Cast your mind back to 2020 (yes, that year) and you may recall Kylie Minogue revealing how, during lockdown, she decided to set up her own bedroom studio so that she could carry on working. Well, it seems that the star has continued her production journey since then, with a key collaborator on her forthcoming album Tension saying that she’s now better at producing her vocals than he is.
Speaking to Classic Pop, Biff Stannard explained: “Kylie won’t mind me saying this, but when she started it was during [2020 album] Disco it was the most basic GarageBand setup and we had to talk her through it. Next thing we know, she’s mastered it and is producing high-quality vocals! She’s better than me now at producing her vocals. At the end of the day, no-one knows her voice better than she does.”
High praise indeed, particularly as Stannard has worked with Kylie extensively throughout her career, so probably knows her voice pretty well himself. However, writer/producer Duck Blackwell, who’s been working alongside Minogue and Stannard recently, says that her new-found production prowess can come in very handy during the recording process.
“She’s the queen of the remote vocals!” he notes. A lot of her vocals were recorded in hotel rooms. Because she’s travelling so much it’s been really easy to make changes from wherever she is in the world. I’ll get messages saying, ‘Oh, I think we need a backing vocal in that middle eight’ or ‘I think the second take was better on that line’ or in some cases [she’ll] even rewrite a verse and ping it over and we can just drop it in. Five years ago, she’d have had to travel back, get into a studio or whatever and re-record it. This is such an exciting and easier way of working.”
On her initial introduction to music production, Kylie told Billboard in 2020: “I thought, if 11-year-olds can do this in their bedroom, I can figure this out. I got really into [Logic Pro], and I’m annoyed with myself it took this long for me to get a handle on it. It’s good to add new skills to your set.”
Stannard and Blackwell co-wrote and produced several tracks on Tension, including the title track, the follow-up to monster hit single Padam Padam. The album will be released on 22 September.