Maybe you know her independent hit singles Cameo Lover and Settle Down, which won her 1st place in the Pop Category of International Songwriting Competition; or you're one of the 6,000,000+ total views of her stylish videos on YouTube. The name may ring a bell from any one of her electric live shows: the amazing festivals she has played including Splendour in the Grass, Parklife and Homebake. Or the fact she won the ARIA AWARD for 2011 BEST FEMALE ARTIST. Perhaps you recognise Kimbra from her contributing vocals to Miami Horror's ' Look To You', or her collaboration with Gotye on 'Somebody That I Use to Know', No 1 on the Australian Singles Chart for 8 weeks, the longest running Australian No 1 since Savage Garden's 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' in 1997. The alluring duet, one of the most talked about songs of the year, also took out 5 ARIA Awards including Single of the Year and Best Pop Release for 2011. The song also took out the Best Video, Producer of the Year and Engineer of the Year Artisan Awards.
The point is: if you don't know Kimbra by name, you soon will.
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 song writing blossomed in earnest. This new tool opened up a new perspective, leading to a flurry of tracks that featured her signature layered vocals, including the inkling that became Settle Down. Discovered by Manager, Mark Richardson at the tender age of 17, who enabled her to relocated to Melbourne to follow her musical path.
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 at home as well as in 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.
Kimbra self-produced Vows alongside Australian Urban export M-Phazes (Amerie, Pharoahe Monch) and the refined skills of François Tétaz (Bertie Blackman, Gotye); whose focus on imagery taught her to treat the album like a film. If Vows is a film then, what is it about?
Vows could be seen as an ambitiously eclectic journey of joyful triumph but also darker introspection. A smoky romance one scene, a film noir the next, in a dazzling, colourful display with a multifarious soundtrack to match; travelling its conceptual groove through a diverse 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. A voice that centres the record as it slinks effortlessly from sly croon to emphatic wailing, layered through the record or left hanging vulnerably, warping and flexing in tone but consistently delivering the greatest character of expression: honesty.
Upon release, Vows debuted at No. 3 in Kimbra's native New Zealand, and at No. 5 (climbed to No 4) in the Australia album charts. Vows has been certified Gold in Australia & New Zealand with it also being released on special edition vinyl. Having already dazzled with countless sell-out shows across the country complemented by her band of funky virtuosos, Kimbra is now set to take on the States. Recording with iconic producer Mike Elizondo, whose own eclectic CV mirrors Kimbra's multifaceted influences, they are set to unleash Vows to the USA in March 2012 through Warner Bros Records; establishing Kimbra both locally and internationally as a significant talent. A fresh, exciting voice in today's music industry.