It was a trip to Ethiopia in 2015 — where New Zealander singer Kimbra met women and children living with HIV – which gifted her perspective.

By Ben Cameron (The Advertise) |

Forget The Grammy in 2013; it was a trip to Ethiopia which really transformed Kimbra’s life.

Speaking to Music Confidential from her Manhattan apartment, the New Zealand-born progressive pop performer is a few days away from a well-earned “silent retreat” at a Buddhist monastery, about six hours out of town.

It’s all part of escaping the NY music bubble, with even a studio in her two bedroom flat.

“I’ll be practicing silence there with a couple of friends, taking my pain, just being in the countryside,” Kimbra says.

“There’s time to be silent and time to be still. It’s exactly the kind of discipline you have to have in a city like this.

“It’s important I make the time to remove myself and find balance. Music isn’t everything, it’s a big, important part of my life but I think I’ve learned from having success happen really fast.”

Acclaim was fast-tracked through that globally-adored, Grammy Award-winning duet with Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know, when Kimbra was just 21.

Even the monks would have heard it.

However, it was a trip to Ethiopia in 2015 — where she met women and children living with HIV – which gifted her perspective.

“I’m so curious about so many other facets of life,” she says.

“I want to always posture my life in a way where I’m receptive to the quieter moments. Your career isn’t everything, it really isn’t.”

The African experience – in both 2015 and 16 – came purely through chance and Kimbra’s natural curiosity, after popping her head into a church service in Los Angeles.

“I don’t really go to church or consider myself religious but every now and then on a Sunday morning I’ll just stumble into places,” she says.

“They were talking (at the service) all about this trip to Ethiopia and… this organization which works with women and children affected by HIV.”

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