After writing about Ricki-Lee's recent UK signing, I was inspired to find out what my other favourite Aussie divas have been up to in January. I could probably write a ten thousand word essay about Kylie's hectic schedule (when does that woman sleep?) but everything seems to change on a daily basis, so I'll be brief.
1. "Wow" is a great choice for the second single in Australia, Japan and the UK. The countries that have embraced Kylie from the beginning get a glorious dose of nostalgia, while the rest of Europe gets something more contemporary in the guise of "In My Arms". Also, as a Kylie collecting nerd, the prospect of so many different covers and formats makes me giddy!
2. I'm completely ambivalent to "2 Hearts" being selected as the lead US single. No offence to Kylie's small band of loyal American fans but I think a stateside campaign is a complete waste of time. Surely it makes more sense to concentrate on markets where she will actually be played on the radio and taken somewhat seriously.
3. The various "Wow" formats in the UK are fucking AMAZING:
Do It Again
Wow (Death Metal Disco Scene Mix)
12" Picture Disc
Wow (CSS Remix)
Wow (Fuck Me I'm Famous Remix By David Guetta + Joachim Garraud)
Wow (MSTRKRFT Remix)
In addition to those three formats there will be two digital bundles with all the remixes from the 12" picture disc as well as Mark Brown's Pacha Ibiza Upper Terrace Mix of "2 Hearts" as an iTunes exclusive! The "Wow" remixes have already leaked and I'm particularly taken with the Death Metal Disco Scene Mix, which transforms "Wow" into the twisted sister of "2 Hearts" with an even darker edge. It shouldn't work but it does - unlike David Guetta's disappointing effort. I can take or leave the CSS and MSTRKRFT remixes but I'm gagging to hear the 3 B-sides! "Carried Away" and "Do It Again" are credited to Greg Kurstin, Kylie and Karen Poole (the same team behind "Wow"), while "Cherry Bomb" is apparently the handiwork of Bloodshy & Avant ("Speakerphone" and "Nu-Di-Ty").
Speaking of Minogues, the more talented and beautiful sister is releasing a new single in Australia this week - not that anyone appears to have noticed. "Touch Me Like That" looks set to suffer the same floptastic fate as it did in the UK. Dannii's brilliant anthem is receiving no airplay and is yet to dent iTunes' top 100. The physical single includes 12 (yes, 12!) remixes, so hopefully fans are stocking up on that instead. Order your copy from Chaos today. Your Dannii needs you!
Yet another diva with a Minogue connection is Kate Alexa. Australian pop fans may remember her top 10 hit "All I Hear" but Kate is probably better remembered for the flack she copped as the daughter of Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski - the man who first gave Kylie a recording contract back in 1987. I couldn't care less about the claims of nepotism. Kate's album was a lot of fun and she managed to score 4 top 30 hits, no easy feat regardless of her father's connections. It is something of an understatement to say that Kate's sound and image has had a complete overhaul. Pimped and preened by Kylie's right hand man, William Baker, Kate returns to the pop scene with a scorching cover of Womack & Womack's "Teardrops" featuring US rapper Baby Bash! I can't wait for the video clip!
Another Australian diva spending January hard at work is the legendary Olivia Newton-John, who released a live album in the US this week. If you overlook the hideously cheap cover (above), the album is rather lovely. Recorded at the Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, "Olivia's Live Hits" boasts stunning renditions of classics like "Xanadu", "Physical" and "Magic". There's still no word on an Australian release but you can order the American version and the accompanying DVD from Amazon. In addition to "Live Hits", Olivia also features on Anne Murray's latest album and is in the middle of filming a television series based on her 1999 film "Sordid Lives". Olivia reprises her role as beer swilling bar singer Bitsy Mae and contributes 5 new songs to the TV soundtrack.
In news that will no doubt rock the gay community to its very core, local legend Melissa Tkautz has been signed to Central Station Records and is threatening to release a new single in early 2008. Mel is performing at Australia Day celebrations in Parramatta this weekend (alongside the equally lovely Brielle Davis) before returning to her gay stomping ground with a show at this year's Fair Day on the 17th of February. Queensland poofs can bask in the glory of Melissa when she catches the bus up to Brisbane for the Big Gay Day on the 9th of March. I'm still trying to get details about the album but it appears to be a mix of tracks from her amazing scrapped opus "The Glamorous Life" together with new material. I'm beside myself!
While Melissa returns to music, the divine Deni Hines (above left) has announced a break from touring to film an Eco-tv series in the Northern Territory! Deni isn't the only diva turning to TV in 2008. Jade Macrae has been announced in the line up for the latest series of channel 7's It Takes Two, which should provide a nice boost for the upcoming release of her second album, "Get Me Home". Jade will be joined on the show by ex-Australian Idol fag Anthony Callea (who is appearing in the Australian production of "Wicked" - as a munchkin!) and the omnipresent Ricki-Lee. Paulini must be spitting chips over losing her spot to a former Young Diva!
Yet another Idol alumni gracing tv screens in 2008 is the fabulous Courtney Act, who will no doubt raise eyebrows as the first tranny to compete on Dancing With The Stars. I really hope she wins! In another exciting development, Robyn Loau is providing the soundtrack to this year's season of The Biggest Loser with her lovely ballad "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime", which is available to download from iTunes now. Robyn's classy cameo appearance on Neighbours will grace UK tv screens in January, while her collaboration with Josh Abrahams, "Hard", is about to hit Australian clubs. Expect "Hard" to garner a certain amount controversy - it's a dance tune about the Columbine shootings! The song is streaming on Robyn's Myspace, so have a listen. I think it's brilliant. Robyn has come a LONG way since the days of Girlfriend!
Last and least is British nobody turned "Australian" pop princess Amy Pearson. I still can't decide if I moderately like her or hate her but I'm leaning toward the latter if her new "inspirational" anthem for the Beijing Olympics is any indication. "Ready To Fly" is dreary rubbish of the worst kind but I'll reserve my opinion on Amy until I have time to process her debut album, "Who I Am", scheduled for release on the 24th of March.