IN five short years Kimbra has gone from laying down tracks on a borrowed eight-track recorder to releasing a platinum-selling debut album, picking up a swag of awards and selling out shows the world over.
But she isn’t resting on her laurels, she’s heading on the road for a string of dates including Port Macquarie’s Festival of the Sun and already turning her attention to her sophomore album.
In just a few years you’ve found success. How do you adjust to so many people knowing your name and face?
It doesn’t feel like it’s happened in a few years, but rather a steady and natural progression from when I first started recording my album at 17. Even before that point I had music on the radio at [the age of] 15 back in New Zealand. So there has been a long time for me to prepare and grow.
However, the recognition has picked up fast and it’s still an aspect I am getting used to. It can be difficult, but it’s also testament to the fact that people have connected with the music and I do appreciate that and feel thankful for it.
How does it feel to play shows where people know every single word of your songs?
It’s an incredible thing. A lot of the songs on Vows were written in my bedroom, some of them even when I was 16. And to think that I would be playing a 9pm slot at a festival in Istanbul to a crowd who are singing almost every word would have just baffled me as a teenager. It’s amazing to think how far a song can reach and it’s been exciting to witness that first hand.
You’ve been well and truly claimed by Australia and have been based here for years. But are you still a Kiwi at heart?
That’s always where my roots will be and where I grew up. However, I believe you can have many homes around the world that are close to your heart and I certainly consider Melbourne one of those. It was certainly the birthplace of Vows and I love living there.
And now you’re taking on the US and European markets. How have your international shows been so far? It must have been great to headline a London gig?
Our London show was probably the most special of the whole European tour. We played the Union Chapel: a spectacular church with stained-glass windows and a huge, rotund roof that had the most amazing acoustics. It was the last show of the tour and definitely the most memorable. This current tour of America has also exceeded all expectations. We sold out almost every date, including two nights in Los Angeles and New York, and the response has been really amazing. American audiences are really expressive, which I love.
Vows was such a critical and chart success and fan favourite. Do you feel pressure to deliver on the follow-up?
Of course. But a bit of pressure is a positive thing – as long as it doesn’t come with force or threaten the natural creative process. I’m excited to dig into new material and feel committed to following my heart with the new music.
Vows earned you an ARIA nod for best female artist. What means more: awards and nominations or chart success? Or is there something else?
What means most is the influence and connect the music has had on people all around the world – hearing their stories about how they have been inspired or provoked. It is also really meaningful to receive acknowledgement from other artists I have admired and looked up to. I have been very fortunate to discuss possible collaborations with some of those artists and producers. Awards and chart success are meaningful in their own way, but they are by no means a drive for what I do.
You’re gearing up for a busy festival season with Festival of the Sun, Homebake and Summadayze. Do you enjoy festivals?
They have a very specific energy and I enjoy tailoring our set to suit that. My favourite part about festivals is being able to look up and see a huge expanse of sky.