The latest darling of the indie pop world, Kimbra, recently collaborated with Billboard for their Tastemakers series. Kimbra, who performed with her band on a New York rooftop, delivered somewhat stripped down versions of three tracks from her debut album Vows -- "Settle Down," "Withdraw" and "Two Way Street." While she may not be what you would classify as a "soul" artist, or an artist that can be defined in any genre really, she definitely has influences from the soul and jazz world, and as she explains in the videos they are anything from '90's R&B through to Nine Inch Nails, Mars Volta and Miles Davis.
These various genres and artists that inspire Kimbra are evident in her album and in her performances here for Billboard. Taking bits and pieces from all of these styles, and fusing them together in her unique way, it's clear that thinking outside the box creatively is something that seems to be second nature to the New Zealand born songstress. In "Two Way Street" and "Settle Down," she utilizes a vocal effect and looping machine to not only recreate the textures and layers that are on the album versions of the tracks, but to add different dimensions and an altered, almost stark feel to them. But the highlight for me, is "Withdraw" where she allows her unusual vocal delivery and lyrical storytelling to be the star. Drawing us into her pain, it feels as if Kimbra has many more years under her belt than her 22 would suggest. Have a look at Kimbra's performance for Billboard Tastemakers below and let us know your thoughts on her unique musical style.