Kimbra Is Unapologetically Making Pop Music

  • Written by  Bree Smith
  • Wednesday, 20 June 2018 17:56
Published in Music  
Kimbra tours July 2018 with shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Kimbra tours July 2018 with shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Kimbra and her latest collection of tunes brings a fresh, new perspective that fans have been lusting after.

'Primal Heart' (released April 2018) is a more in-depth, introspective body of work and sees her step back from the crux of 2014 album 'The Golden Echo'.

After taking a lengthy hiatus, Kimbra has returned with a more mature perspective, delving into the emotions that have shaped her new sound. With an Australian tour imminent, Kimbra took a moment to chat about her latest album and the importance of pop music.

In comparison to her earlier albums, 'Primal Heart' strips back the distractions and presents a raw and emotive glance into her personal life.

"Art should reflect the human experience," Kimbra says, "and no human stays the same year to year. We’re all learning and going through different relationships, so I tried to make my music track that similar narrative.

"You have to harness the sound that feels appropriate for where you are in your life and the influences you have at that time."

With a progression from the intricacies of 'The Golden Echo', it was clear to Kimbra that 'Primal Heart' was going to be a very visceral album that spoke in a more direct way to her listeners.

"Going in from the start, I knew it was going to be a different record because I felt different. I’ve matured a lot, as a live performer and as a writer... and I’ve always enjoyed surprising my fan base."

Over the years, pop seems to have become a dirty word in the music industry; what was once touted as one of the most progressive styles, has since become predictable and interchangeable.

"Pop has this incredible opportunity to mesh multiple genres and cultural references into one place," argues Kimbra, who says the genre shouldn’t be reduced to what is being spun on the radio.

"When you think of our favourite, big, pop artists we think of Michael Jackson, Prince and David Bowie. Did everything they did sound the same? No, not at all. Did it sound like everything else on the radio? No.

"It certainly was pop because they were writing within a formula that’s recognisable, but they were drawing from influences at the time that were relevant."

When it comes to her own music, Kimbra embraces the pop label unapologetically working with choruses and hooks to create something progressive and relevant to the youth of today.

While the genre can be exciting and re-inventive, Kimbra says it’s often disheartening when pop becomes a standardised recipe. "[It] starts to be seen as this commercialised product that sounds so predictable, that’s not what pop has to be at all."

In recent times, genres such as pop are being used as a vehicle to bring issues such as gender inequality to the forefront. Campaigns like the #MeToo movement have become particularly prolific in the industry, questioning whether you are able to separate the artist from their art after allegations have come to light.

For Kimbra it’s not simply a yes or no answer because "the beauty of art is that it gets to live in a world of its own, despite whether you agree with the values of a person or not.

"It’s a subjective thing, but morality is somewhat objective when it comes to sexual harassment. We can be black and white about things like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, to a point that does change the credibility of that person as a human being that you once admired.

"Does it change their art? Well it doesn’t change the art itself, it does change your relationship with the person behind it."

While the music industry is slowly seeing a shift in perspective and starting to hold artists accountable for their actions, Kimbra still questions whether there is a case for artists to be excommunicated forever because "everyone deserves a chance to readjust what their values are in society as a person".

While it’s hard to imagine the type of pressure and anticipation that must have accompanied the making of 'Primal Heart', the end result is something that Kimbra should be truly proud of.

Life is too short to sit at home, caught up in the nostalgia of past albums. So sit your melancholy aside for a moment and delve into what has been an album worth waiting for.

'Primal Heart' is available now.

Kimbra 2018 Tour Dates

Mon 16 Jul - The Triffid (Brisbane)

Tue 17 Jul - Factory Theatre (Sydney)

Thu 19 Jul - The Corner Hotel (Melbourne)

Sat 21 Jul - Rosemount Hotel (Perth)


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