Kimbra - interview
Who's saying what
TheVine: So tell me about that Prince cover [‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’] that you did today. Which was awesome.
Kimbra: Oh you liked it? Have you never heard that before? We played it ages ago [before the record] but it’s fun to bust it out again.
It goes so well in the upper octave, it’s almost like it makes sense for a woman to sing it.
[Laughs] Because Prince did sing like a woman, so much.
They said he was going to come for BDO at one point, right?
Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. But you never know with Prince anymore, do you? He’s so surprising and mysterious, that’s kind of why I love him.
Were you cold out there? I was freezing just watching you.
It was a little cold to start with, for sure. But today I had a lot of fun on stage, it was a sort of ‘us against the elements ‘ kind of vibe. I almost had a new sense of energy up there, like ‘We can do this together!’ And everyone was having such a great time despite the awful weather.
I remember coming to your early shows and feeling like one of the few people who knew the words and now everyone’s in on it.
Isn’t it nice? And besides, songs like ‘Cameo Lover’ aren’t really the easiest words to remember, either.
It's nice that people are putting in the effort.
I like the idea of challenging people, you know? There’s so much pop in the mainstream that I feel almost degrades people a little? You know what I mean, because it’s so predictable and formulaic. I think music should be surprising in some way. When you can stretch people’s perceptions of what a pop song can be it’s exciting.
You're going away soon aren't you?
Just for a couple of months, I’m going to L.A. I fly out next week, until the end of November. That way I’m back for all the summer festivals.
Are you doing a lot of them?
Yeah, we’re doing Falls, Homebake, Big Day Out. Actually I’m not sure if that’s been announced, but I’m sure it will be out by the time this gets published. And yeah. America we’re going for writing and recording. There’s a chance I might release some new material in The States. And I get to see the boys! Miami Horror are still over there [Kimbra is very close with the band]. They’ll be there until December.
I remember reading that they went to South America or Mexico or something and people went nuts for them?
Oh yeah! They have this kind of crazy devotion that you don’t really see as much in Australia. They really do go all-out.
Will this be your first time in L.A.?
Oh definitely not. It may be my fourth of fifth time? Because when I was writing Vows I went over for some inspiration, and obviously when I signed with Warner Brothers, there was a lot of back and forth for that to make sure I was ready to go into a [puts on serious voice] Big Record Deal.
No more releasing mp3s for free anymore [Kimbra’s first two singles, ‘Settle Down’ and ‘Cameo Lover’ were distributed free online by her management]. You’re feeling good about it, though?
Yeah I’m feeling very positive about it so far. I guess the good thing is that I made this on my own with my management and now I’m excited to make a second album that pulls on all the resources that Warners can bring. Producers, amazing musicians…
Do you have a wish list?
Dude, I’m already being able to actually cross some people off! Like, Van Dyke Parks who is an incredible strings arranger, and I’m doing some stuff with people who have worked with Rufus Wainwright and Fiona Apple, the guy who produced Santigold’s album. It’s cool, there’s some great people over there.
In terms of this [Parklife] tour have you hooked up with anyone that you’ve thought ‘I’d like to work with them or write with them’?
I was talking to SebastiAn before and I was saying ‘You should do a remix for me!’
Did you watch his show? It was insane.
It had a kind of totalitarian Nazi overtone, for sure. But it was great, I got to use my French on him. I speak a bit, but I never get to use it so we were having a nice conversation.
Does he only chain-smoke on stage?
Nope, he kinda seemed to be doing it when we were talking, too. But yeah, you know, met up with Santi and had a chat to Lykke Li and they were both very cool. I guess everyone’s so tired by now after all the early mornings [Sydney Parklife is the second last show of the tour] that it’s a bit of mumbling before we get on the plane.
Are you exhausted?
I am, yes. But you just have to be thankful as well, because everyone gets tired on their job but I guess I’m blessed enough that I have a job where I get to go out and make people happy. But it’s not all glamorous, you know, people ask me about that and it’s a bit like-
-‘I have to sit through a whole bunch of wankers asking me questions every day’
[laughs] Sometimes. And it’s not all green room stuff there is a lot of hard work. There’s a lot of early mornings, keeping the stamina up to perform.
But you've been doing it for a long time now. [Kimbra has been performing in one way or another since her early teens]
True, but maybe not at the same level. Obviously I’m more prepared for it [now] and I’m definitely not complaining in any way
So maybe America will be a bit of a break in that respect?
Hopefully, I mean, I won’t be touring. It will be nice to just sit in a studio again and chill out. Still, the Americans work you hard – every day is a different studio, you know? But I love it!
Absolutely. So who are you going to see now?
I think we’re actually going to skip out of here and see the Lion King in 3D!
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