Though New Zealand pop singer Kimbra released an award-winning debut album with 2011's Vows, it was her cameo on Gotye's smash hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" that won her global fame.
She then used that acclaim to make some of the most audacious and playful fusions of jazzy R&B, pop, and dance in the 2010s. Born Kimbra Johnson in Hamilton, New Zealand, Kimbra began taking guitar lessons around age 12 and was performing live by her teens. A 2007 Juice TV video award caught the attention of the Melbourne, Australia-based label Forum 5, which signed her to a recording contract. Her first single, "Settle Down," was released in 2010, the same year she guested on Miami Horror's "I Look to You." In 2011, Warner Bros. released Kimbra's album Vows, which featured the single "Settle Down." That year, she also appeared on "Somebody That I Used to Know" with Australian-Belgian singer Gotye, while a significantly reworked version of her debut album was released in the U.S. in May of 2012. At the end of that year Kimbra triumphed in five categories at the New Zealand Music Awards, most notably Best Female Solo Artist and Best Pop Album. She also continued to receive plaudits for her Gotye collaboration well into 2013, among them the 2012 Grammy for Record of the Year. Along with touring with Gotye and making festival appearances, including a spot at Brazil's Rock in Rio festival, Kimbra began work on her second album, The Golden Echo. She returned to the studio with producer Rich Costey and a host of collaborators including Bilal, Van Dyke Parks, Muse's Matt Bellamy, the Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and Silverchair's Daniel Johns, who co-wrote some of the album's songs. Singles such as the genre-hopping "'90s Music" and the smooth disco-funk homage "Miracle" hinted at The Golden Echo's eclecticism ahead of its August 2014 release. Kimbra reunited with Bilal in 2015, appearing on his album In Another Life, and debuted her own single "Sweet Relief" in 2016. The 2017 single "Everybody Knows" offered the first taste of her third album Primal Heart. Featuring songs co-written and co-produced by Kimbra -- as well as collaborations with John Congleton and Skrillex -- Primal Heart appeared in April 2018. ~ Matt Collar & Rich Wilson, Rovi