Kimbra was born Kimbra Johnson in Hamilton, New Zealand. In high school, she entered a popular music competition called Rockquest for three years straight. In 2004, she came in second place at the age of 14.
At age 12, Kimbra performed the New Zealand national anthem in front of 27,000 people at the Auckland vs. Waikato NPC rugby final.
In 2010, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton featured Kimbra's single "Settle Down" on his website. Hilton commended the song, stating "If you like Nina Simone, Florence and the Machine, and/or Bjork, then you will enjoy Kimbra - her music reminds us of all those fierce ladies!"
Kimbra appeared on the 2012 hit "Somebody That I Used To Know
" by Australian-Belgian singer Gotye. The song quickly became a smash hit in 18 countries and stayed at the #1 spot in Gotye's native Australia for eight weeks straight. The same year, Kimbra appeared on Saturday Night Live
to perform the song with Gotye during an episode hosted by actor Josh Brolin.
Kimbra says her unique voice comes from listening to a variety of artists and styles. Some of the artists she likes include Prince, Michael Jackson, Janelle Monae, Battles, Electric Empire, Bilal, and John Legend.
One thing that fans love about Kimbra is her interesting stage costumes. Kimbra gets a lot of her dresses from a store in L.A. called Jet Rags, sometimes buying pieces for as little as $20. She says she mostly looks for velvet, lace, and theatrical pieces in bold colors and prints. When she's in Australia, Kimbra searches for items in the vintage stores along Crown Street in Sydney.
Kimbra says the coolest thing she's seen a fan make was an exact replica of the dress she wore in the video for "Cameo Lover," only in a smaller size that fit her three year old daughter. The little girl was in the front, dancing to all of Kimbra's songs. The singer called the sight "incredible."
Asked during a Reddit AMA what her favorite instrument is, Kimbra replied: "Actually the iPad! Ha! Its more a piece of technology but I'm always discovering new beat machines & synths on there & it's so mobile!"