Jane Kitto Andersson is an Australian musician, singer and songwriter who has released her own original song catalogues under the pseudonym of Kitto and her classic rock band Perfect Blue Sky.
Kitto is currently based in Stockholm Sweden. She started her career in 1991 when she was signed to Mushroom Records. Since then, she has travelled throughout 36 countries performing in festivals throughout Europe and has made show appearances in remote places such as Svalbald North Pole, Robben Island and Tahiti. Kitto has released six studio albums, three EP compilations, five singles, two live albums and two film soundtracks. She is featured in the 1993 Australian edition of ‘Who’s Who of Rock & Roll’ (Moonlight Publishing).
In addition to her own work, Kitto has written, recorded and performed alongside various Australian and global music artists and songwriters such as Vanda & Young and Andrew McMillan, Billy Thorpe, and Big Brother Holding Company, She tours both as an acoustic solo performer and also together with her husband and co-writerPontus (Pna) Andersson in their multinational rock band Perfect Blue Sky.
Jane Maree Kitto was born in Burwood, Victoria Australia and the eldest daughter of tool making engineer and Oakleigh football Coach Henry Donald Kitto, and Valerie Faith O’Rourke. She has four younger siblings and grew up in Wandin North, Victoria Australia in the Yarra Valley region. She trained guitar from the age of 7 with coach Ken Gaudion. Later Kitto attended Lilydale High School and engaged in class concerts, theatre and participated actively in school sports. She often held lunchtime concert music jams together with her teachers and classmates. Her auntie Evelyn Kitto secretly wrote a application to Young Talent Time (1977/78) a national children’s programme, whereby she made her first television debut. However having lost the competition for having an “untrained but interesting voice”, the judges suggested that she have singing training and so followed the advice and enrolled for lessons with specialist singing coach Viola Ritchie (John Farnham, Tina Arena) at her studios in Carlton Victoria. Kitto grew up listening mainly to Australian music artists who she would later encounter on her own shows. She then later discovered the classic, psychedelic and grunge eras which later became her main influences of her style.
1988–95: Early years
As a teenager growing up, Kitto continued to train in singing and acoustic guitar and at eighteen years of age, she got her first gig for forty dollars and a cheese platter at Darwin NT’s long-gone Club Papillion. She joined the Royal Australian Navy, working as an ETC in Electronic Technical Communications stationed at HMAS Cerebus and HMAS Coonawarra. When she was honorably discharged from the navy as ‘unsuitably artistic’, Kitto returned to Melbourne and started working as an auto electrician fixing alternators. In her spare time she wrote and recorded an Opal Menswear jingle ‘Stepping out in Style’ which scored her national airplay and the attention of the Melbourne booking agent Terry Blamey. Kitto performed at various fashion parades and meanwhile scored jobs playing in bars. It was in a St Kilda wine bar in 1989 that ex-Ferrets singer Billy Miller asked Kitto if she could ‘scream’. She then scored sessions recording backing vocals for Miller’s new band The Gypsies produced by David Courtney (UK). It was an engagement that led to tours with The Gypsies for a year with TV appearances on Hey Hey It’s Saturday and calls to provide backing vocals on recordings by Melbourne bands Cattletruck ‘Ready To Believe’ and the Chantoozies ‘He’s gonna step on you again’.She then teamed up with Gypsies drummer John Annas to form ‘Kitto and both toured from Victoria to the outback supporting Australian music performer via their agent Frank Stivala of Premier Artists, The Harbour Agency. They received the opportunity to record demos at Metropolis Audio with producer Ernie Rose (Little River Band/John Farnham). The sessions led to a signing with Mushroom Records and Kitto released the single ‘Blind Lead the Blind’ in May 1991. Resisting pressure to conform to female pop star clichés, Kitto was developed an eating disorder which eventually led to a dissolution between Kitto and Mushroom only after a couple of months of the single’s release. She then spent seven months sitting on beaches writing songs in Indonesia.
Returning to Australia in 1993, Kitto supported Noiseworks when their management Michael Browning and Sam Righi of Big Deal Management scouted her to come to Sydney to work with Rose Tattoo guitarist Pete Wells. She was then introduced to songwriting collaborations with Robert Gale (Pearls and Swine) and Brett Williams (Choir boys) and often met regularly at the Piccolo Bar in Sydney’s Kings Cross with Don Walker (Catfish/Cold Chisel) who later propped her on his lounge room, made her toast and vegemite and listened to some forty songs she had wrote. He then gave her the elemental advice “a few lines tell a story, strip it back and let it rip. Leave Australia and come back and tell us about it.” She performed at Sydney clubs like Round Midnight, the Manly Boatshed and Springfield’s in Sydney’s Kings Cross. She also opened up as a support act for Australian artists including Billy Thorpe, Diesel, Richard Clapton, Ian Moss, Mark Seymour, Jon Stevens and Nathan Cavaleri. One night after she made a solo show at the Real Ale Cafe with Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxterspotted Kitto and extended an invitation for her to join him to play in the US. On the eve of her departure, Kitto’s guitars and amps were stolen. She borrowed a guitar from a friend Chris Turner of Big Rock Records to earn enough money to buy her a Maton guitar for the trip to the US. In 1994, Kitto also recorded with good friend Kevin Borich from Kevin Borich Express and The Party Boys.
In mid 1994, Kitto resided in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Whilst waiting on Baxter’s availablilty to write and perform, Kitto went looking for a job pulling coffees and meantime performed in live music clubs such as Beetlejuice, The Roxy Theatre, Whisky-A-Go-Go and the long gone Tatou Club in Beverley Hills, Highland Grounds, Cal State University. She met up with her future manager Russell Hayward and producer Michael Vali Blum in Studio City and was then introduced to keyboardist and harmonica player Teddy Andreadis (Guns n Roses, Alice Cooper) who played on her demos with Blum. The two became good friends and often performed together at Teddy’s regular gig at The Baked Potatoe.
In 1995 when her US visa expired, Kitto returned to Australia to record her first independent EP 20 Jacksonia, and then slipped a cassette version of it via an outback post box to an independent Swedish music agent Jörgen Viking after a suggestion from her fellow songwriting colleague and guitarist Brett Williams. Williams at the time was on tour in Scandinavia with Status Quo’s bassist Alan Lancaster of The Bombers. She got the telephone call 10 days later and proceeded to head for Europe, kicking off with an appearance on Good Morning Sweden TV4 with a song she wrote about a street musician she knew called ‘Jason’. In addition, she got her first prison gig at Hinseberg just outside of Örebro in the middle of Sweden.
1996–2005: Globe Trotting
By February 1996, Kitto was spend more time in Sweden with her new manager Wiking and playing Scandinavian festivals such as Västervik Visfestivalen and Peace and Love, Midtfyn Festival Denmark and Café Rust Copenhagen support to Linda Perry. She was also performing at Puistoblues Festival in Finland with headliners Lynard Skynard and Nordman at The Scandinavian Guitar Festival. She also appeared with various touring acts like Wilson Picket at Stockholm’s Mosebacke Establishment, Joey Tempest of Europe and also made guest appearances on Sweden’s Triple & Touch TV variety show. She performed for the Karasjok SAMI Community in Norway. She recorded a self-titled EP – Jane Kitto with producer Mats Lindförs. It featured three songs, Gridlock Afternoon, Vimmi K and Mary. Both the two latter songs received much airplay in Sweden. (SR Swedish Radio Archives)
Kitto then went on to form the band Baby Porcelain along with US co-writer Tim Tate on Bass guitar whilst they were in London and spent the years 1997-99 touring Europe, firstly France after colleague Stéphane Bebert scouted from club to club on the French Riveria and Nice with brochures in hand of the band finding them places to play. They later met with Philippe Delmas, a French publishing agent who sought to book shows including a performance for Princess Stephanie of Monaco at Café Replay. Kitto and Tate also toured as a 3 piece French entourage with Frank Bessardon drums throughout France and Germany performing at venues such as Bremen Festival, Sinkkasten Frankfurt, 10th birthday concert for Guitar Maniac at Théâtre de Verdure Nice, Festival De Guitar De Montauroux, Festival Haut De Cagnes, Lé Reservoir Paris, Brianconnet Rock, La Haut Festival, Beausoleil Théâtre, M Daner Bonson Festival, Dans l’ Festival, Le Mas Puget sur argens support to Sinclair and RTL 2 Radio. Taking a breather in the UK, Kitto took to busking on London’s iconic Portobello Road as well as performing at The Kashmir Club in Marylebone. Baby Porcelain’s last hurrah was the live CD ‘Umbilically Yours’ in late October 1999 when Kitto and Tate parted company. Kitto continued to tour with Delmas and her new 3 piece band made up of drummers Bessard and Volo Brice and bassists Olivier Soubeyran and Frank Abou under her own artist name.
She returned back and forth again for solo shows in Australia then Kitto headed back to Europe in 2001 via the Spanish coast of Empuria Brava where she wrote ten songs in ten days which became her first solo album titled Princess of Tragedy. Producers Bil Bryant (Power Fx ) and Anders Molin (EBS) recorded the album with Kitto in Sweden The single ranked number one hit on the Swedish Spray Charts with the single ‘Bus Driver’. It then scored high rotation with Australian ABC Triple J network and other radio stations. ‘Busdriver’ was co-written with long term Aussie friend and previous saxophonist Kellie Santin from the popular weekly Australian TV show called Hey Hey It’s Saturday. Kitto and Santin were in London at the time. The song came about one night after Kellie and Kitto went out to a comedy nightclub where they were meeting up with fellow Aussie Sia Furler. On their way home riding the 76 London night bus, it pulled up at stop around 12 am when Kitto spotted a guy wielding a large knife around outside. She alerted the bus driver only to be told that he considered it as a routine Friday night activity in the back streets of London. So Kellie and Kitto strapped on their instruments and ‘Busdriver’ became the anecdote.
Kitto returned home for the Australian launch ‘Princess of Tragedy’. In 2003, Kitto had a not so successful single ’Glorious’ of which she wrote part of the text on a bus heading to Heathrow Airport whilst on her way back home to visit family in Australia when the US announced their attacks on Afghanistan. It was later co-written with Rob Gale and produced once again by Bryant and Molin.
In 2003, Kitto featured in a Swedish TV Gala ABBA the Tribute (SVT) over 3 nights performing alongside Micke Rickförs and Mats Ronander as well as Dionne Warwick. Jörgen Wiking rang Kitto who was in Paris at the time visiting Frank Bessard to say that he had signed her up on the show and to get on the next plan back to Sweden. Kitto had no idea of the two ABBA songs selected for her to sing ‘On and On and On’ and ‘Summer Night City’. So with the lyrics printed out and Kitto was instructed by the air hostess onboard a SAS Scandinavian Airlines flight as to how the songs went. Later Dionne arrived with a request for a stage monitor of which Kitto was relieved as she had the song written scrawled up her arms. Dionne noticed Kitto’s explosive nervous energy backstage and remarked how she hadn’t seen that kind of performer since the days of Janis Joplin which turned out to be a more stranger coincidence later on. She invited Kitto later on after the shows back her dressing room, gave her a hug, an autograph for her mother Valerie and told her she was deeply blessed for talent.
Also in 2003, Kitto supported Jacque Higgins at Théâtre de Verdure for the Nice Jazz Festival in France, and later that year turned on a series of shows at Longyearbyen Svalbard, a base at the North Pole together with another 3 piece band consisting of Mårten Rönsten on drums and Weine Johansson, a bassist for Baltimore. Kitto and her rock trio flew North 72 degrees to Svalbard for 3 gigs before an enthusiastic crowd of 1000.
In September 2004, Kitto became the first Aussie to perform live in the ex-Soviet country of Belarus at a club called Goodwin. Consequently the show was full of young journalists vying for a story and a chance to express their views and pitch questions to someone from the west.
Following late 2004, Kitto made a pilgrimage to perform on Robban Island in South Africa, the home for 17 years to former political prisoner Nelson Mandela to perform a song she and her colleague Robert Gale wrote in dedication ‘Toward the sun’ (unreleased) based on Mandela’s book ‘Long walk to freedom’. She also performed it live on Bush Radio in Capetown.
2004 Kitto recorded third album ‘Precious Junk’. The title of the album came from a question Kitto had posed to her father about what he was doing one afternoon whilst she was visiting him over at his tool workshop. He quipped “Just hanging out with my Precious Junk”. Later the cover photo was a resurrected toy mini which she had flushed down the toilet as a child where it lived in a sewer tank for several years. One day her parents presented it to her and said “Here is your Precious Junk” So the title was born. The album was produced by Swede Jan Destner in a basement beneath a printing house in Stockholm. They spend several months together through the fall and winter where Destner managed to take Kitto’s sonic ideas, pressed the record button and ‘let her rip” playing most of the instruments herself, except for the bass by Anders Molin and some drum takes provided by Frenchman Volo Brice. Destner drew out her best work and performances by tapping in on her improvisational mentality. The album was released in 2005 and promoted by entrepreneur Stephen Green of AMB – Australian Music Biz. The single track highlight ‘Catalina Dreaming’ was co-written together with Andrew McMillan the author of the same book Catalina Dreaming by Duffy & Snellgrove . Precious Junk in turn was well received by once again by Triple J and alternative radio stations in Australia. Later on in 2005, Kitto was approached by John Lomax 3RD to perform in the USA at Nashville, Tennessee’s Australian Festival and after she went on to play in New York’s CB’s next door to CBGB then flew to Los Angeles to perform at Hollywood’s Cat Club together with long term friend Teddy ‘Zigzag’ Andreadis . She also ventured that year with the Red Cross in Kem, Russia to perform for the children orphanages and deliver old beloved toys to them.
2005 – 2010: Europe, USA, Australia
In the fall of 2005, Kitto commenced recording a new studio album via an invitation to Los Angeles once again from producer Michael Vail Blum. Blum had worked with a stream of popular artists and asked Kitto to his studio long enough to explore her thoughts, songs and journals in the process of choosing tracks and start mapping out an album, whilst enlisting session musicians in LA, bassist Johnny Griparic (Slashes Snake Pit) guitarist Dean Pleasants (Suicidal Tendencies) and Swedish Estonian drummer Simon Runge. Unfortunately when the studio time ran out, Kitto with raw files in hand, made her way back to Sweden where she was residing and endeavoured to find a studio engineer to the mix and master the album. After asking around, she was tipped off by a guitarist songwriter Brian Kramer who suggested she contact Swedish producer and composer for the Black Metal band Netherbird named Pontus (Pna) Andersson who was working at the time as a studio engineer at Cavern Studios in Stockholm. ‘Pna’ as he is now known, immediately upon hearing her material, negotiated to complete the album which eventually became titled ‘Over Sensitive’. During this time Andersson resurrecting the raw files and added extra instrumentation with Swedish keyboardist Olle Nyberg and offered other production suggestions. This forged a steadfast friendship between Kitto and Andersson that would last for the years to come. After the studio sessions with Andersson, both were fueled with excitement from their collaboration and so Kitto offered for him to join her onstage as her guitarist at Maryport Blues Festival UK in 2006 when she was announced along with headliner Tony Joe White. After the album was done, Kitto flew to France in January 2006 and made a showcase performance at Midem in Cannes where Asher Hayley from a UK label Green Pepper Junction working together with Right Recordings signed the album on a license deal. It was released one year later in January 2007. Many of the songs were co-written by Kitto and her close friend at the time, South African Andrew McDonald who she also met in Los Angeles previously in 1994. Later McDonald became her manager in the UK. Together they explored songwriting sessions with Kitto sleeping on Andrew’s apartment floor. They had a long standing close friendship until Andrew passed away a couple of years later from HIV in June 2009. Kitto carried his lyric book in her guitar case for years after, intending to follow through with his legacy. Kitto also collaborated with another successful author Lauren St John in composing a soundtrack for a film called ‘Last Place You Look’ based on The White Giraffe by Orion Children’s Books. Kitto recorded the song under the guidance of Pna Andersson once again at Scarecrow Studios in Stockholm Sweden.
In 2006, Kitto was asked to make a tour in the UK and Sweden fronting Janis Joplin’s original band Big Brother & the Holding Company for 16 dates later that August. After making some demo tracks at a music school in Stockholm organized by Andersson, she sent them over to Big Brothers guitarist Sam Andrew who extended the invitation to make an audition in San Francisco. As Kitto was already planning to fly home to visit her father Don who scheduled for open bypass heart surgery, she decided to first swing by San Francisco to meet Sam and make arrangements for the tour. When he came into the lobby of the Triton Hotel where she was staying, he was carryinig a guitar which looked almost similar to Kitto own red guitar covered with paint and stickers. He asked her to play a tune as he had heard about her guitar playing skills and when she finished he proceeded to tell her that she had just made her audition on Janis Joplin’s very own acoustic 1964 Gibson Bluebird and that she had the gig. Jerry Donahue the US Guitarist for Fotheringay, Fairport Convention, Hellecasters, was also a guest musician joining the tour. Both Donahue and Kitto became friends alongside fellow BBHC members Dave Getz (Drums) and Peter Albin (Bass).
Later in the UK in 2007 McDonald and Kitto organized a live studio in the UK called ‘The Chiltern Sessions’ in February 2007 and gathered a small entourage of friends who flew in from various parts of Europe for the weekend session. Kellie Santin joined them on saxaphone and drums with Andersson on guitar and Kitto on vocals. Chiltern Sessions was engineered by Steve Readon at Chiltern Studios in High Wycombe and a rare recording.
Later that year Kitto made backing vocals for a concert with Chris Norman, the former front man of the popular UK bandSmokie in Düsseldorf Germany together with a friend Chip Caroline Jenkins. Chip, a vocal coach, singer songwriter herself also organized Kitto to conduct a series of master classes at The Academy of Contemporary Music to offer the students an antithesis to the idol celebrities which were manufactured at the time.
In early 2008, Kitto was diagnosed with breast cancer which put a hiatus in her career for a period of six months. So in preparation she shaved her hair and had Andersson paint a couple of hearts on the side of her head, disguised it with a wig and went out on stage with her band at the Hard Rock Café in Stockholm and then later threw it out into the audience for a final concert.
2009 Kitto headlined at the Le Pacific Rock Festival in Tahiti, French Polynesia along with US guitarist Jeffrey Kollman (Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meat Bats) Billy Lang a bassist from New Zealand and drummer Joël Taylor. It was Tahiti’s first rock festival event and hosted by Félix Vilchez of Ballena Productions and Taui Fm. That summer, she performed for the Dundee Blues Bonanza festival in Scotland together with Bil Bryant as a guitar and drum duo called The Blue Stripes. Bryant also recorded Kitto vocal samples on his company Power FX sample CD Extreme Rock Funk Rage and some of the samples were later re-licensed to Apple computers and appear in the software Garageband. In a promotional video for the Power FX, Kitto also dueled with virtual vocalist Sweet Ann.
In October 2009, Andersson and Kitto both took a two week road trip to Norway and whilst Kitto was driving, Andersson was co-navigating over mountainous ice lands and practicing his song craft, writing tunes on the dashboard of the car. This was to become the next album titled ‘Crash’. They went into the studio with Kitto’s then current Swedish band, Jan Johansson on drums and Anders Molin once again on bass. The album featured ‘Novembers Day’ and ‘Girl who went away’. This became Kitto’s fifth full length album, produced and engineered and released by Pna Anderson on his own label – Scarecrow Recordings along with distributors Sound Pollution SE.
2010 to present: Touchdown
During 2010 Kitto performed at a series of music festivals across the Nordic and Baltic regions such as Sweden Rock and Helge Å Festival Sweden, Reiu Rock Estonia, Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and Les Enfants Du Rock in France when the opening act Pete Doherty didn’t show up, therefore sliding the acoustic duo of Kitto and Andersson into the headlining spot. They also made a return to the Norwegian arctic island of Svalbard in May with their friends Swedish punk rock outfit Sator at the request of their guitarist Chips Kiesbye. After spending most of her career as a solo artist, Kitto had now formed a solid partnership with Pna Andersson. They had forged a close bond together in discovering their own music and stories, crafting their sound and performing together both as a duo and with a full band which eventually led to their recent collaboration of the psychedelic folk rock Perfect Blue Sky (2014) and their consequent marriage in May 2015.
Perfect Blue Sky released their first album ‘Emerald’ Scarecrow Recordings in March 2015. They usually host their shows to feature well known guest musicians countries to join them onstage. ‘Emerald’ received outstanding reviews throughout Europe especially Germany. Kitto’s now agent manager from Gogo Rodeo Agency Jari Hämäläinen’s son Oiva made the artwork as a school project. In 2014, their line up hosted a reunion once again with Dave Getz and Peter Albin and also introduced a newcomer and additional PBS member, keyboardist and friend of Kitto from Australia Danny “Highwayman” Oakhill. They made their premier debut concert in Stockholm at Stampen, an established jazz venue and also an unplugged show at Izzy Young’s Folklore Centrum then proceeded to Finland to play the festivals,Puistoblues and Pieksämäki Beach Blues.
The following year in 2015, they performed in Australia at Darwin’s Seabreeze Festival with Oakhill on keys and guest drummer Allen Murphy from The Village People and Australian Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi. Back in Scandinavia in 2015, they made five shows once again with bassist Weine Johansson and Bil Bryant on drums.
In May 2017 Perfect Blue Sky released a new album titled ‘The Eye of Tilos’ Right Recordings 2017. When not recording or on tour with Perfect Blue Sky, Kitto writes and performs solo shows mainly in Sweden, Finland, Norway, France and UK as well as her homeland in Australia.