Kimbra is a singer/songwriter bringing her own style, talents and inspiration to the world of experimental music and communicating her inner vision more clearly.
At 17 you discovered your musical talents and skill for songwriting. Most kids would have been studying and looking towards the end of school; so what prompted your inquisitiveness about music?
It was just always there. I gravitated to music as a child through going to musicals and shows, and then joining the Jazz choir at school. Soon after that, I was introduced to more experimental music, and after that it just became my constant obsession and hobby to create music with my 8-track or to be discovering some new and exciting band for myself.
What kind of musical influences or icons did you have at that
I started off with more traditional influences in the world of Jazz, but around the age of 15 the bands I loved most were The Mars Volta, Interpol, Mew and The Blood Brothers. Prog Rock and experimental music baffled me and inspired so much, because I could never understand it all on the first listen. It got me excited about the concept of Pop Music being not only satisfying and melodically interesting, but also clever in the risks it takes.
And who do you look to now for inspiration?
These days I am listening to a lot of Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, a Pakistani singer who uses his voice in incredible ways. I also love the new Grizzly Bear album and Flying Lotus’ new record.
You’ve collaborated with some of the music industry’s best. What skills have you picked up along the way?
Vocabulary in the studio is very important, as it allows you to communicate your vision more clearly and actually speak in the same terms when it comes to production and mixing. I’ve become very interested in this side of things and a big learning curve has been learning to program and sample by myself – this allowed me to execute full arrangements of my songs just at home in my bedroom, then use the bigger studios to refine the sounds and tighten up the overall vision.
Now that you are touring so heavily, when do you get time to be a songwriter – do the places you visit inspire you?
The places I visit definitely inspire me. But the difficult thing is not having the time to fully relay all the amazing experiences that I have swimming around in my head at the moment. However, I do feel excited about all the perspectives I am acquiring from spending time with so many interesting people, and touring definitely opens your eyes to various cultures around the world.
Luckily, Port Macquarie has secured you to perform at FOTSUN, an amazing regional festival with loads of charisma and funk. With only 3,000 attending, what are you looking forward to about a more intimate festival?
I love intimate shows. We toured with Foster The People this year and got to play venues like Red Rocks amphitheatre etc. which was amazing, but even after that experience I still think nothing beats a smaller capacity room. You can really make eye contact with your audience and the energy is so much more exciting, I find.
What’s next for 2013 in your schedule?
After the summer festivals, I will be knuckling down and getting started on a second album. I want to try and find some stillness again. I will also spend more time in the US, as there are some exciting collaborations in the works.
Ideally, what would you like to be doing in 5 years? Where would you be?
Living in the moment.
Kimbra will be at FOTSUN on December 15.
This story was found on issue 84 of Greater Port Macquarie Focus