I recently discovered this artist randomly after watching the Gotye video “Somebody That I Used To Know” largely as a result of clicking on random links associated with Lana Del Rey videos. (Aside: I don’t care about her fake lips or persona; I think “Video Games” is beautiful.) Immediately, upon hearing the first few beats of “Settle Down,” I was hooked. I mean, she is singing her own bass line! I don’t think I’ve noticed anyone doing that since someone informed me that Paul was singing the bass in the Beatles’ song “I Will.” (Listen closely, you’ll notice.)
Kimbra has a fun soulful voice which she uses creatively to create jazz/blues inspired dance music in eye-catching, almost technicolor videos. The colors in her “Cameo Lover” video somehow remind me of the way color was used in the Catherine Deneuve film “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg;” the videos pair with the music to create an exciting visual feast that bodes well for pop music of the future.
Her dancing is also incredibly striking, as well as her use and choice of backup dancers. In “Settle Down,” she uses two little girls as her dancers. They are certainly non-traditional and attention getting, if nothing else.
Back to her voice, she sounds very minimally auto-tuned, to the extent that I understand the term, and she understands well how to interplay between her head voice and chest voice – an art that many powerhouse singers completely ignore. She also understands how to select the forcefulness of her voice based both on the qualities of the song itself, but also based on the characters and emotions that she is trying to portray. Her “Cameo Lover” reminds me both of 70s disco, in the best way, and Belle & Sebastien’s “Funny Little Frog.” It’s just a great reinterpretation of old school pop.
Final note: I love a girl that can rock the pale skin/red lips look. So A++ in my book.
Note: Check out this more minimally produced version of Cameo Lover. You can really hear the qualities in her voice better here. I really appreciate that she stays on key when she hits high notes.