Hamilton-born singing sensation Kimbra has the potential to be the next Prince, according to the chairman of Warner Brothers Records.
On the day her album, Vows, launches in the U.S., Kimbra has been featured in a New York Times article that is full of praise.
It describes her sashaying "on to the stage at Webster Hall, in her first bona fide concert in New York, while her band vamped on a campy movie theme".
It said she began her first song Cameo Lover and the crowd joined in.
"I always imagined my first American tour might be pretty modest," Kimbra told the Times.
"What I was really surprised about was how many people knew the words to my songs already."
Vows was released in New Zealand and Australia last year, and in its first week it charted at #3 in New Zealand and #5 in Australia.
However what brought her to wider attention in the U.S. is her chart-topping duet with Gotye on the hit, Someone That I used to Know.
Rob Cavallo, chairman of Warner Brothers Records, said the Gotye hit came well after the label had signed her, which was in June 2011.
"Kimbra's a real artist, and I envision her having a 15-to-20-year career," he said.
"She has the potential to be like Prince. That's how strong her musicality is."
The Times said she was philosophical about her sudden visibility in the U.S., especially given that she still had not had her own single on the pop charts.
"It's a good thing, because you get to build a foundation and explain what you're about," she said.
"It's difficult if you get thrust to the top with a hit single, and nobody knows anything about you."
She had always loved pop music, soul and R&B, but wanted her own songs to "take a more progressive angle, with theatrical elements".
She admired singer-songwriters, she said, who "used their voices as instruments", like Bjiork, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Prince.
The Times said that Kimbra was electric on stage.
"She leapt and shimmied in her flouncy dress, played a tambourine vigorously, flung her hair and sometimes did odd hand and arm motions as she sang, as if she were visualising the notes or conducting the audience.
"A high point came when she sang a cover of Nina Simone's Plain Gold Ring, with its hypnotic ostinato bass. She invested the lyrics about a woman in love with a married man a fierce sexual longing absent from Ms. Simone's bluesy lament.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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