KITA Alexander is launching into the year with a new single and her first run of shows since becoming a mum.
The Port Macquarie-raised singer-songwriter will perform at The Drop Festival alongside The Presets, Ball Park Music, Boy & Bear, DZ Deathrays and Graace, travelling to Noosa, Newcastle, Manly, Coolangatta, Torquay and Busselton to co-incide with World Surf League events.
"It will be the first big run I've done since I was pregnant, so it's been a few years," Alexander, 23, tells Weekender. "I am really excited to get back on stage. I'm holding out. I can't wait."
A tour pairing surfing and music is the perfect arrangement for Alexander, whose husband Owen Wright is among the champion surfers in the World Surf League. The couple are hitting the road together for the festival, along with their three-year-old son Vali, fresh from celebrating their wedding in Byron Bay last month.
"It's the perfect tour for me, really. Owen is taking part in the competition, so that's the reason I chose to do this tour because it was an easy transition for me from motherhood and travelling with Owen, and getting back into my own touring," Alexander says.
"Owen will be there at all of the competitions, so he can look after Vali. You couldn't get a more perfect tour for our family."
Alexander's return to the stage co-incides with the release of her new single, Against The Water. Released this week, Alexander wrote the song in the months after Wright suffered a traumatic brain injury during an event in Hawaii in December 2015. At the time of the accident, the couple had been dating for five months.
Alexander stuck by Wright's side during intense rehabilitation for 12 months as he faced the task of relearning how to talk, walk and surf. He returned to surfing in 2017, winning the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast and earning his spot to compete in surfing events at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
"I wrote the song after the accident and it was really my way of processing what happened," Alexander says. "Owen hasn't spoken about his journey yet, so this is about my story."
Against The Waters is about love, commitment and finding strength in their relationship early on.
"Lyrically, the song is commenting on that electric first love feeling, what we faced quite early on in our relationship and the fact that what he went through brought us closer together," she explains
"It made us stronger as a couple. He didn't choose to be alone. He wanted me there and I would never have wanted to him go through that by himself. I wanted to be there for him and that situation made us stronger.
"I feel like, now, we can get through anything."
Against the Water is the latest chapter in Alexander's career which began when she started writing songs in her early teens.
I wrote the song after the accident and it was really my way of processing what happened.Kita Alexander
During a performance at an open mic night in Port Macquarie, Alexander slipped an original into her set of covers and the song caught the attention of a fellow musician who offered to record her music.
At 16, she released her debut six-track EP, Lion Hat, in 2013 and left school to pursue a career in music. Blessed with a voice that showed a maturity beyond her years and a talent for crafting catchy pop songs, singing and songwriting came naturally to Alexander who had success last year with the single, Between You & I.
"I was always creative. I loved acting, I loved music. I never really had a clue of what I wanted to do, but I loved being creative," Alexander says.
"The fact somebody came up to me at that show and said they'd like to record me, I jumped at that opportunity. I was 16 when that happened, so I had only been writing for about two years.
"I was pretty young when I wrote my first song .... I was definitely no Taylor Swift though [laughs]."
Citing alternative pop acts Clairo and Maggie Rogers among her current favourites, Against The Water is a shift in direction following the release of her 2015 EP Like You Want To and the follow-up, Hotel.
"I used to be heavily influenced by a lot of '70s and '80s artists like Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith and all that type of stuff, but I found it stopped my music from progressing, I suppose," she says.
"I think because I was referencing a lot of music from the past, I was struggling to kind of find a different side to myself musically.
"With this song, I have really touched on some more modern sounds. I feel like it's still me in essence, I've got the 80s drums, but alternative pop artists are where I find inspiration lately.
"It is easily my favourite song I have released so far. It means so much to me and I am really looking forward to playing it live."