Maybe you know her from her hit singles Cameo Lover, Good Intent and Two Way Street, or you’re one of the many voters that helped put all three in the ranks of Triple J’s Hottest 100 – the world’s biggest music poll. Maybe you’re one of the 12,000,000+ total views of her stylish videos on YouTube. Or the fact that she won the ARIA for 2011 Best Female Artist. Perhaps you better recognise her from her duet with Gotyé on the world-conquering Somebody That I Used To Know, a chart-topping hit in 11 countries world-wide, and No. 1 for 8 weeks on the Australian singles chart. The name may ring a bell from any one of her electric live shows, including performances at Splendour In The Grass, Big Day Out, Meredith, Parklife and a sold-out national headline tour, with forthcoming shows including Groovin’ The Moo.
The point is: if you don’t know Kimbra by now, then you’re in an ever-diminishing minority.
But the story goes further back. Spending her early years gigging around her native New Zealand, it was only once Kimbra borrowed a small eight-track recorder from her school’s musical department that her songwriting blossomed in earnest. After a furious period of creativity, including the inklings that would become her debut album, she was discovered by manager Mark Richardson of OutPost Management at the tender age of 17, who enabled her to relocate to Melbourne to follow her musical career. She’s been carving her own path ever since.
Kimbra’s debut record Vows, three and-a-half years in the making, charts not only her growth and development musically over this time, but personally as well. Recorded and arranged both at home and across various studios, it presents her unique worldview on life and love. Even at twenty-one years of age, Kimbra already possesses the maturity and musical sophistication of the mavericks she is so often compared to – from vocal legends Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley, to radicals the likes of Prince, and contemporary artists such as Björk and Janelle Monaé.
Vows was self-produced and with the refined skills of Francois Tetaz (Bertie Blackman, Gotye); whose focus on imagery taught her to treat the album like a film and Australian Urban export M-Phazes (Amerie, Pharoahe Monch) If Vows is a film then, what is it about?
A smoky romance one scene, a film noir the next – Vows is a genre-defying, an eclectic journey of joyful triumph and a darker introspection. A dazzling, colourful soundtrack to travel its conceptual groove through a mix of styles. Migrating confidently from triumphant neo-pop built on stacked harmonies and joyful hooks, to moodier, reflective moments that showcase her sophisticated vocals. Upon release, Vows swiftly achieved critical and commercial success. Debuting at No. 3 in Kimbra’s native New Zealand (Gold Status), and at No. 5 in the Australian album charts and soon attained Platinum status within three weeks of release. Subsequently, Vows has been shortlisted for the AMP Awards.
Having signed an international deal with Warner Music, Kimbra, complemented by her band of funky virtuosos, is now set to take on the States. With a slew of SXSW showcase gigs; touring the nation in support of Gotyé, with further dates confirmed with Foster The People she’s preparing to unleash Vows to the USA this May. She’s making in-roads with the country’s most eclectic production and writing talent, whose combined CV’s mirror Kimbra’s own multifaceted influences. Co-writing with soul star John Legend, recording with iconic producer Mike Elizondo (Dr Dre, Fiona Apple) as well as working with Greg Kurstin (The Bird and The Bee, The Flaming Lips, Foster The People) plus Mark Foster & A-Trak and Keefus Green (Mike Patton, Mini Mansions). Kimbra is rapidly establishing herself both locally and internationally as a significant talent. A fresh, exciting creative spirit in today’s music industry.
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