Despite being on a career break, Olivia did not neglect her music. While juggling her business and home life, she brought out some new music during this period. In 1988, she released “The Rumour,” whose title track was written by the legendary Sir Elton John.
1988 was also the Australian Bicentennial. Olivia made a video gram for the occasion called “Down Under.” It featured several songs from “The Rumour,” shot in some of the most picturesque locations in Australia. 26
New Directions, Bad Decisions
Never one to be complacent, Olivia wanted to explore another musical direction after the success of “Physical.” The result was a risqué album called “Soulkiss” (1985). No one was surprised when the album bombed. What was even stranger was the videogram.
Directors shot the video when Olivia was pregnant, which understandably curbed artistic freedom. Audiences could not unsee the terrible image on the back cover – Olivia in boots and tight pants holding a crop. Even the most devoted Olivia fans cringed at this bizarre attempt at sultriness.
What Became Of Her Business Venture?
Olivia took a hiatus from music when her daughter Chloe was born. From 1986 to 1992, she dedicated her efforts to developing her Koala Blue chain of stores. The business venture endeavored to be a break from her intensive music career so she could spend more time with family.
Sadly, the business could not survive the recession during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Olivia decided to expand the franchise when consumers were cutting back expenditure on non-essential items. The company soon filed for bankruptcy.
To Chloe, With Love
In 1989, Olivia brought out an unusual album called “Warm And Tender.” The album was a gift to Chloe, her daughter, and not meant for the mainstream music market. She considered it a mother’s musical indulgence.
“Warm And Tender” contained several children's songs and lullabies - meant for Chloe and children everywhere. MCA records refused to run it since it was not your standard pop album. Olivia eventually released the album on the Geffen label.
Tragic News And A Comeback Interrupted
By the early ‘90s, Olivia’s comeback plans were well underway. In 1992, Geffen brought out “Back To Basics, The Essential Collection” – a retrospective of Olivia’s career with a few new songs. Olivia was rehearsing, promoting, and preparing to go on tour with the album when her life turned upside down.
On July 2, 1992, Olivia discovered she had breast cancer. Work on the new album effectively came to a halt. The singer underwent an operation and received medication for several months, getting an all-clear from the doctors only in February 1993.