-era soap opera. (Dannii would later take over the part.) The job kicks off a string of parts on local TV spots for Kylie: In 1980, she appears in an episode of Skyways, and becomes a series regular on The Henderson Kids in 1985.
1986 to 1988
Minogue gets her big break in 1986 when she's cast in the soap opera Neighbours as Charlene Robinson. She'll win three Logie Awards (Australian Emmys) for her work. But it's in Britain, where the show attracts a record numbers of viewers, that her career really takes flight. Jason Donovan, whom she begins dating in 1986, plays Kylie's onscreen husband. Their characters' onscreen wedding was "an international event" in 1987 according to the Daily Mail, watched by 20 million viewers in the UK and Australia. The couple appear on the cover of Time magazine.
Melbourne-based Mushroom Records signs Minogue to a recording contract after seeing her perform at a Fitzroy Football Club benefit concert along with other Neighbours cast members. "There was a guy who worked at the TV station where we shot Neighbours and produced a music show, and he came up to me afterwards, and said, 'Oh that was really good, you should make a record,'" Minogue will say in a 2003 TV documentary.
During the benefit she performs a duet of "I Got You Babe" and, for the encore, "The Loco-Motion." The latter, retitled "Locomotion," becomes her debut single — the highest-selling single of the decade in Australia. "I did record a demo of 'Locomotion' and the demo vocals were the vocals that stayed on 'Locomotion' that became a hit around the world."
Though not unprecedented, the idea of a TV star making the transition to music was unusual at the time and Minogue's success is met with derision from many critics, some co-stars and even employees of her own record label. "There were people at the time saying, 'This is the end of Mushroom — how can you be doing this?'" former Mushroom head Michael Gudinski will tell The Sunday Morning Herald in 2012. "It didn't faze me." The media dubs her "The Singing Budgie."
For its followup, Minogue travels to England to meet with '80s synth-pop super producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (known professionally as Stock Aitken Waterman, or SAW) best known for their assembly line-style production on career defining hits for Bananarama, Rick Astley and Dead or Alive. By the time Minogue walks through their door, they've already sold 37 million records.
The 19-year-old Minogue spends ten days in a London hotel room waiting for the producers to call; they've forgotten she's even in town. They finally hook up on her last day and write and record "I Should Be So Lucky" in 40 minutes, between sessions with Bananarama and Astley. "We treated Kylie rather shabbily," Mike Stock will say in 2003. "She came to London to work for us, and on the last day, I get her in for 40 minutes and then tell her to go back home." Nevertheless, the song goes to number one in both Australia and the UK, and charts on the Hot 100 in the U.S. She reteams with SAW for "Got to Be Certain," which continues her streak of hits both at home and abroad. Following its release in May, 1988, "Locomotion" is released in the United States and hits number three on the charts.
In June, 1988, Minogue films her final scenes for Neighbours; her character moves to Brisbane. Her debut, Kylie, is released in July. It hits number two in Australia and number one in the UK, going on to sell over five million copies world wide, over two million in the UK alone, the first female solo album to do so. Its success also makes Minogue the youngest female singer to have a number one album in the UK, a record that will stand until Avril Lavigne's Let Go tops the UK charts in 2002. Conversely, it only reaches #53 on U.S. charts. The record spawns six singles. The Kylie Collection, a VHS compilation of music videos — unremarkable and cheesy clips that present the singer as a clean-cut teen — is released in December.
Embarking on his own music career, Donovan also signs with Mushroom and begins working with SAW. He and Minogue release the duet "Especially for You" which later appears on Donovan's 1989 debut, Ten Good Reasons. The single's success adds to Minogue's growing string of international hits.
In July of 1987 Minogue meets INXS frontman Michael Hutchence at the Countdown Awards. Urban legend has it that Hutchence, eight years her senior, declares his desire to have sex with the 19-year-old singer, who is accompanied by Donovan. "I'm not going to say exactly what the line was, because I like that it was just between him and I. But it was something like that," she'll tell 60 Minutes Australia in 2014. "I was probably taken aback, but quite intrigued." The two cross paths a year later at an INXS concert. She and Donovan go back to the band's hotel to hang.
In April, "Hand on Your Heart," the first single from her sophomore album, is released. It's another SAW production and another chart topper in the UK. Enjoy Yourself, recorded while Minogue is still promoting her debut, treads similar musical ground featuring plenty of bubblegum synth-pop in the vein of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Nevertheless, it is another UK number one, selling a million copies in its first ten weeks of release going on to shift four million units.
It fails to chart in the U.S. when it's released the following year by Geffen, a commercial failure that ensures none of her subsequent records gets a North American release until 2001.
In August, Minogue takes a break in Hong Kong on the eve of Disco in Dreams, a SAW package tour featuring Sinitta and Dead or Alive; Minogue headlines. Hutchence, currently Australia's biggest rock star, owns an apartment there, and the two begin spending time together.
Looking to distance herself from the girl-next-door image of her Neighbours character, Minogue guests on an episode of cult Australian sketch comedy show, The Comedy Company.
In December she stars in her first feature film, The Delinquents. Though poorly received critically, the film is the most financially successful Australian film of 1990. Set in 1950s Australia, the film features Minogue as a rebellious teen who falls in love with a boy her parents disapprove of. David Bowie is originally set to do the soundtrack and executive produce, but backs out early on. A cover of Little Anthony and the Imperials' doo-wop hit "Tears on My Pillow" is featured in the film and is released as Enjoy Yourself's final single.
SAW oversee the recording of a second version of the charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at the request of Bob Geldof, featuring many of their regular stable of collaborators, including Minogue.
In February Minogue sets out on her first concert tour. The Enjoy Yourself Tour hits the UK, Australia, Europe and Asia. Minogue and Hutchence are already the subject of gossip, and a phone call to Donovan, who is in New York, from Minogue in Japan ends their relationship.
Her relationship with Hutchence makes the two magnets for tabloids: Minogue had yet to completely shed her girl-next-door image, while Hutchence had a rep for cycling through models and drugs. A famous urban legend has the two joining the mile-high club while the Australian Prime Minister is sitting in the seat in front of them. By his own admission, Donovan takes the breakup hard. "It's a difficult thing to be dropped by a woman, but not only a woman, but someone of her status," he'll says in a 2012 interview with Piers Morgan. "But you move on. I never went to an INXS concert after that."
She spends the spring and summer working on her next album. In April, she releases "Better the Devil You Know," another SAW production. Its sound, lyrics and accompanying music video present a more mature, assured and less chaste Minogue. Gone is the big hair in favour a sleeker, sexier image. In November, Rhythm of Love is released, featuring a more dance-oriented sound. Stock-Aitken-Waterman are its primary producers, but in seeking more creative control, Minogue brings in outside writers and producers, including Madonna collaborator Stephen Bray. Minogue later credits Hutchence for encouraging her to take more control of her career and pushing her toward the more club-friendly aesthetic. Both the album and its singles do well commercially, but don't match Minogue's previous heights. Critics are far kinder than they've previously been.
Scott Aitken leaves the SAW production team, citing burnout. "People say all our records sound the same," he'll tell The Guardian in 2005. "But it came to a point where they all started sounding the same to me."
Contractually, Minogue owes Mushroom and PWL (Waterman's record label, who release Minogue's records in the UK) another record; she writes six songs with Stock and Waterman. She is becoming more enamoured with the dance music world and drops a couple of white-label 12-inch singles under the name Angel K. Dance. Mixes of "Closer" and "Do You Dare" later appear as B-sides.
In the fall, Let's Get to It is released. Album closer, "I Guess I Like It Like That," features a sample from 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This." "If You Were with Me Now" is a duet with R&B singer Keith Washington, while "Give Me Just a Little More Time" is written and produced with '70s R&B producers Ronald Dunbar and Edyth Wayne.
Despite flexing her newfound creative freedom, Let's Get to It is a relative failure commercially when it's released at the end of the year. A tour, ostensibly to promote the new album, starts in May. More a continuation of the Rhythm of Love tour, it highlights the non-stop schedule endured by Minogue during this period. Costumes, by designer John Galliano, reflect Minogue's new, more sophisticated aesthetic. In February, amidst rumours of infidelity, including a tryst with Belinda Carlisle, Hutchence dumps Minogue for Danish supermodel Helena Christensen over the phone. Crushed and on the rebound, she retreats to Paris. She is later rumoured to be living with Lenny Kravitz.
1992 to 1994
Her contract with PWL up (she remains with Mushroom in Australia), the label releases Greatest Hits, featuring three new tracks, including a cover of Kool and the Gang's "Celebration." It goes platinum in both the UK and Australia.
Kylie signs with Deconstruction. She takes a more active role in picking collaborators and spends much of 1993 working on new material with both Saint Etienne and the Rapino Brothers, but the resulting tracks feel too much like her old material. UK DJs Steve Anderson and Dave Seaman from Brothers in Rhythm end up producing much of the album, which also features the song "Falling" written by Pet Shop Boys.
Released in September of 1994, Kylie Minogue is her first record without the SAW team, and features a variety of sounds and styles, including house, techno and new jack swing. "Confide in Me," the album's lead single, becomes one of her biggest hits. The video for its followup, "Put Yourself In My Place," recreates the opening scene from Barbarella, in which Jane Fonda strips while floating around her room. The record sells well and is relatively well regarded by critics.
In 1993, Minogue is seen disappearing into the bathroom with Lemonheads singer Evan Dando at a party. Dando, at the time a massive star known for dating a string of high-profile stars, spent most of the '90s living in Australia. She'll later confirms the tryst. She's quoted in Sean Smith's unauthorized 2006 biography, Kylie, explaining, "There was some frivolity."
In 1994, she guests on an episode of the popular BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley.
In December Minogue appears in the big screen adaptation of Capcom's Street Fighter videogame series as Cammy. Under pressure from the Australian Actor's Guild to hire an Aussie actor (part of the movie was filmed there), director Steven E de Souza picks Minogue after seeing her picture in a copy of Who Magazine, which has named Minogue one of the "30 Most Beautiful People in the World." She is hired the next day. Street Fighter: The Movie stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, who has a serious drug problem at the time.
In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Van Damme admits that the two had an on-set romance. "It happened. I was in Thailand, we had an affair. Sweet kiss, beautiful lovemaking. It would be abnormal not to have had an affair, she's so beautiful and she was there in front of me every day with a beautiful smile, simpatico, so charming, she wasn't acting like a big star. I knew Thailand very well, so I showed her my Thailand. She's a great lady."
Despite grossing $100 million, the film is a critical bomb; Sight & Sound magazine singles out Minogue for "hilarious miscasting as a military wench with Heidi plaits. There merest glimpse of her holding a bazooka and looking mean is enough to induce giggles in the most dour of viewers."
Minogue stars in Hayride to Hell, a short film from director Kimble Rendall, a founding member of punk band XL Capris, and later a member of Hoodoo Gurus.
In August, Minogue joins Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on stage in Cork, Ireland, performing a new song. In October, Cave releases "Where the Wild Roses Grow," a duet with Minogue. Cave claims he's had a "quiet obsession" with Minogue for years and wrote the song specifically with her in mind. "I wrote several songs for her, none of which I felt was appropriate to give her," he'll tell Jeff Jenkins and Ian Meldrum for their 2007 book Molly Meldrum Presents 50 Years of Rock in Australia. Cave reportedly gets Minogue's number to pitch her the track from Hutchence, a good friend. "It was only when I wrote this song, which is a dialogue between a killer and his victim, that I thought finally I'd written the right song for Kylie to sing." Though it only gets a limited release in North America, it goes top 20 in the UK and top five in the two artists' native Australia. Such chart placements are par for the course for Minogue, but it's Cave's highest charting song ever, even going Gold in Germany. Rumours that the two are dating swirl, but a romantic relationship is never confirmed.
1996 to 1997
Minogue plays Dr. Petra Von Kant in the Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin stoner-comedy Bio-Dome, which is released in January, 1996. The film currently holds a Metacritic score of 1 out of 100. After filming is completed, she dates Shore for about four months before meeting music video director Stephane Sednaoui.
Cave convinces Kylie to perform a dramatic reading of the lyrics to "I Should Be So Lucky" at the 1996 Poetry Olympics at Royal Albert Hall. With both Sednaoui and Cave's encouragement, Minogue takes even more control of her next album. Compounding her newfound freedom was the absence of Deconstruction's A&R person Pete Hadfield, due to illness. After travelling the world with Sednaoui, she writes lyrics, which she presents to Brothers in Rhythm for them to build tracks around. Inspired by Björk, the Prodigy, Garbage and Eels, she wants a more electronic sound. She veers even further from her traditional dance pop, collaborating with Manic Street Preachers and incorporating live instruments for the first time in her career.
In 1997 she guests on an episode of British comedy Men Behaving Badly.
Impossible Princess is released in October 1997. The record veers from techno, drum & bass, trip-hop and even Britpop. By Minogue's high bar of success, the record fairs poorly in the UK and Europe. Its release there is delayed in order to reprint album sleeves after the death of Princess Diana. Retitled Kylie Minogue, it reclaims its original title when it's remastered in 2003, at which time it also receives critical reappraisal.
In November, Hutchence is found dead in his hotel room in Sydney from an apparent suicide. Following the initial sting of their breakup, Minogue and Hutchence had become close friends. Minogue attends the funeral at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney where Cave plays "Into Your Arms" on piano.
She and Sednaoui split, after which she has a brief fling with Tim Jeffries. In November, double disc Intimate and Live is Minogue's first live album. Nevertheless, the poor commercial performance of Impossible Princess causes Deconstruction to drop her from their roster.
Minogue begins a short-lived romance with British actor Rupert Penry-Jones, after whom she moves on to model James Gooding. Her time with Deconstruction helps her move away from the teen pop that had defined the first phase of her career, but it's a rough transition: both Kylie Minogue and Impossible Princess fail to live up to previous commercial heights. While "Sexy Kylie" is a more mature image, she fails to find a new musical identity, and many in the music industry feel her best days are behind her.
Parlophone signs Minogue in April. "There was something there that hadn't been achieved by her last label, and I didn't think it really had anything to do with her," Mile Leonard, the EMI/Parlophone UK A&R who signed her, will say in a 2002 interview with "The media still loved her, because she was always a star. I knew that she could walk into any TV station or magazine. However, would they accept her for her music or as a fashion icon? It was about turning that perception around."
Work begins on her seventh album, with the clear intention of making an unabashed pop record. "I felt she was a pop artist, and that that direction had been lost before," says Leonard. "But I didn't want to make a throwaway pop record, I wanted it to have an edge and some depth, and that could only come from working with the right songwriters and producers." Among her collaborators are Richard Stannard and Julian Gallagher, part of the British song writing team Biffco. In October she appears on the Pet Shop Boys track "In Denial" from the duo's Nightlife album.
In February, Minogue makes a cameo in Rendall's slasher film Cut, starring Molly Ringwald. It's the year's second biggest Australian film behind Strictly Ballroom. She also appears in the Australian film Sample People.
"Spinning Around," the first single from her new Parlophone album, is released in June and becomes Minogue's first UK number one in a decade. The song is written by Paula Abdul, intended to be part of her comeback album that never materialized. A video, directed by Dawn Shadforth, is set in a disco, with Minogue dancing in a pair of gold hot pants. "The most famous hot pants in the annals of music," as 60 Minutes Australia will put it in 2014, cost less than a dollar and turn Minogue into an overnight sex symbol. They are now part of the Melbourne Arts Centre's archives.
Light Years arrives in September, boasting a host of kitschy dance-pop, house, Eurodisco and French Touch sounds. Subsequent singles "On a Night Like This" and "Kids," a duet with Robbie Williams, both hit number 2 in the UK. Allmusic later calls the Robbie Williams-Guy Chambers penned "Your Disco Needs You" "probably one of the best dance songs of the 90s." Light Years is certified platinum in the UK and four times platinum in Australia.
Looking to cash in on the attention, Deconstruction shrewdly assembles Hits+ featuring tracks from her previous two records, along with B-sides, acoustic versions and her Nick Cave duet. Deconstruction releases an even more irrelevant compilation from the two albums the following year, called Confide in Me. An art book called Kylie features both collaborations with her creative director William Baker and pieces from fans.
Following the completion of the "On a Night Like This" tour, Minogue begins work on a quick followup, diving even deeper into club elements. "We always had a more electronic, programmed and contemporary sound in mind," says Leonard. "And that's what we've achieved with the new album."
Fever arrives in the fall in Australia and the UK, debuting at number one in both countries. It goes on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Minogue's fashion designer, William Baker, describes the record's aesthetic as "slick, minimalist and postmodern." First single "Can't Get You Out of My Head," co-written by Rob Davis, former guitarist of glam rock band Mud, becomes embroiled in a media-driven chart battle with former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham's single "Not Such an Innocent Girl." Minogue outsells Beckham ten to one.
She cameos in Baz Luhrman's international hit Moulin Rouge! as the Green Fairy.
Minogue models for Agent Provocateur lingerie; the "Proof," ad, in which she rides a red velvet mechanical bull in Agent Provocateur underwear, soundtracked by the Hives "Main Offender," is banned on television and shown only in movie theatres.
In February, Capitol releases Fever in the U.S., the first Minogue record to be released there in 13 years. It eventually goes platinum. The pulsing dance-groove of "Can't Get You Out of My Head" connects with American audiences, reaching number seven on the Hot 100. Its video, again directed by Shadforth, wins Best Dance Video at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. In March, Minogue is the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. In April she begins the KylieFever2002 tour, hitting Europe and Australia. Her Manchester performance is released as a DVD in November. A Michel Gondry-directed clip for "Come Into My World" hits airwaves in November. With Minogue's career enjoying a massive boost from her North American breakthrough, PWL releases Greatest Hits 87-92. She meets French model Olivier Martinez and the two begin seeing each other. Biography, photo and art book Kylie: La La La is released in November.
Minogue's parents donate 600 items from her costume collection to the Melbourne Arts Centre. The centre's Research Manager Janine Barrand creates Kylie: The Exhibition, featuring clothes and costumes from across her career. It tours the country. "It is unusual to receive such a complete collection that tells the whole story of an artist," Barrand will say in 2007.
Continuing to work at a hectic pace, sessions for a followup begin in March, with Minogue and her collaborators taking inspiration from '80s electronic music, particularly Prince, new romantic/new wave and electro-clash. Body Language is released in November. Lead single "Slow" is co-written by Icelandic singer-songwriter Emiliana Torrini. On November 15th a fans only concert called Money Can't Buy is held at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. The show costs a million pounds to produce and features outfits designed by Chanel, Balenciaga and Helmut Lang. The show will be released as the Body Language Live DVD in 2004. Minogue launches a lingerie line called LoveKylie.
Minogue guests on Aussie satirical sitcom Kath & Kim.
The career-spanning Ultimate Kylie is released in November and includes two new songs. "I Believe in You" is co-written with Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears and BabyDaddy. It goes triple platinum in the UK and quadruple platinum in her native Australia. Minogue wins her first and only Grammy Award when "Come into My World" nabs Best Dance Recording.
She lends her voice to the CGI animated flick The Magic Roundabout, which is renamed Doogal for its North American release.
In March, she heads out on the "Showgirl: Greatest Hits" tour to promote Ultimate Kylie. After the European leg, the 36-year-old Minogue heads home to Melbourne. On May 17, she is diagnosed with breast cancer; she cancels the Australian and Asian legs of the tour and four days later undergoes a partial mastectomy and begins eight months of chemotherapy. Media coverage is overwhelmingly sympathetic and the singer is praised for making her battle relatively public.
Recorded in London earlier in the year, the half-hour long live album Showgirl is released on DVD and as a digital download in December.
Penguin releases The Showgirl Princess, a children's book written by Minogue.
While undergoing cancer treatment, Minogue begins writing lyrics for her next album and returns to the studio in May, at first working the both Shears and BabyDaddy as well as the Biffco team. Calvin Harris works on "In My Arms," while Mark Ronson co-produces "Boys Boys Boys."
In November she is given the all clear from her doctors and resumes the Showgirl tour. Her Sydney performance is filmed and released as the double live album Showgirl Homecoming Live the following year. "It's quite difficult to talk about it in interview situations, because it's deep and it's long and it's involved and it's hard to really say what it was in a neat package," she'll say of the experience while speaking with The Guardian in 2015.
Swedish indie-folk singer Jose Gonzalez records an acoustic version of "Hand on Your Heart" and releases it as a single.
In November, Coty, Inc releases her first branded perfume, "Darling," which comes with a similarly named EP of live tracks and previously released material.
She splits with Martinez. Tabloids suggest infidelity on his part, but the two maintain the split is amicable.
In February, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London hosts Kylie: The Exhibition; it's the first time the museum features a performer rather than a designer.
In July, she films a guest appearance as Astrid Peth in the Doctor Who Christmas special Voyage of the Damned.
She finishes her latest comeback album in August. Many big name stars are asked to submit songs for consideration — Pet Shop Boys, Boy George, Goldfrapp and Hot Chip, among many others, reportedly all write songs that are either never used or remain unreleased.
In October, the documentary White Diamond: A Personal Portrait of Kylie Minogue is released. Directed by Minogue's longtime fashion designer William Baker, and filmed during Showgirl: The Homecoming Tour, it chronicles her long career.
Her tenth album, X, is released in November. ITV airs The Kylie Show, a one-off special to promote the record and Minogue's two decades in music. The variety style program mixes live performances with sketches and features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Parisian cabaret dancers the Crazy Horse Girls, Simon Cowell, Joan Collins, Jason Donovan and her sister Dannii. X goes platinum in the UK and Australia. It peaks at 139 on the Billboard 200 in the States, but clocks in at number four on the Electronic Albums chart, signifying the unique space the singer occupies in the minds of American fans.
While filming an ad for her perfume, she meets model Andres Velencoso and the two begin a five-year relationship. In August, Minogue expresses disappointment with X, noting to The Sun that while she like the singles, "2 Hearts" and "In My Arms," "we definitely could have bettered it… it was what it was." She launches a Kylie at Home, a home furnishings line.
Minogue cameos in Blue, a Bollywood remake of the 2005 Jessica Alba/Paul Walker deep-sea diving thriller Into the Blue. Another box-office bomb, she appears during a musical sequence. She also lends her vocals to the song "Monkey Man" by kids group the Wiggles.
Minogue embarks on her first-ever North American tour. "On a purely financial, boring logistical note, it's not something that bean counters would say, 'Yeah, that's a great idea!'" she'll recall to Rolling Stone in 2018. "But at this point in my life and my career, I think, 'Man, I really wanna go and see these people! Find a way and make it happen!'" Playing just six dates, including one show in Toronto, Kylie Live in New York, recorded at the Hammerstein Ballroom in October, commemorates the event.
Aphrodite is released in July. It's a return to the dance-pop/disco roots of Fever, updated for the new decade. Writing credits include Calvin Harris, Jake Shears, Richard X, Swedish House Mafia's Sebastian Ingrosso and Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley. The record debuts at number one in the UK and sells platinum.
She appears on "Devotion" by synth-pop duo Hurts, which is released on their album Happiness in August.
The video game Kylie: Sing and Dance is released for the Nintendo Wii.
In November the live CD/DVD Aphrodite Les Folies: Live in London, as well as the A Kylie Christmas EP, are released. That same month, she duets with Taio Cruz on his single "Higher."
In February, Minogue becomes the first artist to hold two of the top three spots on the Billboard Dance/Club Play songs chart, with "Better Than Today" from Aphrodite topping the chart, and her Taio Cruz collab coming in at number three.
Minogue is inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in November.
To celebrate her 25 years as a pop star (a yearlong event dubbed "K25"), EMI releases an updated hits record featuring no new or unreleased material called The Best of Kylie Minogue. A single box set called K25 Time Capsule arrives in October. That same month, The Abbey Road Sessions offers 16 orchestral reworks from across her catalogue.
Coty, Inc releases "Music Box," her tenth fragrance, to coincide with the anniversary. She embarks on the four-date Anti Tour, where she eschews hits for B-sides and rarities.
In May, she releases the standalone single "Timebomb."
Minogue plays Eva/Jean in the critically acclaimed French-German film Holy Motors. Director Carax hires Minogue after French filmmaker Claire Denis recommends her for the part. She also appears in the film Jack & Diane. She and Icelandic group múm collaborate on the song "Whistle" which appears on its soundtrack.
Minogue and Velencoso split, blaming busy work schedules. The following year, Minogue describes the split as amicable. She also splits with her manager, with whom she's worked since the beginning of her career. She later signs with Roc Nation.
In September, she duets with Italian singer Laura Pausini on the song "Limpido" which goes to number one in Italy.
Kiss Me Once, her 12th studio record, is released in March. The album is executive produced by Sia and features a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, but the singles struggle to crack the Top 40.
She records her show in Glasgow, releasing it at Kiss Me Once: Live at the SSE Hydro the following March.
Minogue plays herself in 20,000 Days on Earth, Nick Cave's docudrama about his career. In the short scene, she discusses both their collaboration on "Where the Wild Roses Grow" as well as her legacy. "I worry about being forgotten," she admits, "and about being lonely." A performance of their duet at the Koko in London appears as a DVD outtake.
In August, she performs at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Minogue is a judge on both the UK and Australian versions of The Voice.
Sleepwalker is released in September. An EP, it's a collaboration between Minogue and producer Fernando Garibay. In November, she publicly announces her relationship with British actor Joshua Sasse, who is almost two decades her junior.
Minogue covers INXS's "Need You Tonight" during the second leg of her Kiss Me Once tour. A self-titled followup EP with Garibay arrives in September. Notably, Italo-disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder co-produces all three tracks.
In October, Minogue, Shears and Nile Rodgers appear on "The Other Boys" from Australian DJ duo Nervo, which tops the U.S. dance charts.
She takes part in the anniversary special Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, and guests on the American TV series Young & Hungry as a tech reporter. She also appears in the Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson disaster flick San Andreas.
Minogue drops Kylie Christmas for the holidays. A cover of Yazoo's "Only You," a duet with friend James Corden, is released as its first single.
Minogue covers Bob Dylan and the Band's "This Wheel's on Fire," which becomes the theme song of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Kylie Christmas is reissued as The Snow Queen Edition. It includes an additional six songs and closes out her record deal with Parlophone. Her December holiday performance to promote the record is released as A Kylie Christmas – Live from the Royal Albert Hall 2015.  She guests on the season 2 premier of Galavant and cameos as herself in British film The Christmas Star.
In February she calls off her engagement to Joshua Sasse, announcing their split on Instagram. Rumours suggest he had been cheating on her with Spanish actress Marta Milans. That same month she signs with BMG Rights Management (Mushroom continues to release her records in Australia and New Zealand). She also settles a trademark dispute with American reality TV star Kylie Jenner over the name "Kylie," which Jenner tried to trademark in 2015. Minogue's people filed an opposition describing their client as an "internationally renowned performing artist, humanitarian and breast cancer survivor" while dismissing Jenner as a "secondary reality television personality."
She stars in Australian comedy-drama Swinging Safari opposite Guy Pearce. The film is written and directed by Stephan Elliott, who also wrote and directed The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
In March, Minogue releases her 14th studio album Golden; she has a co-writing credit on every song. Recorded in London and Los Angeles with many of her usual collaborators, she also records parts in Nashville, working with Taylor Swift's producer Nathan Chapman. "The city's so cool, it's so historic," she tells Rolling Stone. "I felt like I was at the altar of the song, and you get to watch all of these people perform." The sessions produce three songs, and the country influence is apparent on lead single "Dancing." Not only does the song return Minogue to the UK singles chart for the first time since 2015, it makes waves on charts and in territories where the singer has never had an impact, opening yet more fronts on her ever-evolving career.
The Essential Kylie Minogue
Light Years (2000)
A breath of fresh air and campy ode to dance culture, it's easily the most fun record of Minogue's long career, anchored by some of her best singles, including "Spinning Around." Its massive success set the stage for her post-millennial second coming.
Fever (2001/2002)
Keeping her ear firmly tuned to the dance floor, Minogue ditches the disco-kitsch of Light Years and casts her eyes to the future. "Can't Get You Out of My Head" was a worldwide smash, and finally broke the singer in North America, but this is a rare event-pop album where the whole is as strong as its component parts.
The Best of Kylie Minogue (2012)
At the end of the day, Minogue is a singles artist, and a damn good one. Her discography is riddled with best of comps, each made irrelevant by the addition of yet another chart milestone. As such, this 2012 assemblage is currently the best summation of her ever-expanding arsenal.