Rider Essentials: Kirsty Lee Akers

19 May 2023 | 11:00 am | Ellie Robinson

We caught up with Kirsty Lee Akers to find out the things she always takes on the road with her for this week’s Rider Essentials.

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As anyone who’s ever seen her live will surely attest, Kirsty Lee Akers is a force to be reckoned with onstage. Her presence is truly one of a kind, she and her band rolling through a gem-studded catalogue of instant country classics with a chemistry that is at once enrapturing and invigorating. 

The latest addition to Akers’ catalogue is the single Getting Over You, which arrived last month as her first release for 2023. Described by her as a “happy breakup song”, she co-wrote it with her fellow hitmakers in The Wolfe Brothers, offering a new take on the narrative tropes often associated with the end of a relationship. She said upon its release: “Rather than being bitter and doing the things people expect when your relationship ends, this song is about being grateful with what you had, rather than something you regret.”

Getting Over You is the first song to follow up on Akers’ sixth studio album, WILD. Her latest full-length effort landed in April 2022 and fast became a career-defining release: in addition to peaking at #11 on the overall ARIA Albums Chart, it topped both the Australian Albums chart and the Country chart. The success was well earned, adding to an avalanche of other (equally well-earned) accolades – Akers, for example, is the only artist in history to have won the Telstra Road To Discover contest (in 2006) and Toyota Star Maker (2007) plus take take out not one, but two Golden Guitar Awards (2008 and 2021). 

Akers’ has long been a favourite of the team at Countrytown, too: we caught up with her for a lengthy yarn just last week, and at the start of May, she was honoured as our ‘Centre Stage’ artist in partnership with KIX Country.

This week, we’re catching up with Akers to find out the things she always takes on the road with her for this week’s Rider Essentials.


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1. Dan Ebbels (guitarist)

He is my right hand man and it feels like my arm is chopped off when he isn’t onstage with me! We have been working together for over 11 years, and in that time I think he hasn’t been on stage for only three or four of my shows.   

2. Makeup and clothes

I often have nightmares that I have to be onstage without my hair and makeup done, and without my stage outfits on. My “look” has become such a part of who I am as an artist.

3. Snacks

You can’t travel without snacks, and I refuse to pay $8 for a bag of chips at the servo. So you can guarantee there is always going to be a big bag of snacks in the car somewhere when we are travelling to a show.

4. Guitar

I will often separate from the group backstage to just be on my own with my guitar and have a little practice before jumping onstage. I’ve always envied those artists that don’t feel pre-show nerves. No matter how many performances I do, there are always those pre-show butterflies – but a little time alone before going out and doing my thing always helps. Deep down I am an introvert that turns into a different person onstage.  

5. Jesse Anderson (husband)

I have been so lucky that for the majority of my career, he has been able to be by my side backstage at most of my shows. It’s always noticed when he isn’t there. He brings the good vibes and also drinks my share of the rider! 


Keep up to date with Kirsty Lee Akers on her Facebook page here