Singer-songwriter Kimbra made a splash in the early 2010s with the Grammy Award-winning breakup ballad “Somebody That I Used To Know, with Gotye (11 years later, the music video recently surpassed 2 billion views on YouTube.) Since then, the New Zealand native has established herself as a genre-defying solo artist in her own right, and last month she stopped by NeueHouse Madison Square for an album preview, ahead of the release of her new LP, “A Reckoning.” Before she left, we grabbed her for a quick Q&A on her creative process, inspiration, and the special guest on her upcoming tour.
Kimbra Lee Johnson
Singer/Songwriter, Musician, Producer
Path not taken:
Dog trainer (though I’d like to pursue!)
Describe your ideal workspace:
A room with lots of instruments. A cup of tea. Pen and paper. Darkly lit with warm lighting. Curious mindset.
What’s a metaphor to describe your creative process?
A bit like a painter of many different mediums—throwing different random colors and textures at the canvas, then slowly revealing form and shape out of the chaos.
I tend to get my best ideas and breakthroughs by:
Spending time with other inspiring artists and turning up consistently.
Currently on repeat:
Subtle Body Dawn (Anna Wise)
‘Courage, The sweet belief of knowing nothing comes for free’
If you could travel back and re-experience one period in your life, what would it be and why?
Being two or three years old before the world had names and labels. When everything was being experienced for the first time.
The best part of the work I do is:
Getting to explore different sides of who I am and inspiring others to do the same.
The hardest part of my work is:
Trusting the path and continuing to give courageously when I doubt myself.
What do you hope to work on next (or in the near future)?
A book of poetry.
What’s something “new” in your life and/or working-life?
Bringing my dog on tour! It’s made the road a lot more fun.