She's performing to sell-out crowds on an American tour, but that doesn't lessen Kimbra's surprise at leading the list of finalists in this year's New Zealand Music Awards.

The pop sensation was nominated last week as a finalist in six categories, including album of the year for her debut Vows and single of the year for Warrior.

The nominations come hot on the heels of a massive year for the Hamilton-raised star, led by the popularity of her duet with Australian artist Gotye on world-wide No 1 hit Somebody That I Used To Know.

Vows has now spent more than 50 weeks on the album charts, peaking at No. 3 and selling just over 15,000 copies so far. When it was released in the US earlier this year, it reached No. 14.


In the middle of a tour through North America, Kimbra today told APNZ how special it was to be recognised for all her hard work back home.

"There's something really super special being nominated from your home country - and for so many [nominations] - it was definitely a bit of a surprise. I didn't see that coming."

Although 22-year-old Kimbra moved to Melbourne when she was 17, she's quick to affirm she's still a Kiwi and recognises that New Zealand was where her career kicked off.

"This is not the sort of thing that happens overnight. That's one thing that New Zealanders would know about in my career, as a lot of people have seen back in the Rock Quest days. It doesn't happen overnight at all.

"Me and my band have worked hard to create a live show that can sort of stand up over here."

As a 14-year-old Kimbra was placed second in the Rock Quest finals.

Kimbra's parents still live in the Hamilton home she grew up in, and it's on the rare occasions she returns that the extent of what she has achieved sinks in.

"[Recently] I had a bit of time there between tours where I got to hang out with my parents and get that chance to actually explain to them what's going on, and I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for everything that's gone on this year. It's not until you start explaining that you realise everything that you've really done."


But those moments don't come often in Kimbra's hectic life, which shows no signs of slowing down.

After finishing her tour of America, which has had sell-out shows in the likes of New York and Los Angeles, she will briefly return to New Zealand to perform at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards before touring summer festivals in Australia and New Zealand.

And although early next year Kimbra plans to get back some stability to her life, that doesn't mean she won't stop working. She is even looking at a new album.

"The next focus for me is getting into new material. I'm busting to start new songs and I think more than anything I want to find that stability again. I just want to find that stillness where the music comes from.

"I'll be working on [an album] early next year and looking to put something out as soon as it feels ready."