New Zealand’s kaleidoscopic pop star breaks down her move from Australia to NYC, political engagement and musical upbringing.
Kimbra Lee Johnson grew up in rural New Zealand, alongside the Waikato River before relocating to nearby Melbourne, Australia, where she crafted her full-length debut, 2011’s Vows. Ranging from spare, percussive ballads to sprightly soul vamps, the album preceded a Grammy win for 2012’s inescapable “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Australian songwriter Gotye. Though New York City was her ultimate destination, Kimbra made a pit stop in Los Angeles to record her lush and multifaceted sophomore effort, The Golden Echo, which juxtaposed elements of R&B, pop and funk. On the tail of her most recent effort, 2018’s affecting and politically engaged Primal Heart, Kimbra discusses human connection, collaborating with Thundercat and Bilal and being a figurative student of music.