Australian newcomer Kita Alexander seems like a modern retake of the past. Crediting artists such as Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac as main influences on her sound, the Brisbane-born singer got her start on the open mic circuit before quitting school to focus on her musical ambitions. Her debut EP, Like You Want To, mixes her arid voice with beach-like beats. If you're a fan of Haim, you'll be addicted to Kita. We caught up with the singer during her brief visit to the states to chat first gigs, studio collaborations, and her experiences in the director's seat.
Your first show was at a local pub after singing at an open mic night. How did that first gig go?
It was pretty funny actually. The guy I was playing with had 4 other girls he asked to play with that night. He had played with two already and then was told he was only allowed to do one more song. I told the other girl she could go on instead of me and she started crying and ran out... so I sung the song. I felt bad the entire time because this other girl was so upset. Straight after I got asked by the local pub promo guy if I wanted to play some paid shows and I was like um, yeah, get out of my way and ran out trying to find this other girl to apologize. I walked back in and the promo guy came up with dates. I had no idea what was going on, I think I was 15 and had no idea what I'd just said yes to... but I suppose it all worked out in the end.
You've worked with a range of people from Morgan Kibby to Empire of the Sun's Nick Littlemore. Can you talk a little bit about how you work in the studio when you bring a collaborator into the room?
Yeah! I usually just pick up an instrument and start jamming. I like to think if a song's going to come, it's got to come in the first couple of hours from jamming. I start mumbling melodies and then the collaborator swoops in and helps tidy up my ideas. I'm a pretty sporadic thinker, so it helps to have someone else there to act as a kind of filter for the random stuff that comes out of my body in song form.
What's a song that's had a big impact on you and what about the song draws you to it?
"Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell. The lyrics have had such a huge impact on me; it's all about using and abusing this world and always wanting more. It reminds me to stay present and be happy with what I've got in life. The world is so much more than materialistic objects. It's a real song. I want to write real music.
Where does most of your inspiration come from? Do you tend to write about your own experiences or is it a mix of reality and make believe?
Inspiration comes a lot from old music, books, relationships and dreams. Most times I think I'm writing about a make believe story and then once I finish the song, I find that it's me through and through. It's a subconscious thing.
You recently directed your own music video. Any hints as to which one we'll see a video for next and what to expect?
I've done all my own videos so far. I'm not a videographer but I know what visuals liked for the next video. I want to step it up a little, get someone else to help me direct it. Expect heaps of color, heaps of movement and maybe some Tripp shit.
Music has enable you to travel loads. What city has surprised you the most?
I'm so incredibly lucky. Probably France. Never thought I'd end up in a castle in the south of France writing music.... because it's a castle in the south of France! Who even ends up in a castle?!
If you weren't a musician, what profession might you consider giving a shot?
An artist. I love painting. I'd be a struggling painter living in squaller with more paint than usual on my shoes and clothes just trying to express my feelings in colours and lines.
What can we look forward to seeing in 2016?
Definitely new tunes, new adventures, more shows.