Kimbra talks awards and vintage shopping

Like me, you probably first chanced upon Kimbra as the female voice on Gotye’s mega hit, Somebody That I Used To Know. And, like me, you probably went on to fall in love with her effervescent soul disco pop brilliance. So meteoric has been her rise that she has toured the world, sold bucketloads of her debut album, Vows, finds herself as the main draw at festivals and was a winner at this year’s Grammys. However, the charming New Zealand-born Melbourne resident is taking it all in her stride and remains focused on the thing that really matters – the creation of fine music.

“In terms of how many records I’ve sold… I don’t follow that. I couldn’t really tell you,” she shrugs. “I don’t follow the chart positions and stuff. People will tell me and, of course it’s exciting to hear, but that’s the reason you have record labels. They deal with that side of things, which gives you space to just sit and do the important stuff which is make the music that connects with people.”

That isn’t to say that the 22-year-old is anti-awards. Along with her Grammy glory, she won Female Artist of the Year for the second year running at the 2012 ARIAs in Sydney, where she also performed. She also dominated the recent New Zealand Music Awards, picking up five trophies including Album of the Year, and is flattered by the recognition. “It’s an honour to be nominated for awards and, for me, it’s another affirmation that the music is connecting with people, which is why I write it. The idea of it having moved someone – whether that is an industry person or a 15-year-old kid coming to my show – it’s a further extension of the music having meant something. And that’s great.”

Whether she wins more trophies or not this week, there is little doubt that, were there such a thing to exist, she would win the ‘Most Awesomely Dressed in Vintage Attire’ Award. Kimbra is always beautifully turned out and it is something in which she takes great pride. “I style myself,” she says when our conversation turns to her sartorial elegance. “I buy a lot of vintage clothing on tour. I stop by little shops in America and buy clothes. There are a couple of key designers that I like to work with too, that have made me dresses for various tours. They are always collaborative efforts. We go back and forth and discuss the vision for the dress. There are definitely people I trust that I go to if I am running out of ideas.”

So iconic is Kimbra becoming in the fashion world, that designers are unsurprisingly falling over themselves to have her seen in their clothes. For somebody who loves to rummage around vintage stores for new threads, it must be a dream to have fabulous frocks thrown at her. “It is a blessed position to be in, where designers want to dress you. If I think their aesthetic matches up with what I like to do musically then I will take up those opportunities but I still do like to rock the vintage!”

And how well she rocks it.


Interview by Bobby Townsend