Kimbra sounds The Golden Echo on sophomore solo release
The second album from New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra is titled The Golden Echo. The new Warner Bros. release is described as “ambitious, sophisticated, and complex, just like its creator.” The project was produced by Rich Costey (Foster the People, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction), who the 24-year-old artist has wanted to work with since she was a teenager. The lyrics find Kimbra “grappling with a range of subject matter” from feeling nostalgic about young love (‘90s Music’) to being caught up in a “place of narrowness” (‘Mad House’) to wanting to run away and make a new life (‘Carolina’). She also experiences the vulnerability that follows succumbing to temptation on ‘Be Everlovin Ya.’
Kimbra wrote several of the songs on The Golden Echo with Daniel Johns from Silverchair—another of her idols. Lead single, ‘90s Music,’ also features guitarist Matt Bellamy and Mark Foster of Foster the People. While most fans are familiar with Kimbra as the guest vocalist on Gotye’s multi-platinum, Grammy-winning single, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know,’ her unique musical style that draws from various genres had already made her a teen sensation in her native New Zealand and Australia.
Kimbra’s music often blends modern electropop and R&B with classic jazz and elements of soul music. Her musical influences include Prince, Minnie Riperton, Björk, and Jeff Buckley, and this mix of inspiration is showcased on her 2011 debut album, Vows, which reached the Top 5 in New Zealand and Australia. In May 2012, the album was released in North America, debuting at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, and peaking at No. 4 on Australia’s ARIA Albums Chart. Singles from the album include ‘Cameo Lover’ (which won an Australian Recording Industry Association Award), ‘Good Intent,’ and ‘Two Way Street.’
The reworked U.S. version of Vowsalso includes several new songs such as ‘Come into My Head,’ ‘Warrior’ featuring Mark Foster (Foster the People) and DJ A-Trak, and a cover of Nina Simone's ‘Plain Gold Ring.’ In January 2012, Kimbra’s song ‘Good Intent’ was played on an episode of ABC's drama Grey's Anatomy, and the artist took the One to Watch award at the 2012 Rolling Stone Awards. She also performed ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ with Gotye on Saturday Night Live. The international smash single also took the awards as Most Played Australian Work and Song of the Year at the 2012 APRA Music Awards.
Kimbra’s song ‘With My Hands’ is featured in the Tim Burton movie “Frankenweenie,” and she dominated the Vodafone 2012 New Zealand Music Awards by winning for International Achievement, Best Female Solo Artist, Best Pop Album, and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. She also received an award for Best Female Artist at the 2012 ARIA Music Awards. Kimbra and Gotye’s Grammys for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ are in the categories of Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The achievement made Kimbra only the third New Zealand singer to ever win a Grammy Award.
Kimbra is currently planning a fall tour of the U.S. beginning Oct. 20 in San Francisco. The 15-city trek wraps up Nov. 9 in Boston. When not writing, recording, or touring, Kimbra serves as an international ambassador for the So They Can charity, an organization that focuses on education and building small community economies in New Zealand, Australia, and Kenya, Africa.
Watch the official music video for ‘90s Music’ off the new album The Golden Echo by New Zealand singer Kimbra.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Kimbra Lee Johnson was born March 27, 1990, and grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand. She began writing songs at age 10, sang the New Zealand national anthem before a rugby match at the same age, and got her first guitar at age 12.
* The self-taught vocalist was soon performing on stage and competed in the annual Rockquest musical competition for three years. Kimbra won second place in the 2004 Rockquest competition, and made her first music video, ‘Smile,’ for a children's TV show. She also performed in her high school jazz choir.
* In 2007, Kimbra won the Juice TV award for Best Breakthrough Music Video for her second single, ‘Simply on My Lips,’ which caught the attention of Mark Richardson (Jamiroquai, Paula Abdul) and his newly formed independent label Forum 5. Kimbra signed to Forum 5 in 2008 and moved to Melbourne, Australia.
* In June 2010, Kimbra released her first single for Forum 5, ‘Settle Down,’ and prompted celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to write, “If 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!”
* In December 2010, the Australian 'indietronica' group Miami Horror released the single, ‘I Look to You,’ featuring vocals by Kimbra. Her song ‘Cameo Lover’ followed in 2011, earning Kimbra the top award in the 2011 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition. Ironically, ‘Cameo Lover’ won the songwriting competition ahead of third-place finisher, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know,’ written by Australian musician, Gotye.