Missy’s spe­cial mo­ment

She started as a kid with Triple J Un­earthed and now Missy Higgins’ jour­ney comes full cir­cle with her own TV spe­cial, writes Mikey Cahill

Herald Sun - Hit - - COVER STORY -

IMAG­INE be­ing in Year 12 and ap­proach­ing that stom­ach-knot­ting mo­ment when you’ve got to make the big­gest call of your so-far-very­much-mapped-out life.

Missy Higgins’ sib­ling did some­thing that changed the course of her life ir­re­vo­ca­bly, some­thing that al­lowed a 17year-old, bushy-tailed Higgins to throw the forks at do­ing a gar­den va­ri­ety, ho-hum un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree.

“My sis­ter sent in a demo of All For Be­liev­ing in 2001 I’d recorded to Triple J Un­earthed. It was one of the first songs I’d made. You had to send it in on cas­sette back then,” she says, with that serene smile al­most al­ways on her face.

“At the time I lis­tened to Triple J in the morn­ing but I didn’t ac­tu­ally know what Un­earthed was. I said (flip­pant) ‘Yeah sure, send it in, I don’t have any chance of win­ning’,” she says. “Then I just for­got about it. A cou­ple of months later I got a call and I was at school and my friends were shout­ing across the court­yard and I ran to the phone booth to take the call.

“This lady on the phone asked me if I was sit­ting down be­cause she had some re­ally big news. I had no idea what she was talk­ing about (laughs). The enor­mity of it sunk in over the course of the next week that they’d be play­ing All For Be­liev­ing on ra­dio and I’d be play­ing a live Triple J Un­earthed con­cert.

“I was in Year 12 at the time and get­ting ready to go to uni then I started to get in­ter­est from a few la­bels and I thought ‘Maybe I don’t have go to uni after all’ which was a very lib­er­at­ing thought.”

Higgins ig­nored the court­ing ad­vances of a ma­jor, Sony, and went with a bou­tique la­bel be­fore any­one was us­ing the term bou­tique ubiq­ui­tously like pop-up and be­spoke.

“I signed a four-al­bum deal to Eleven: A Mu­sic Com­pany on my 18th birth­day. They had big plans for me. I thought ‘I’m gonna give this a re­ally big shot’ and if it doesn’t work out I can go back to uni and do an arts de­gree like my dad al­ways wanted me to do.”

His­tory shows Melissa Higgins was never re­quired to shot­gun beer cans on a loose ori­en­ta­tion week. In­stead, she sup­ported The Waifs then re­leased mega-hit Scar and mega-mega hit al­bum The Sound Of White (now nine­times plat­inum) which de­buted at No.1 on the ARIA charts. She then won Best Pop Re­lease at the ARIAs and has now won a to­tal of nine ARIA Awards. Arts de­gree, schmarts de­gree.

Higgins put out On a Clear Night, The Ol’ Raz­zle Daz­zle and after a six-year gap So­lastal­gia.

She sup­ported un­abashed Missy fan­boy Ed Sheeran re­cently and even joined him on stage to duet on Per­fect.

She also had two chil­dren (a son Sammy and daugh­ter Luna) with the help of hus­band Dan Lee and is happy to chat about her lat­est re­lease.

“Sammy is go­ing pretty well. He’s a pretty hy­per­ac­tive kid, he needs to be oc­cu­pied while I’m deal­ing with Luna. It’s pretty hec­tic, there’s no down­time any more. I’m re­ally en­joy­ing be­ing a mum of a lit­tle baby again be­cause I’m so aware of how quickly that time goes.”

Even with the sleep de­pri­va­tion, Higgins sounds woke and alert in both senses. So­lastal­gia’s 49 Can­dles isn’t a love song like Fu­ton Couch. “49 Can­dles is a song about the shoot­ing in Or­lando in the night­club. It was such a pow­er­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to be in Amer­ica when that hap­pened and to wake up with a na­tion grap­pling with gun vi­o­lence. This one es­pe­cially ef­fected the gay com­mu­nity over there, I re­mem­ber that time re­ally pow­er­fully and it felt good to write a song in protest at the gun laws. It’s good to feel like you’re giv­ing a voice to speak out against an in­jus­tice.”

49 Can­dles ap­pears on best of al­bum: The Spe­cial Ones. Be­ing Aus­mu­sic Month, Higgins is fol­low­ing in Crowded House and Paul Kelly’s foot­steps with Missy Higgins & Friends Live, a 90-minute con­cert at Melba Spiegel­tent tonight. It will be hosted by Zan Rowe and aired across ABC, iview and Dou­ble J ra­dio from 8.40pm this Sun­day. It’s her ABC.

WATCH MISSY HIGGINS & FRIENDS LIVE, ABC plat­forms, Sun, 8.40pm. SEE MISSY HIGGINS, Sid­ney Myer Mu­sic Bowl with JOHN BUT­LER TRIO, Feb 7. A Day On the Green, Ruther­glen, Feb 9. HEAR THE SPE­CIAL ONES (Eleven) out now



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