This 21-year-old singer has “it.”
Plain Gold Ring
Explosively controlled jazz. Volcanic scat and soul. She bobs and weaves and falls victim to the depths of her emotional possession, as all great artists do. But she rises from those depths and expresses the journey upward and outward, without losing her courage or her conviction.
Aside from her wonderful voice, running parallel with it, she moves in interesting, idiosyncratic ways to her own song. A refreshing change from all too many pop singers who dance in cookie cutter ways, pushed into narrow corporate forms to look like every other pop singer. Joy Williams of The Civil Wars is similar in her physical originality.
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Kimbra Johnson was born in New Zealand, grew up there, but now makes her home in Australia. She has been compared with singers like Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Bjork. Her first album, Vows, was released this past August.
The Waikato Times has an article reminiscing about how far she’s traveled already at such a young age. An excerpt:
Remember Kimbra Johnson? The Waikato Times recommended you should when she first appeared on our pages as a cute 10-year-old a decade ago, and now the playful pop singer has signed an international record deal.
Kimbra, as she is now known, was unable to talk to the Times yesterday because she was busy in a Melbourne recording studio, but the former Hillcrest High School student was able to update things via email.
The 21-year-old has come a long way since she sang the national anthem at the Waikato Cup race meet in December 2000; she this week signed an international deal with Warner Brothers Records which will release her debut album, Vows, later this year.