Romm Diamonds Blog
October 9th, 2015
Welcome to Music Friday, when we bring you terrific tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the 25-year-old Kimbra Lee Johnson (better known as Kimbra) channels the great Nina Simone as she performs a spellbinding jazz-inspired electropop rendition of "Plain Gold Ring" — a song Simone made famous in 1958.

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In this classic song about unrequited love, Kimbra tells the story of a gal devastated by the fact that the man of her dreams belongs to someone else. She sings, "Plain gold ring had a story to tell / It was one that I knew too well / And in my heart it will never be spring / Long as he wears that plain gold ring."

The New Zealand-born singer/songwriter/guitarist is an early adopter of an electronic device called the VoiceLive Touch 2 by TC-Helicon that allows her to loop her own voice and add special effects, such as three-part harmonies and pitch correction.

The video at the bottom of this post demonstrates Kimbra's masterful use of this new technology. She actually creates the effects on the fly while performing live. You will notice her use of two microphones, one for the conventional audio and a second that connects to the device.

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Pop-music fans might recognize Kimbra's powerful voice from the 2011 multi-platinum smash single "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye. In early 2013, the song earned Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

"Plain Gold Ring" appeared on Kimbra's 2011 debut album, Vows, which reached the top 5 in New Zealand and Australia. The album was released in North America in May 2012, debuting at #14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

The original version of "Plain Gold Ring" was released in 1958 by jazz singer Nina Simone, who was also in her 20s at the time of the recording. The song was part of her critically acclaimed Little Girl Blue album. Curiously, she sold the rights to the songs on the album to her record label, Bethlehem Records, for only $3,000. That business decision would ultimately cost Simone more than $1 million in royalty payments.

See the video below of Kimbra's brilliant interpretation of "Plain Gold Ring." The lyrics are here if you'd like to sing along...

"Plain Gold Ring"
Written by George Stone. Performed by Kimbra.

Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
It was where everyone could see
He belonged to someone, but not me
On his hand was a plain gold ring

Plain gold ring had a story to tell
It was one that I knew too well
And in my heart it will never be spring
Long as he wears that plain gold ring

When nighttime comes calling on me
I know why I'll never be free
I can't stop these teardrops of mine
I'm gonna love him till the end of time

Plain gold ring has but one thing to say
I'll remember till my dying days
In my heart it will never be spring
Long as he wears that plain gold ring

Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.