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Kirsty Lee Akers: ‘I Really Need To Use My Imagination, And I Blame My Husband For That’

11 May 2023 | 9:53 am | Anna Rose

"I often joke that I struggle to actually write country songs because I’ve never had a broken heart."

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In her latest single, Getting Over You, Kirsty Lee Akers – Countrytown’s current ‘Centre Stage’ artist – is in some ways giving a middle finger to a past relationship. Fans of the Wonnarua nation country singer will of course know Akers is happily married to Jesse Anderson, but that doesn’t stop her from penning songs that deal with real life, carried by sounds that couple pop sensibilities with a progressive country production. 

“I often joke that I struggle to actually write country songs because I’ve never had a broken heart,” Akers laughs. “I really need to use my imagination, and I blame my husband for that – I tell him he needs to start treating me a bit more horribly!” 

Rest assured, Akers is definitely joking. She turned her mind to writing what she’s dubbed “a happy break-up song”, penning Getting Over You with The Wolfe Brothers during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. “Most typical break-up country songs are all about getting back at that person, revenge and all that sort of stuff – this is totally the opposite,” she says. “This is about [the feeling of knowing that] even though the relationship ended, you wouldn’t change anything. Because if you could do it all over again, you would, because what you had was special at the time. 

“I think that’s how my relationship would go with my husband, if we were to break up. We often say that if we separated, we’d have to meet up on the weekends, because we actually are best friends outside of our relationship!” 

It’s true that Akers doesn’t have too many songwriting resources stemming from doom and gloom – something that could also be attributed to the touched life she’s been living over the last few years. In 2021, she starred on Channel 9 reality show The Block alongside Jesse. Last year, too, she released her self-produced sixth album Wild, and nabbed herself a Golden Guitar Award. With such a wealth of accolades and achievements behind her, its mystifying that Akers would choose to pursue a seemingly negative topic. Giggling, she says, “I like to try and do different things. I like to try and sing songs that people are going to relate to.”

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She adds: “It’s not all about singing about my experiences, because that isn’t everybody’s experience. A lot of people aren’t as lucky as [I am] to have found their soulmate at 16 years old and be living that life. I really just try to write songs that I know my audiences are going to relate to the most.”

It’s as Akers says, there is a stereotype for country music to be woeful, lonesome, and worthy of a membership in the Broken Hearts Club. There’s nothing “bad” about Akers’ current approach to her music’s thematic direction, but it does leave room to wonder if she will ever change the mould and go for a bubblegum-happy style that tells of her exponential happiness and luck. What if Akers were to write a rollicking country song celebrating that? 

“I’ve written songs like that over the years,” she ponders. “The single I released when we were on The Block was called For Love and was all about our relationship. I think that’s why my fans relate to me so much, because I touch on all those different subjects of life throughout the six albums or whatever it is I’ve had.”

It’s obviously a formula that’s working for Akers too, as she says, to touch and go on her past, present and even future. At this stage in her career, with all those accolades and a steadfast, happy relationship, you might wonder where Akers’ inspiration is coming from. Perhaps she’s already had so many experiences, and has so many plans for her future, that she’ll never dry up on ideas. 

“That is often the way,” she admits. “When I’ve written a whole album of songs, I think to myself, ‘How am I going to have ideas for the next album?’ But somehow, they seem to come. I think it stems from just really being present in everyday situations. I’ll always be taking notice of things going on around me, or things my friends and family are going through. I might hear them say something and I might go, ‘That’s a great idea for a song title or song,’ and I’ll always write them down in my phone and come back to them when I’m writing.

“As much as I do often get worried that the inspiration will dry up, it seems to come out of nowhere. A lot of writers find that you do go through dry spells of writer’s block and then sometimes you’ll be so creative, you’re writing songs constantly. I’ve been lucky that it hasn’t dried up just yet!”