Artist Mini-Spotlight: Kimbra

Quite often while brainstorming posts, I want to highlight artists that only have an album or so out, whose music I’ve only recently discovered, and usually I end up doing this by way of a Song of the Day post. (There have been a lot of them lately, hmmm. Harmony Avenue should not live by Song of the Day alone…) However, a lot of the time, there’s a good deal of songs by said artist that I enjoy, yet not enough to expand into a full-blown Artist Spotlight post. Enter a new spinoff of the Artist Spotlight I’m trying out, the Artist Mini-Spotlight. (I floated making this a combo post like I did with the Song Sampler a day or two ago, but I thought it would be nice to give each artist their own space, since it’s a bit of a different situation than a song.) This will likely be shorter than most Artist Spotlight posts, provided I don’t get too long-winded (yeah, I’m already losing that battle), and will feature some of my favorite tunes by said artist, and good introductions to their music. Without further ado, the inaugural mini-spotlighted artist…

Kimbra!

If you’ve been listening to the radio lately, you might have already heard her voice. She’s the featured artist on Belgian-Australian artist Gotye’s deliriously catchy little-indie-hit-that-could, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” (Her appearance is a high point of an already pretty darn terrific song.) I, like a growing number of people at this point, had heard and fallen in love with the song, when a good friend of mine (the same one that recommended I check out Andy Grammer’s music, as noted here) suggested I look up her solo work. I found out she had an album, “Vows,” released in New Zealand and Australia (her home country and its friendly neighbor, respectively), and took a few listens to some of the songs…and oh baby, I was hooked. She has such a stunning, expressive, vibrant voice that it seems like she can do pretty much anything with. If you were impressed by what you heard of her on Gotye’s single…you are in for a treat. It gets even better.

Something I’ve noticed about Kimbra (besides her terrific music) is that so far, her music videos have been firing on all cylinders. Not since the days of Feist’s triple-threat of “1234,” “My Moon My Man,” and “I Feel It All” have I seen three video clips of  this caliber. They’re quirky, beautifully shot, engaging, dazzling, and tons of fun. I could of course introduce you to Kimbra strictly by audio, but I think it’s better if you check out her amazing visual aesthetic as well.

First off, “Settle Down,” her first single. There are shades of Bjork-style influences throughout (her use of vocal loops and harmonies is wonderfully innovative), but overall, it’s really a song that can’t be classified. The way she builds and tosses and turns…it’s intoxicating. In the best way. Here is the song, with its (literally) fiery music video attached:

The second single (P.S.: these singles sadly have only been released outside the U.S. for now, though her debut is set to bow in the States on May 22, and she does have an EP in the U.S. iTunes store), “Cameo Lover,” is insanely catchy and, to use a highly technical phrase here, pumping. I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to it the most out of all the Kimbra songs I have. There’s a bit of a ‘girl-group’ sound in here…but once again, Kimbra ends up turning it on its ear, and the result is something quite unique. The music video, featuring some infectious dancing by Kimbra herself (accompanied by a throng of female backup dancers), matches the song’s brilliance very nicely:

And because it’s her only other song with a music video, and I’m on a music video kick, the slinky, throwback-esque “Good Intent,” which shows yet another side of Kimbra’s musical vision:

In case you’re wondering whether she’s any good live…here’s a great clip of her singing another song off her debut, “Two Way Street.” If this is how she is in a studio, I can only imagine how terrific she is onstage:

To close it all off, a fun 80s-R&B-tinged number, “Call Me.” (No relation to the Blondie song of the same name…well, maybe a little.)

By the way, she’s only 22. (A fact I found out today while looking at her Wikipedia article as brief preparation for this post.) My mind, it is forever boggled. (She’s only got 2 years on me and is making this kind of incredible music? Wowsers.) Thanks for reading and listening! 🙂

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