From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kimbra @ McCallum Park (5 2 2012) (6971313471).jpg
Kimbra performing at McCallum Park in 2012
Background information
Birth name Kimbra Lee Johnson
Born (1990-03-27) 27 March 1990 (age 25)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 2000–present
Labels Forum 5, Warner Bros.
Associated acts Gotye

Kimbra Lee Johnson (born 27 March 1990), known mononymously as Kimbra, is a New Zealand recording artist based in Los Angeles. Kimbra's unique musical style draws from many different genres, often blending more modern electropop and R&B with classic jazz and soul musical elements. Her musical influences range from Prince and soul singer Minnie Riperton, to Björk and Jeff Buckley. Her unique style was showcased on her debut album, Vows, which was released in Australia in 2011. Singles from the album include "Settle Down", "Cameo Lover" (which won an Australian Recording Industry Association Award), "Good Intent" and "Two Way Street".

A reworked version of the album was released in Europe and the United States in 2012. It featured several new songs, including "Come into My Head", "Warrior" (on which Kimbra was joined by musicians Mark Foster from Foster the People and DJ A-Trak), and a cover of Nina Simone's "Plain Gold Ring". On 29 August 2011, she released her debut album, Vows, which reached the top 5 in New Zealand and Australia. On 22 May 2012, the album was released in North America, debuting at number 14 on the Billboard charts.[2] Kimbra is featured in the 2012 multi-platinum single "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye.

On 10 February 2013, she and Gotye won the Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance awards at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Show for "Somebody That I Used to Know". This achievement made her only the third New Zealand singer to win a Grammy Award in history. Kimbra's second studio album, The Golden Echo, was officially released on 19 August 2014 to positive critical reception.[3]


Early years[edit]

Kimbra Lee Johnson[4] was born on 27 March 1990 and grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand. Her father, Ken Johnson, was the head doctor at the University of Waikato's student health centre, and her mother was an orthopaedic nurse. At the age of 10, Kimbra began writing songs. When she was 12, her father bought her a guitar and "after a few years of lessons, she was on stage, performing with her guitar tutors (she was never taught to sing)".[5] Kimbra attended Hillcrest High School, competing in the national schools' musical competition Rockquest for three years running, where she was awarded second place in 2004 at the age of 14. Kimbra made her first music video, "Smile", for the children's TV show What Now. Kimbra was a member of the Hillcrest High jazz choir, Scat.[6]

Career beginnings[edit]

Early public performances by Kimbra included singing at the Waikato Times Gold Cup race meeting in 2000 as a 10-year-old and singing the New Zealand national anthem before 27,000 people at the 2002 NPC rugby union final. In 2007, after winning the Juice TV award for Best Breakthrough music video for her second single "Simply on My Lips", she came to the attention of ex-Independiente Records boss Mark Richardson (Jamiroquai, Paula Abdul) and his newly formed management company and independent label Forum 5 in Melbourne, Victoria.[7] She signed with Richardson and in 2008 she moved to Melbourne, Australia.[7]

2010–11: Vows[edit]

In June 2010, Kimbra's first single on Forum 5, "Settle Down", was released. She had started writing the track four years earlier – it was finished with François Tétaz.[7][8] The music video was directed by Guy Franklin. Perez Hilton featured the track on his website citing "[i]f you like Nina Simone, Florence & The Machine and/or Bjork, then we think you will enjoy Kimbra – her music reminds us of all those fierce ladies!"[9] On 10 December, the Australian 'indietronica' group Miami Horror released their single, "I Look to You" featuring Kimbra's vocals.[10] Kimbra also stars in its music video, which features wide-angle and kaleidoscope shots of her in face paint and dresses walking through golden fields.[11] Early in 2011, Kimbra's song "Cameo Lover" was a finalist for the 2011 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition and eventually won the competition.[12] In March she issued "Cameo Lover" as her next single, its music video was released in April and was directed by Franklin. In 13 April Kimbra went to perform for Moomba Festival and ChillOut Festival in Sydney at Oxford Arts Factory to welcome the release of her next single, "Cameo Lover". On 15 July 2011, "Cameo Lover" won the songwriting competition, ahead of third placed song, "Somebody That I Used to Know", written by Australian musician, Gotye.[13] On 7 June Kimbra signed to Warner Bros. Records New Zealand for distribution in New Zealand and Australia, as well as a worldwide deal for other territories with Warner Bros. Records in the US.[14] On 5 July Kimbra sang in Gotye's single, "Somebody That I Used to Know", which was mixed by Tétaz. Tétaz had recommended Kimbra to Gotye after a 'high profile' Australian female vocalist had withdrawn from the collaboration.[15][16]

On 29 August 2011, Kimbra's debut album, Vows, was released in New Zealand and 2 September in Australia. In its first week of release it charted at No. 3 in New Zealand, No. 5 in Australia and No. 14 in the US. In its second week, it rose to a peak of No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Australian producer 'M-Phazes' produced Kimbra's track "Call Me" and assisted on other tracks on Vows. Its artwork including body art and illustrations were created by Rhys Mitchell and Raphael Rizzo. She has won the Critics' Choice Prize at the 2011 New Zealand Music Awards[17] and Best Female Artist and Best Song (for "Cameo Lover") at the ARIA Music Awards of 2011.[18] The US release of Vows featured new tracks not available on the Australian or New Zealand version of the album.[19] She had performed in various location such as, at the Forum Theatre,[20] Melbourne on 9 September 2011, at Astor Theatre,[21] Perth on 17 September 2011, at the Adelaide Botanic Garden in Brisbane on 1 October 2011, at Adelaide, Australia on 3 October 2011, at Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, Victoria and Wellington Square, Perth on 25 November 2011, at Homebake Festival 2011, at Royal Botanic Gardens, The Domain, Sydney[22] on 3 December 2011 and at the Falls Festival Lorne, Australia on 30 December 2011.[23]

2012–13: Grammy awards and collaborations[edit]

Kimbra performing in Auckland, 2012

On 19 January 2012, "Good Intent" was played on an episode of ABC's drama Grey's Anatomy. The track also appears in the video game, The Sims 3: Pets, which Kimbra recorded in Simlish for the soundtrack. Also in January, Kimbra won the "One to Watch" award at the 2012 Rolling Stone Awards.[24] Kimbra has collaborated with Mark Foster (of Foster the People) and DJ A-Trak on the track "Warrior", which was released on 2 April. On 14 April, she performed "Somebody That I Used to Know" with Gotye on Saturday Night Live. On 15 July 2012, she went to perform in Santralistanbul, Istanbul, Turkey. On 26 August 2012, she went to Parc de Saint-Cloud, France and later went to perform at The Deaf Institute, Manchester on 30 August 2012.[25][26] In 25 September, her song With My Hands was featured in Tim Burton's movie, Frankenweenie. In 1 November, she had been nominated at the Vodafone 2012 New Zealand Music Awards and won for the International Achievement, Best Female Solo Artist, Best Pop Album, Breakthrough Artist of the Year awards, and also won as a featured artist for the song "Somebody That I Used to Know", for Most Played Australian Work and Song of the Year, at the APRA Music Awards of 2012. on the same year, she also received an award for Best Female Artist at the ARIA Music Awards of 2012 for the second time.[27] In 14 November 2012, Kimbra performed at the Calvin Klein Collection which held an exclusive dinner to celebrate the brand’s Women’s Creative Director, Francisco Costa.[28] Kimbra also performed for other events such as, at Homebake Festival 2012 On 8 December, at Festival of the Sun in Port Macquarie, New South Wales on 14 December, at the Rhythm & Vines Music festival 2012 in Gisborne, New Zealand on 29 December 2012 and at the Summadayze Festival in Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast on 30, 31 December 2012.[29]

On 4 and 5 January 2013, Kimbra continued her performance for the Summadayze Festival in Perth, Australia. On 25 January 2013, Kimbra went to Singapore for the St. Jerome's Laneway Festival.[30] On 10 February 2013, Kimbra and Gotye won the Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance awards at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Show for "Somebody That I Used to Know". This achievement made her only the third New Zealand singer to win a Grammy Award in history.[31] Kimbra was also featured with the soul-pop RNB singer John Legend in the song Made to Love, published in the album Love in the Future. The single was released on 11 June 2013 and the album was released on 30 August 2013.[32] On 15 September 2013, Kimbra performed for Rock In Rio Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[33] Kimbra has also recruited to collaborate on the record which includes pop iconoclasts Daniel Johns, Dirty Projectors's Dave Longstreth, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson, abstract beat wizards, Steven Ellison a.k.a. Flying Lotus and Stephen Bruner a.k.a. Thundercat, progressive rock heroes, Mars Volta’s Omar Rodríguez-López and Deantoni Parkes, members of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Queens of the Stone Age, seductive soul singer Bilal and the legendary composer Van Dyke Parks, who has worked with notable performers, mainly Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys, Prince’s New Power Generation keyboardist Morris Hayes and John Robinson, were also invited to drop by the studio.[34] Besides working for her music career, Kimbra was also involved in a non-profit charity organization called So They Can, it is a registered charity in New Zealand, Australia and Kenya focusing on education and building the local economy through micro finance and social business. Kimbra became the ambassador of So They Can within the year of 2013.[35][36]

2014: The Golden Echo[edit]

After the success of The Grammy's 2013, Kimbra relocated to LA to work on her second studio album, known as The Golden Echo. She stayed on a farm (2013 til 2014) to work on her second album, working with many producers and musicians. Moving to the farm gave Kimbra a lot of head space after the world-wind of two years of touring. Many people who collaborated on The Golden Echo consist of Rich Costey, Daniel Johns, Taylor Graves, Matt Bellamy, Thundercat, Mark Foster, Bilal (Singing on the #8 track 'Everlovin' Ya'), John Legend, John Robinson and also Kimbra's band mates, Timon Martin and Benjamin Davey. During the making of the second album, Kimbra was invited to play at a concert in Adelaide and was invited to perform at WOMAD 2014, also debuting a new song known as 'Nobody But You' - track #11 on The Golden Echo and performing many tracks off her 2011/2012 release 'Vows'. 19 May 2014 Kimbra released the lead single from The Golden Echo called 90s Music. 90s Music was nominated for MTV Best Aus/NZ artist 2014. The song has received positive reviews from critics. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard called the song "captivating" when he previewed it in May 2014. The official music video was not long released after the audio, debuting on YouTube on June 3, 2014. The song did not chart in New Zealand or Australia. 'Miracle' was released as the second single on 24 July 2014. It was her first song to chart on Billboard, peaking at #37 on the Japan Hot 100. The song has received mainly positive reviews from critics, with many complimenting the song's disco-influenced feel. Olivia Forman of Spin stated that the song has a "flawlessly fluctating [...] beat" and additionally complimented Kimbra's vocals. The music video for 'Miracle' was released onto YouTube on August 19, 2014, the official music video for the song was directed by Thom Kerr. The Golden Echo was released on 15 August 2014 (AU/NZ) and 19 August 2014 (US) charting Australian Albums (ARIA)at 5, New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) at 5 and US Billboard 200 at 43. The Golden Echo received generally positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, the album obtained a normalised score of 70 out of 100, based on reviews from 16 selected mainstream critics. To promote the newly - released album, Kimbra hosted an Art Exhibition / Album Release. Displaying a piece of art that resembles all 15 tracks off The Golden Echo. In November Kimbra toured the US to promote the album with a total of 12 shows with Empress Of. Late December Kimbra collaborated with Mew/Big Data/Bilal and won an award for Performance and Video by International Songwriting Competition for 90s Music.


In April 2015, Kimbra toured the US with a total of five shows. Kimbra is featured in a song by Bilal called 'Holding It Back' from his album In Another Life. On July 15, Kimbra released the video for her third single from The Golden Echo called "Goldmine", which surpassed 110,000 views in a matter of a day.

Live band[edit]

  • Taylor Graves – keyboards/vocals (2014–present)
  • Timon Martin – guitar/vocals (2009–present)
  • Stevie McQuinn – drums (2010–present)
  • Frank Abraham - bass/keyboards (2014–present)

Previous members[edit]

  • Fagan Wilcox – samples/synth/guitar/vocals (2009–2014)
  • Ben Davey – keyboards/vocals (2010–2014)
  • Stan Bicknell – drums (2009–2010)
  • Joe Cope (2009)

Musical style and performance[edit] states that Kimbra's music delves beyond the "four chord cliché but still maintains strong hooks and catchy melodies that are sometimes unpredictable but satisfying".[37] In an interview with American Songwriter, she listed Daniel Johns, Prince, Rufus Wainwright, Guided by Voices, Imogen Heap, Mike Patton, Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, and Stevie Wonder as her influences.[38] Her musical style has been considered jazz-inspired electropop.[39] She is also interested in modern progressive metal, listing Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan as favourites of hers in numerous interviews and Facebook posts.[40]

Kimbra makes use the VoiceLive Touch 2 by TC-Helicon in her live performances for looping and adding effects such as reverb.


Main article: Kimbra discography



Year Title Role Notes
2011 RocKwiz herself Musical guest – Season 9, Episode 6
2012 Saturday Night Live Musical guest – Season 37, Episode 19
Jimmy Kimmel Live! Musical guest
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Project Runway Australia audience member
2012–2013 Last Call with Carson Daly Musical guest, two episodes
2013 Rock in Rio Performer, Episode 5.3


Year Title Role Notes
2012 SXSW Flashback 2012 herself Performer


Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are presented annually from 1959 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). In 2012, Kimbra's collaboration with Gotye, "Somebody That I Used To Know", won the Record of the Year and the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance awards.[41]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2013 "Somebody That I Used to Know" – Gotye featuring Kimbra Record of the Year[41] Won
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Won

APRA Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".[42] In 2012, Kimbra was nominated for two awards as a solo artist and won two awards as a featured artist.

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2012 Kimbra Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year[43] Nominated
"Somebody That I Used to Know" – Gotye featuring Kimbra Most Played Australian Work[44] Won
Song of the Year[45] Won
"Cameo Lover" – Kimbra Song of the Year[46] Nominated

ARIA Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards are presented annually from 1987 by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). In 2011, Kimbra won one award as a solo artist and two awards as a featured artist.[47] Gotye featuring Kimbra performed the single, "Somebody That I Used to Know", at the awards ceremony.[48][49]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2011 "Somebody That I Used to Know" – Gotye featuring Kimbra Single of the Year Won
Highest Selling Single Nominated
Best Pop Release Won
"Cameo Lover" – Kimbra Best Female Artist Won
"Cameo Lover" – Kimbra – Guy Franklin Best Video Nominated
2012 "Vows" – Kimbra Best Female Artist Won

New Zealand Music Awards[edit]

The New Zealand Music Awards are awarded annually to musicians of New Zealand origin, by Recorded Music NZ.

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
2011 Kimbra Critics' Choice Prize Won
2012[50] Vows Album of the Year Won
"Warrior" Single of the Year Nominated
Vows Breakthrough Artist of the Year Won
Vows Best Female Solo Artist Won
Vows Best Pop Album Won
Kimbra Peoples' Choice Award Nominated
Kimbra International Achievement Award Won

Other awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2007 Juice TV Awards Breakthrough Video ("Simply On My Lips") Won
2011 International Songwriting Competition[51] Grand Prize Won
J Award[52] Album of the Year (Vows) Nominated
2012 Rolling Stone Awards One to Watch Award Won


  1. ^ a b c d Collar, Matt. "Kimbra". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Reviews for The Golden Echo by Kimbra - Metacritic
  4. ^ "'Simply on My Lips' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Woulfe, C. (31 October 2010). "Unchained Melodies". Sunday Star Times, pp. 16–18.
  6. ^ Risk, Louise (10 June 2011). "Look at her now". Waikato Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Baidawi, Adam (November 2011). "Kimbra, A Sound Unto Her Own". JetStar Magazine (Jetstar Airways). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "'Settle Down' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Watch & Listen: Like Ice!". 20 August 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "'I Look to You' (ft. Kimbra) – EP". 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Miami Horror – 'I Look to You' (ft. Kimbra) (official HD)". 26 August 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "2011 Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition – Winners Announcement". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 15 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kimbra Signs Worldwide Deal With Warner Bros. Records". 7 June 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Jones, Nicholas (15 February 2012). "Kimbra Replacement After First Choice Cancelled Reveals Gotye". Tone Deaf (Tone Deaf Network). Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Gotye". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Bridget Jones. "Kimbra wins Critics' Choice Award 2011". Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "Kimbra wins Aussie music award". Television New Zealand. 28 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "At Sydney airport...". Facebook. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "Kimbra, Friday August 9, The Forum Theatre | Beat Magazine". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "Kimbra – Astor Theatre Perth – EnjoyPerth!". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Homebake 2011 – Grinderman, PNAU, GOTYE, Gurrumul Yunupingu, Cut Copy, Icehouse, Ladyhawke, Drapht, Daniel Merriweather, The Triffids, Eskimo Joe, Architecture In Helsinki, The Church, The Vines, Illy, The Jezabels, Kimbra, CW Stoneking at The Domain (Royal Botanic Gardens), Sydney, NSW on 3 Dec 11". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  23. ^ [3][dead link]
  24. ^ Kimbra (26 January 2012). "Kimbra Wins A Rolling Stone Award". Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Free Music Videos, Video Interviews, Music Video News, Live Sessions and Clips". Nme.Com. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "Enjoy the sound of Kimbra in Manchester". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Kimbra shares her joy". MediaWorks. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Calvin Klein Collection Hosts Special Dinner In Beijing With Performance By Kimbra At Long March Space | View photo – Yahoo News". 12 November 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Thousands jam in the Summadayze sun". The Age (Melbourne). 
  30. ^ "Jermz | Laneway Special: An Interview With Kimbra". 23 December 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Kimbra". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "John Legend Debuts EDM-Influenced Single ‘Made To Love’ Feat. Kimbra «". 18 June 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Rock in Rio by: Portal Kimbra | Rock in Rio Brasil". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Kimbra: "There are a lot of parallels between quantum physics and music"". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  35. ^ "Charity a hit for musos – music – entertainment". 26 August 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  36. ^ r. "Ambassadors". So They Can. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "Kimbra – New Zealand Musicians & Bands". Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  38. ^ Schlansky, Evan. "Kimbra". American Songwriter. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  39. ^ Wood, Mikael (3 October 2012). "Kimbra brings 'Vows' to the Fonda Theatre". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  40. ^ "Kimbra at Festival Of The Sun". YouTube. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  41. ^ a b "Gotye and Kimbra nominated for Grammy". 3 News NZ. 10 December 2012. 
  42. ^ "APRA Music Awards 2012". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  43. ^ "Nominations > Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year – 2012". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  44. ^ "Winners for the 2012 APRA Music Awards Announced". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 24 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  45. ^ "2012 Winners". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  46. ^ "Nominations > Song of the Year – 2012". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  47. ^ "The Countdown Begins....Nominations Announced". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  48. ^ ARIA Awards 2011 at Allphones Arena begins with battle of the red carpet – – Retrieved 28 Nov 2011.
  49. ^ Boy and Bear dominate ARIA awards – Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Retrieved 28 Nov 2011.
  50. ^ "2012 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards Winners Announced « Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards". Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  51. ^ "International Songwriting Competition". Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  52. ^ Kimbra (26 September 2011). "Vows Nominated For A J Award". Retrieved 18 May 2012. 

External links[edit]