Ask anyone outside the United States: “Who is Kylie Minogue?” You’ll find the extent of her international superstardom everywhere, but in the states it’s an entirely different story. While the Australian singer has never been a noted vocal powerhouse like Mariah Carey or anywhere near as socially jarring as Madonna and Janet Jackson, she’s cemented her space within legends like them over her decades long career.
Throughout the years, even if you don’t know her, Kylie Minogue’s influence has been celebrated and noted by many notable pop artists and music institutions today. The new generation of pop stars such as Rina Sawayama, Dua Lipa, and Jessie Ware have all paid homage to Minogue for inspiring their recent projects.
Without Kylie Minogue’s influence our summer playlists would look a lot different; specifically, without tracks like Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now.” It became one of the defining anthems of 2020 and played a large part in reviving disco-inspired pop music. The legacy of the sound of Kylie Minogue remains relevant today even within the lives of people who don’t know her artistry first hand.
With the release of her glittering, mid-pandemic dance-party 2020 album, Disco, Minogue extended her legendary international stardom by becoming the first solo female artist to get a number one album in the UK in five consecutive decades. Not only that, but she’s also the highest selling Australian artist of all time and the third best selling female artist in the United Kingdom.
Fellow pop-icons Madonna and Lady Gaga are hailed as “chameleons” with each of their new eras, but Kylie’s transformations are seemingly more resolute. Minogue’s various eras have showcased transformations in imagery in sound from the pop perfection of Aphrodite to new indie sounds on Impossible Princess. From her revival of disco on Disco to even trading in her traditional synths for country guitars & banjos on Golden. Each of them showcase different areas of her expertise yet remain rooted in the already gleaming caricature of Kylie Minogue — unlike her peers.
While Kylie Minogue may be lesser known in the United States, having only had two singles reach the Billboard Hot 100 top ten — “The Loco-Motion” (1987) and “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” (2001) — she’s become adored by the LGBTQ+ community. She’s become a staple for the dance floor in gay clubs. Through the soaring peaks of her careers and the sub-sequential lows, she’s been able to count on the LGBTQ+ community for support.
It’s not only the bangers she’s produced throughout the past 3 decades, but it’s also the humility and resilience she’s expressed even when facing adversity. At the age of 36, Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to the cancellation of her Glastonbury set along with her tour. Many cited that the publicity drawn by her diagnosis created the “Minogue effect,” causing countless women to begin to get regularly tested for the disease. She finished chemotherapy in 2006.
Fourteen years later after the diagnosis, Kylie Minogue finally was able to return to perform at the Glastonbury Festival as the “legend slot.” This is typically reserved for much older performers such as Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, and Dolly Parton. Despite that, her “legend slot” set became the most-watched Glastonbury performance in history on UK television.
“What it actually felt like was this massive acknowledgement of me as a performer. And for the first time in my life I accepted that and I just cried,” she stated a year after the show.
Now 53 years old, Minogue can be seen as the adored Dolly Parton of the rest of the world — if Dolly Parton was making dance floor bops rather than crooning country songs.
Showcasing that pop culture doesn’t solely orbit around the United States, she has created a worldwide career that’s still breaking records 30 years in. For someone whose done it all, it’s hard to imagine what the next 30 years will bring, but it will nevertheless be just as legendary.
Spanning 3 decades, check out Kylie Minogue’s greatest hits below!