Dannii Minogue is celebrating 20 years since the release of her seminal fourth album, ‘Neon Nights’, on the cover of RETROPOP’s June 2023 issue.
The Aussie superstar dominated the charts with her classic LP, which delivered four hit records: Who Do You Love Now?, Put The Needle On It, I Begin To Wonder and Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling.
But it came about at a time when Dannii was without a record label, following the release of her third album, ‘Girl’, in 1997, when she didn’t know what her next career move would be. “Sometimes you need that bushfire to clear the slate and regenerate,” says the pop legend of the transition.
“We all get to know – when we’ve got enough years behind us – when you need to firmly shut a door for a very different one to open. It was like that. I was at peace with everything being finished and then this came as an unexpected surprise…”
It was a call from DJ supremo Pete Tong, who was working as A&R at London Records and asked her to lend vocals to a new version of the instrumental track Stringer from disc jockey duo Zki and Dobri, aka Riva, with a view to impacting the clubs.
“I felt like I wasn’t cool enough to be getting a call from Pete Tong. I thought if you were outside of the pop-loving world, I was uncool,” admits Dannii. “But he said, ‘Do you want to sing on this song, Who Do You Love Now?,’ and I was really blown away, but also like, ‘OK, do not get excited here, this is a one-off thing’. Because it really was just a vocal for a record.
“I had no idea it was gonna turn into this album, which is so special and really had everything thrown at it, thanks to the energy of the record company,” she reflects. “Phil Faversham doing A&R was just superb to work with – we were thick as thieves and it was a really good give-and-take. He would let the reins out and then rein me back in enough to make sure he got what he wanted, because if you give an artist as much lead as they want, they can end up very far away from where you want them to be.”
Twenty years on, with the release of a massive, 100+ song box set in June, Dannii is finally able to appreciate the impact the record has had on her career in the decades that followed.
“When it’s the first release of something and it’s doing really well – which is what you want it to do – you’re so busy doing all the promo that it kind of becomes a blur. Your brain goes into overload taking it all in,” she shares. “So to be able to do this with friends and fans and people who worked on the album, with everybody giving me their recollections, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, damn, that happened.’ Without that, I wouldn’t get to relive it.
“I don’t think ‘The X Factor’ would have come without the call from Pete Tong. And then there’s other stuff afterwards that wouldn’t have happened if Simon Cowell didn’t say, ‘You should be on this show’.”
‘Neon Nights 20’ is reissued on June 16 via London Records.
Read the full interview in the June 2023 edition of RETROPOP, out now. Order yours or subscribe via our Online Store, use our Store Finder to locate your nearest stockist, or get Digital Copies delivered direct to your devices.