9 quick questions with Missy Higgins.

Missy Higgins


Missy Higgins probably thinks I’m an idiot. When I caught up with her for a chat on the phone earlier this week, I definitely did not play it cool.

She’d just flown into Melbourne and was on a noisy bus. I was struggling to hold my iPhone between my shoulder and ear, while simultaneously trying to type notes on my laptop – and I spent most of the 15-minute phone call face palming myself every time I muttered the words “I love your music”. Which was ah, quite often. Moving on.

If there’s one thing I love about Missy it’s her ability to tell stories – and for those stories to resonate with all hers listeners. I’ve been listening to her tunes since she released her first album and even though the songs aren’t about me, they mean a lot to me because I can always remember where I was when I was listening to them.

The 27-year-old singer/songwriter quit music a few years ago and told no one. She enrolled in a course a Melbourne Uni, she traveled around the world. She said she wanted to find out who she was without music and it’s that journey that makes up the guts of her latest album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle.

So we had a chat. And here’s what Missy said.

1. What’s playing on your iPod at the moment?

My latest favourite record is Miike Snow. And… Bon Iver I’m loving his new record. They’re probably my two favourite records at the moment.

2. Your album has debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts this week, what was the feeling when then happened?

That was really exciting. It was really surprising because the single hasn’t had much commercial radio play at all, so I didn’t expect the album to debut at number 1. And because I’d been away for so long I had no idea how many people would want to buy my music. I was playing a show in Sydney and my family happened to be at the show, as well as my whole record company, so they brought champagne just in case it did debut at number 1 and we all celebrated that night with a show… and some bubbles.

3. The album’s called the Ol’ Razzle Dazzle… What’s the meaning?

It first come to me because it was in the subject of an email from a friend of mine – just sort of talking about music and talking about the industry. And I thought ‘that’s such a perfect name for my album’ because it sounds like a tongue-in-cheek comment of the entertainment industry and the whole show business side of it all, because it’s so necessary and so contradictory to why people start playing music in the first place and why I started playing in the first place. There’s a lot of songs on the album that just deal with that struggle I had over the past few years and I had to remember what it was that I loved about music in the first place – before it became a business.

4. So you took a few years off, went to uni and tried to be ‘normal’. What was that like?

It was a bit nerve racking at first. I’d never gone to uni and I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t really know if people would recognise me.

5. And did they?

I don’t think so. Maybe a little bit but no one really gave much attention to it. I had a beanie on most of the time and kind of kept my head low.  And I was surprised at how open and friendly everyone was as well. It was a really nice experience.

6. What’s more difficult to write – a song or an academic essay?

Oh my God – an academic essay by far. Actually the main body of the essay I didn’t have too much trouble with but the footnoting! So annoying. And you have to have a specific amount of quotes and you can’t say anything without saying exactly where you got it from. That really annoyed me.

7. You’ve recently been involved in Marie Claire and Get Up’s I DO campaign, which is all about changing same-sex marriage laws. If you could say one thing to Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott right now, what would it be?

Love is love, it shouldn’t be discriminated against. I mean, it just makes sense to me. It’s the way our country is moving; it’s the way that the world is moving. So if you don’t get with it, you’re going to be left behind.

8. This comment came from a Mamamia reader named Gayle and we wanted to share it with you. She wrote: “We played the song “Sound of White” while I was pregnant with my daughter (now 6). It helped keep me calm and she was the most amazing baby! Every time I hear the song, or even any of Missy’s songs it puts a smile to my face and still keeps me calm on the most stressful of days. Her music also helped me get through treatment for cancer when my daughter was just 3 months old. Music truly heals the soul.” What is it like knowing your music has such an impact on people?

That is beautiful. It’s really special actually. That was one of the things that brought me back to music after walking away from it a few years ago. It was just that realisation that it had impacted so many people’s lives and that it was a really special thing to be able to do. And a really special way to live your life and spend your time. I think part of the reason why I left was because I didn’t think I was contributing enough to the world in a meaningful enough way, so to hear stories like that – it makes it all completely worth it.

9. What’s next for you? Will you keep making music? Do you want a family one day?

Yeah definitely. I don’t really plan too far in the future because I’m very temperamental and I have no idea what I’m going to feel like doing in a year’s time. I would love to just keep making music and keep doing whatever makes me happy really.

Are you a Missy Higgins fan? Are you glad to see her back? Is there an artist or a band you can’t stop listening to at the moment? If you could ask you favourite musician anything, what would it be?