Kylie Minogue on her new wine brand, her next album and staying curious

On a recent Monday night at Cafe Carlyle, one of the Upper East Side’s most famous jazz spots, Kylie Minogue could be found leading a crowd that included Lucy Liu, Coco Rocha and a who’s-who of New York fashion designers in a simultaneous chant. “la la la” in the chorus of his iconic hit, “Can’t Get You Out My Head”. She’s performed the song countless times on stages around the world since its release 21 years ago, but it turns out that was the first time she’d done it in the style of an arrangement of stripped down and jazzy piano bar. The room was so small that even when she wasn’t singing directly into the mic, you could still hear her voice carrying through the audience. “Normally I would probably have said, ‘Well, could we have an acoustic version of the band? ‘” she said later that week, sitting on a couch in a suite at the Carlyle Hotel. “They said, there really is no space.” Instead, she crafted completely new piano arrangements for five songs, just for the night. After three and a half decades in the business, if Kylie Minogue wants to do something, she’ll do it well, especially if it means trying new things.

The performance was the culmination of a lightning bolt across New York City promoting Minogue’s recent move into an entirely new industry: Kylie Minogue Wines. (She “promotes that bottle of wine harder than most big pop girls promote their albums,” joked a Tweet.) Since its international launch in 2020, the brand has become a runaway success. Over five million bottles of wine have been sold, its rosé range is said to have become one of the best-selling in the UK and it won a Golden Vine Award for Wine Entrepreneurialism in 2021. “My main concern was quality, said Minogue of her product. “There’s no point in wasting my time – and everyone’s time – if this was a product that we didn’t really believe in and didn’t think had a chance of longevity becoming a true Mark.”

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Kylie Minogue Wines

Minogue’s quest for quality and novelty drove her desire to launch a wine. In 2017, Minogue was inspired to incorporate country influences into her signature dance-pop sound for her album. Golden; the Australian icon decided to write and record in—where else?—Nashville, Tennessee. “It was very hot. We dined outdoors drinking rosé,” she recalls. “One night I was looking at this glass and it was so pretty with the color flowing through it. I was in such a good space. I was at a happy time in my life and I felt really creative and inspired, and at that moment I said, “I would like to have my own rosé one day.” A few years later, she met Paul Schaafsma, the founder of Benchmark Drinks, and ended up putting the finishing touches on her line while in lockdown in 2020. Of course, Minogue was aware of some of the hurdles that come with a celebrity-produced supported.

“I thought they might say ‘Oh, here’s another celebrity wine,'” she said. “Within the wine community, there may have been some skepticism at first. Of course, but we followed through. Now, I feel like that’s been a big welcome for the wine industry.

“I really wanted to be authentic about the product and my position in the market,” she continued. “I know I’m a baby in this. I know we are just getting started and I know very, very little. It also turned out to be an incredible journey of discovery. You know, it’s not the worst day at work, learning about wine. For a curious person, it is very satisfying.

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Kylie Minogue Wines

Minogue carries herself with warm confidence without a trace of diva ego and certainly remains curious. She recently started working on her 16th studio album and has dedicated the month of July to recording even more. “It’s that really exciting moment,” she added. “There are two or three songs that could [have] some small pieces of gold in it, but we don’t know.

After that, Minogue hopes to start playing more regularly again. During the filming of Leos Carax Sacred Engines ten years ago, she actually enjoyed the reprieve of being a pop star and left her music team behind to focus on film. “I have to do it on my own,” she recalls telling them. “‘I just have to be a working actor, show up, know my stuff, do my thing.’ I really wanted to go back to how I felt when I started, and not be that version of myself that grew over time.

Who can say where Kylie’s curiosities will take her next? Videos of her stripped-down performance at Café Carlyle had already made the rounds on the internet by the time we spoke. I told him that a friend had said she wanted one of the piano versions of the songs for her wedding, and that the arrangements might have a life beyond just a Monday night performance in New York. “There could be a little round trip with more than five songs,” she replied.

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