MP: I’m hugely impressed by the amount of color and vision and love that you bring. There just seems to be a lot of passion and beauty that you emit with your performances. So what excites you most in your life right now—what gives you that light?

K: I think the idea of being on stage and playing for people, and being able to inject a little bit of joy into their lives is a really exciting concept for me. That’s definitely why I make music. It’s never been for any kind of materialistic reasons, so that thought of being able to be up on stage, and being able to give something to someone in a moment of need for them—that gets me up in the morning; that really excites me. And just, you know, the traveling that’s involved with this job is a really exciting part of what I do as well.

MP: What is the most vulnerable part of that?

K: There’s a real lack of routine with that kind of life, and I think that can be very difficult. I left high school, which is of course full of so much routine and regimented classes, and then to go into a life that’s just about writing an album… That freedom to do that is an incredible blessing, but it’s also very challenging to be self-motivated through that. And now, in return, every day is different, which is wonderful, but it also means that you lose out on that kind of social stability—of having your friends around all the time and being able to keep in touch with those people. That part of it is hard, but everyone has the cons to their job, and I think the pros in mine definitely outweigh the cons. {laughter}

MP: How do you transform your pain? What is your process? How do you transform it or how are you with it?

K: Music is my catharsis for that. It’s an incredible blessing that I have this way of expressing myself through music and lyric, and I’m so grateful for that in moments of pain or of suffering—that I have this means of channeling it; it’s really amazing. My band as well—having them around and being able to jump on stage and bond together and share that energy is really uplifting as well.

MP: How do you let go? When you know it’s time to let go of something, or an experience, or someone, do you have a process with that?

K: Yeah, letting go—even just musically, aside from emotionally—I find that quite challenging. Knowing the right time for letting go of my album, for instance, was a really big challenge. Knowing when to put the red flags up and say, “It’s done…” And also, emotionally, with relationships…But for me I think it’s just about taking that time of reflection and contemplation. That’s probably my process in every decision that I make: to make sure that I spend time just with myself, and really times of silence and mediation to go through that process; and music is a big part of that as well.

MP: Do you have a practice of meditation? How do you center? I imagine you’re pulled in so many directions, and energetically you have so much going out all the time.

K: Yeah that’s true.

MP: How do you stay centered?

K: Just try to keep the heart turned outward, as well as having moments inward. I think the threat of an industry like this is that you can become sort of self-obsessed. There’s so much praise being given to you—there’s a real threat of exalting the ego. The key to all of that is keeping hold of humility and keeping hold of the people around you, and making sure you stay grounded with your family and friends. And, you know, contemplation: I read a lot of books on philosophy and religion, and try to keep always growing in that part of my life, because without having a spiritual grounding, I think you can get really swayed by the winds of all the praise or the criticism; it’s all very, kind of, up and down. Try to stay up and focused.

MP: Are there any causes that you support and you’re passionate about?

K: Yeah I’ve done quite a bit of work here with the Salvation Army in Melbourne. They’re an incredible bunch of people who are really focused on homelessness in Melbourne, in the city. Mainly they focus around teenagers on the streets, and I’ve done a little bit of volunteer work with them, just on their meal buses, and just trying to help out where I can with that. I was around a little bit of a music night to help and get some of those kids into learning instruments, because a lot of them don’t attend school. I just feel passionate about trying to get kids inspired about something at that age, because without that you can get really carried off into some dark places. So yeah, the Salvation Army, especially this one in the city, they’re practicing a true kind of compassion that you don’t see all that much these days in the church, so it’s really refreshing to see people embracing the true cause of what that faith is about.

MP: What are you creating now?

K: America is definitely something I’m pretty excited about. I’m working on getting out and getting really tight with the community for SXSW. But there’s these songs that I’ve been working on in America that are definitely a new direction for me musically and lyrically, and it feels really good for me to be producing new material that will be exclusive in America. I’m throwing myself back into writing music again, because I worked very long on the album Vows, and by the end of it, it felt pretty stagnant for me, and I was very ready to let go of those songs, and I didn’t feel quite the same connection to them anymore. It’s really great to be inspired again.

MP: Did you say you’re going to be here at SXSW?

K: That’s right, yeah.

MP: Oh, I’ll get to meet you in person. I’m here in Austin.

K: Great! Yeah, that would be really wonderful.

MP: When you write, what is that process like? Do you feel like you channel it, or do you clear yourself out and it comes to you?

K: It’s, in fact, really different every time. When people ask that question, it’s very hard to nail down a formula or a circumstance that I always write in, but I definitely do believe that there have been moments, musically, when I have channeled something, you know? And I think the more that I can find myself getting out of the way—like you said yourself—trying to get out of thinking too much, and sometimes something truly special can happen. That’s the beautiful mystery of song writing—that you really don’t know where these songs come from exactly, and you don’t know how you came up with them—and god bless it that you should have the gift of channeling that. But I’m very glad that I don’t know how it happens, because that’s what keeps drawing me back to doing it: the mystery behind it. It’s definitely really a beautiful thing.

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All Photos: Thom Kerr

One Response to Kimbra Interview

  1. Thanks for this post. Kimbra is an incredible voice and talent. It’s so nice to see her getting recognized. Although I hope she never goes main stream, she deserves much success.

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