22-year-old New Zealand songstress Kimbra Johnson is most famously known at the moment as the female voice on Gotye’s hit single “Somebody That I Used To Know,” but the brunette chantuese is garnering success in her own right. The singer-songwriter already has an established career in Australia and New Zealand from the success of her debut album Vows.

Kimbra calls her work on “Somebody That I Used To Know” a “very 21st century collaboration” with the tech-savvy Gotye. Kimbra explained to KROQ/Los Angeles why she thinks “Somebody That I Used To Know” is such a huge success.

“I’ve been a fan of Gotye’s work for years,” said Kimbra. “He really has a way of kind of pinpointing an emotion and making it really real for people. I know that the song had a vulnerability to it; like a fragility that everyone could relate to. But, I didn’t think either of us could have predicted the success of the track.”

Kimbra understands that break up anthems are universal. She expanded, saying “I think it’s something that everyone can relate to. That’s what everyone says, you know, but it’s true for people. It maks you feel a sense of unity with other people who have been through the same thing.”

“I feel special and blessed to be the person to sing that line for all the other women. It’s a complicated thing breaking up with someone.”

Much of Kimbra’s success has been a product of technological advancement. Learning computer programs like ProTools has changed the way she writes music. For her collaboration track “Warrior” with Foster the People and A-Trak for Converse, she used her computer to record some of the vocals and the music video was filmed with the usage of green screen. All the musicians were in totally different places when it was shot.

“We had such a deadline to work to and we were all kind of on tour at different places, so we just kind of had to work with what we could,” said Kimbra. “Even the song itself, I was recording a lot of those vocals in an airport in Germany, like singing into my Macbook. You know it was a very 21st century collaboration.”

Jay Tilles, CBS Local


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