My dad, Ken, is the one who connected me to nature. He loved taking me on walks. As a kid I would sit high on his shoulders when we visited lakes and beaches 20 minutes from where I lived in Hamilton, New Zealand. He’s the one who showed me the black sand beaches of Raglan.
Dad loved taking black-and-white photographs and had a darkroom in the garage. He spent a lot of time in there. He would let me dip the paper in the chemicals and watch the photographs develop. I was his little helper and I was always in awe of what he would do next with the camera.
I love Dad’s relaxed energy. He works as a doctor and is an adventurer and dreamer. He met my mum, Chris, when they both worked in a hospital. She’s a nurse.
Dad was big on discipline when I was growing up, but I was raised with strong values and taught how to navigate problems in a very calm and balanced way. There is a nice sense of trust in our family and it stems from the way my parents raised me and my brother, Matt. I am grateful for that.
Dad bought me my first guitar at 12. Every day after school I would make him listen to a new chord I learnt – my music room was in the garage alongside his darkroom. My brother played keyboards. He is 14 months younger than me and lives in Melbourne now.
As kids, Matt and I used to invent imaginary worlds. We loved adventure. At the back of our house was a big forest and we would play there and dream up good and evil characters and invent these Narnia-esque worlds. We were very playful as children and we kept that right through to our teenage years. We are still very close and share a deep love of music.
I had really strong crushes when I was around 14. I was far too shy to talk to the boys but I definitely liked a guy who was a bit older than me in high school. He introduced me to a lot of music I hadn’t heard before. I was enamoured that he knew music I never had access to, bands like Interpol, Incubus and Mars Volta. Nothing ever happened with him, though. I was more of a dreamer.
My first kiss was at a party when I was 14. It was a non-event but I felt crushed when I saw him go off with another girl at the end of the night. That was pretty tough as a teenager.
I am the sort of person who definitely likes being in relationships. I have had some significant long-term relationships and I have been in a relationship with someone for the past year. When I find someone I really like, I want to commit and give it a good go. But because I have been so career-driven and on tour a lot, I have also spent a lot of time single. It’s been good to get to know myself better and get to know what I am looking for next. I’m definitely interested in having a family and getting married. It is something I would like to do, for sure.
I met Prince at the 2013 Grammy Awards when Gotye and I won Record of the Year for Somebody That I Used to Know. I remember looking at the crowd and seeing Beyoncé standing up and clapping for us. It was surreal.
Prince heard my music through my friend Janelle Monae and he told her he loved a song of mine called Carolina. To know that he listened to my entire album and wanted to pass on his opinion is amazing.
Singer John Legend and I started talking on Twitter around 2014. I sang on his album and then we did a writing session together. It led to him helping me on my second album, The Golden Echo. He is a beautiful pianist and genuine soul. We still keep in touch.
I also worked with Daniel Johns, Silverchair’s front man, on The Golden Echo. He was my original celebrity crush as a teenager – I had posters of him on the walls in my room. I had to separate my fan girl from my professional self when we hooked up.
Daniel was excited to work with me but I couldn’t get my mind around the fact he was my childhood crush. He is such a gentle and sweet person and so incredibly creative – like a child discovering music for the first time.
I still keep in touch with Wally [De Backer, aka Gotye]. He lives in New York and so do I, so we’re always seeing each other at gigs. We catch up, have meals together and compare where we’re at with music. It’s a friendship that is strong and we’re connected by a musical moment in time.
Kimbra performs at the opening night gala for The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture, at NGV Melbourne on August 26.