Assuming you haven’t been perched under a rock for the past month, you have most likely heard Gotye’s transcendent tune, “Somebody I Used to Know” (almost 100 million views on YouTube; probably 80 million of them from me). The track, as well as the humble Belgian artist, is amazing enough, but it’s the musical maven who belts out a featured verse that is worth recognition. Her full name is Kimbra Johnson and, as a stunning 21 year-old native of New Zealand, makes me feel quite inadequate, to say the least.
Technically, she was signed four years ago, but her debut album, Vows, has taken over three years to complete, signifying its greatness. Kimbra has been compared to several of the most talented artists, from Nina Simone to Björk to Janelle Monáe. With reported comparisons to such powerhouse voices, I couldn’t help but investigate for myself and I was definitely impressed. At the very least, she is a pop singer. But more than that, she is a sultry, soulful singer with the proverbial pipes of steel who, like popular singers Adele and Florence Welch, absolutely refuses to fit the sugary pop-tart mold. I strongly suggest you check her out, if only to listen to her scat (yes, scat) on slower tracks like “Plain Gold Ring” or watch her delightful dancing, somewhat reminiscent of the moves we break out when no one is looking, in videos like “Settle Down”.