Throwback: Kimbra

Lately it seems everyone is in love with Gotye‘s single, Somebody that I used to know. I am as well but amidst a conversation about that song a dear friend asked if I’d heard anything about the girl who provided the back-up vocals– to which I replied “No.”

Upon arriving home I immediately looked into this Kimbra person, naturally intrigued by her haunting performance on Somebody that I used to know.

At first glance you notice her stunning beauty but beyond that her voice has incredible range and fluidity. I love any vocalist who can lay it all on the stage and hold nothing back. This is exactly what I found in Kimbra.

This first video illustrates exactly what I mean.

Plain Gold Ring, Live at Sing Sing Studios (2011).

I love that she uses vocal loops instead of background vocalists. At any one time you can hear the spectrum of her vocal range. The highs and the lows, the sharp and the smooth. This one especially is lyrically gripping. Perhaps the combination of her performance and the painful sadness creeping just below the surface. That kind of vulnerability and expression is what separates the greats from the rest.

Settle Down, (2011).

She uses these young girls in several videos and –especially for this song– they bring the innocence into perspective by juxtaposing youthful idealizations with the often-true, harsh realities of adulthood. I love when the collection of dolls bursts into flames, chaotic images set to the beautiful harmonies of her voice.

Cameo Lover, (2011).

This song has more energy than the others. It’s upbeat, fresh and optimistic. It feels like being on vacation in the middle of a festival and everyone is dancing, beckoning you to take part in the festivities.

For now Kimbra has only released the EP, Settle Down. The four tracks leave you desperate for more. While no more are available for purchase, there are other videos online to entice your ears and eyes.

I stumbled across this one and was thrilled to hear her cover/mash-up of Grizzly Bear‘s Two Weeks and Tears for FearsHead over Heelstwo of my favorites.

Two Weeks/Head Over Heels, (2011).

And here’s the video that started it all: