I absolutely adore Kimbra. There’s nothing anyone could say to me convince me that she isn’t one of the most brilliant contemporary musical minds we have today. Since 2011’s “Vows,” she’s been pushing the boundaries of her artistry, stretching her creativity further beyond what anyone could even imagine.

While Kimbra had already released a music video for “Version of Me,” when she sent album “Primal Heart” to Dawn Richard, the R&B songstress was struck with powerful inspiration:

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VERSION OF ME – KIMBRA X DAWN. Proud to release this today. Link in bio. . Together, @dawnrichard and I gave birth to this new vision & version of the song I wrote for Primal Heart called ‘Version Of Me’. . I sent Dawn my album early on and invited her to rework a song of her choice as I have admired her work for a long time. Within the space of a day or two she had sent me a rework, her magical potent voice intertwining around mine, set to a dark landscape of ambient synths. I added drum programming to the track & began to see it as a new art peice in of itself. It had moved from an inner wrestling in solitude, to a dialogue between two women on a path toward self acceptance. The lyric revealed itself afresh & seemed destined for a visual counterpart where we could embody these words to reflect this connection we shared through the music. . The amazing @micaiahcarter brought this version of the song to LIFE in a series of portraits + a short film for the song which we have also released today. ⚡️⚡️ You can watch it now at the link in my bio & snippets on my story x . I’ve spoken much more on this project for those of you on the mailing list so, sign up if you haven’t already 😉 The song is now streaming on all platforms too! I really urge you to listen loud with headphones to experience the sonic nuance in this one… . Thankyou to the beautiful team who worked on this and created the space for us to connect and feel safe, beautiful and known. @duchessnatalia @bexsheers @atafehrosekarimi @evanburristrout @springerinn . Thankyou to @dawnrichard for her Primal Heart and fearless spirit. Where my first video for this song captured the fragility of a seemingly cyclical nature, I feel this new film & rework captures a strength after the storms of self-doubt, the raw courage we find in trusting another to truly see us…. through dialogues of searching, resistance & resolve we strive ever-onward to the better ‘Version’ we shall be, (until perhaps we realize it has been with us all along). . Love.🧡

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From this bit of genius came an alternative version (as it were) for the single. This included Dawn’s lower register intermingled with the nymph-like soprano of Kimbra’s timbre. Along with a deeper foundation, compliments of what could possibly be an oboe (or even the lower tones of a French horn), the song carries a heavier bottom, a depth that reaches for the gut and tears out an emotion that we’ve all felt — a deep yearning for someone to accept us.

The music video is an emotional dance between the women. More than just a look into the very literal dynamics of the light and dark within someone, it takes the parallels of each woman: for Dawn the somewhat hesitant part of her being, and for Kimbra, the brazen, curious and unshy. The choreography of the piece — photographed with delicate care and otherworldly beauty by Michaiah Carter, and filmed with emotional openness by Evan Burris Trout — is understated. The act of breathing, touching tentatively. Each movement is done in unison, symbolizing the duality in discovering the many sides of one’s self.

There’s obviously great sensuality in the piece. “Version of Me” is in no way subversive, though many could see it that way. Two ethnically disparate women, nude, touching in intimate places, scenting each other. A hand on a thigh, skin to skin. It’s a lesson in intimacy, in vulnerability. Just as we must intimately discover ourselves, as we must make ourselves vulnerable, it’s intrusive almost. We have to nearly break in to ourselves, force ourselves open to realize that there are deeper, darker parts of ourselves. Not sinister, just dark, hidden, places that we may even keep secrets from ourselves. With this video, Kimbra and Dawn explore that journey. It’s frightening, at times painful, invasive. But in the end, it’s a beautiful means for us to fully embrace who we are: skin to skin, hands on intimate places.

Nudity is not a new means to delve into this subject of intimate discovery. However, it is rare for it to be so incredibly close. These women hide nothing from each other — a mean feat especially for people who don’t exactly know each other. But perhaps that makes the excavation easier, getting to know the hidden parts of a stranger as opposed to someone who’s already familiar with your faults but perhaps not the imperfections in the skin.

This was truly a marvelous piece, simple, intimate, a bit dangerous. It takes great courage to expose one’s self, no matter the level of confidence in the body. Ultimately it’s not about the body itself. It’s about what lay under layers of skin, muscle and bone. What people may find out about you in your time of absolute nakedness.

(YouTube, Instagram.)

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