“The Gotye stuff is kind of a side note, and that came well after we signed her,” WME’s Dave Tamaroff told Pollstar after seeing a sold-out Kimbra show in Australia, where the New Zealand-born songstress calls home. “Once we heard two tracks [“Settle Down” and “Cameo Lover”], that’s all we needed to know. These are fantastic, undeniable, but she had no platform over here yet to launch this music in the States.” Add major support from Warner Bros., and signing the 21-year-old was a no-brainer.
“Once the Gotye song got real big, we said this is fantastic, just one more launching point for her,” the agent said.
Kimbra supported Gotye on a club tour in March and April that quickly forced itself into larger rooms as the song took over the charts internationally.
Now Kimbra, who garners comparisons to the likes of Björk and Prince for her quirky style and big-league pipes, is supporting Foster The People this summer in 4,000- to 6,000-capacity venues. In the fall, she’ll do her first U.S. headlining run, in rooms 1,000 capacity up to 2,300, Tamaroff said.
All this for an artist whose debut album Vows dropped in the U.S. May 22.
“It’s been mostly word-of-mouth and people trading tracks online,” Tamaroff said, adding that the Gotye effect was huge in getting her name out but fans are embracing her as a solo artist first and foremost.
“When her things get posted on Facebook, all of a sudden you see hundreds of shares and people commenting nonstop about how amazing it is, and it’s not even standard music videos, but her performing at South By Southwest or Spotify, Rolling Stone sessions, a really stripped-down set. Peoples’ jaws just drop when they see her.”
Highlights so far include a headline show at the Troubadour in April that sold out in 45 seconds, Tamaroff said, and a free, 300-capacity KCRW show at Bardot in Hollywood that had fans lined up around the block hoping to see just the stripped-down version of her show.
Count on her headline run being far from stripped-down.