Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Premise for Dannii

When I was preparing the proposal for my biography of Dannii Minogue for which she was going to participate in and co-operate with, as long as it remained unauthorised, long before Dannii decided to write her own book, I included my researcher Natasha Duckworth's research note, which I have reproduced below. It emphasised the premise for the book, and was just part of the fabulous work Natasha did for the proposal, which also included an amazing interview and chapter plan...

When the public think of Dannii Minogue, the 3 things they are most interested in are: (1) her huge resurgence in profile in the past 3 years from X Factor and Australia's Got Talent, (2) her "sex symbol" status - the photo shoots she's done, men she's dated, raunchy headlines etc, and the truth behind all of that, and (3) her life in Kylie's shadow as far as her pop career is concerned, and her true feelings on that .... perhaps if put in that order, with equal emphasis on each, this book will be received well by critics and public alike as being upfront, realistic, and focusing on Dannii's successes as much as her failures, which of course, we all like to read, especially when the celebrity is shown to have flaws as well as being human.

Even if there are those who would find Dannii's pop career the least interesting part of her story, l still think that most would still want to read this biography, mostly to get the dirt on her relationships. At the end of the day, many more people would buy it if it mentioned Kylie, because it is unlikely if anyone would buy a book solely for a telling about Dannii's music, end of. But, then again, with Dannii's planned return to music, if the book's publication is timed alongside the release of her new album, we couldn't ask for better timing to recount her previous career in pop music, and as it has never been written about before, the book would surely act as a definitive account of what really happened in that period in her life.

Although my researcher has prepared a chapter plan, I am also tempted, as she suggests, to actually put the book into 3 sections as I describe above, rather than a simple chronology. In the Dannii vs. Kylie section, we have collected a wealth of documentary material of things that happened. For example, back in 1990, Kylie released Shocked and Dannii released Success at the same time. Smash Hits gave it a double review, highlighting all the good points about Shocked and the bad points about Success – and since that time they never released singles at the same time (under Dannii's contract), so there was a huge positive press for Dannii in 1997 when she got her first top 5 hit at the time Kylie had her first song missing the top 20 – It was the time when Kylie wanted to be taken seriously, died her hair and looked like a prostitute and stopped selling records, while Dannii spotted the hole in the market, dyed her hair blonde, appeared naked in Playboy, and had the chart success.

Many blame Heat magazine for having such a huge influence on what people think and believe about celebrities. If we want to turn this book on Dannii into something quite special, we should really include how the obsession with celebrities has grown and how it has been 100% perpetuated by the magazine.

Before Heat, no one really cared, as illustrated mostly by Jade Goody. She was the most unpopular housemate back in BB3, but because her eviction coincided with the first year of Heat magazine (back in the days when sales were really slow to get off the ground), all they had do was print pictures of her and interview her (because they didn't have the reputation to get anyone else), so they turned her into a star and she turned them into the biggest magazine in the UK. The Cheryl Cole comparison to Dannii is all because of Heat. They go on about her outshining Dannii every day but everyone I speak to thinks Dannii is the more interesting judge, and yet it is Cheryl, we are told, that the country seems to have fallen in love with.

I also think it would be a very good idea for this book to examine the attitude of Kylie fans to Dannii, and whether Kylie's popularity actually hindered Dannii as opposed to helping her. There was such hatred simply because she was Kylie's sister, and that she threatened Kylie's status, yet on the other hand, for years, Dannii's only online promotion was through the Kylie Sayhey website.

I would also want to comment in my writing, how Kylie's press assassination in the 80s lead to her being a closed book in her interviews and coming across as very dull most of the time, but Dannii's edgier music/image (coupled with her never being over popular and hence never subject to tall poppy syndrome) has afforded her a freedom to express her views and be more open (perhaps even having more control over her music in later years). She was known for her outspokenness along with her outrageous antics, hence why the X Factor role is very appropriate and a natural outlet for her personality – something that the book should capitalise on throughout.

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