Missy Higgins, an artist from Melbourne, Australia is an exemplary example of what the Australian music industry represents universally. With a career spanning more than 12 years to date and three #1 albums, Missy’s diversity comes from an ever-evolving exploration of different timbers that are predictably held together by her sincere intent.
Known for her exquisite songwriting with a narrative tendency and edgy vocal abilities, there is something more beneath the surface that makes her accomplishments astounding. Missy’s organic honesty and charismatic presence allow fans to delve deeper than her heartfelt lyrics and arrangements. She’s the girl next door and the friend you can’t live without; her music is like the wind in your hair on a warm summer’s night. It draws the nostalgia out of you and you can spend hours pursuing those long lost memories.
In 2005 Missy released her debut album The Sound of White. The album contains the ARIA Award-winning track “Scar” (Missy Higgins and Kevin Griffin) and nominated track “Ten Days” (Missy Higgins and Jay Clifford), allowing Missy to establish herself on the Australian music scene. Characterized by descriptive lyrics that hit close to home, accompanied primarily by piano and an infused pop-like smooth jazz vibe, The Sound of White is a beautiful collection of tracks reflecting what could have been.
Watch: “Scar” – Missy Higgins
On A Clear Night (2009) has moments that leave you clutching at your chest, bringing such a haunting nostalgia to the forefront, perhaps channeling the pain and heartbreak from Missy’s previous album. However, there are gleaming moments of security and confidence that strikingly counteract the more tender tracks, most notably the lyrical content and upbeat nature of “Steer.”
Behind all of the staging and marketing there is a songwriter with humble beginnings and a passion that has carried her through some of the most confronting moments in her life. In 2009, Missy essentially quit music to help find definition in her life other than who she was behind the microphone. Whether the driving force was crippling self-doubt or sheer exhaustion, it’s a feeling that most people can relate to. It would seem that Missy had exhausted her passion, lost focus and needed time and space to reignite. It’s this space and silence that helped to ferment her most acclaimed album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (2012).
The orchestration is the most prominent feature of The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle; behind the tracks of delicate strings and piano there are also tracks that use upbeat tempos as a feature, creating a fun progressive vibe. Missy took a very different approach on her third record, however the core of her artistry is still preserved and, more importantly, respected.
Perhaps the greatest gift Missy has given to her fans is the realistic expectations associated with perspective. At the tender age of 16, Missy was thrown into an industry that allowed her to share and live her passion, but also hindered her efforts to find who she wanted to be. It’s a predicament that everyone can relate to: Whilst living through the demands of everyday life, how can you find purpose in what you do when you lose confidence in yourself?
Watch: “Everyone’s Waiting” – Missy Higgins
Missy’s most recent album Oz (2014) was a self-proclaimed memoir to all of the tracks that significantly influenced her life growing up. Full of Australian songs that shaped her childhood and life thus far, Missy has produced a very rare and special album. She took a trip down memory lane with an enhanced perception that we all wish we had in the heat of the moment. This collection of scattered memories is a showcase of how far Missy has not only developed personally, but also professionally as a musician.
To take a step back and venture towards where your journey started takes undeniable courage. You realize how far you have come, how far you have drifted from the person that you thought you would be, and how close you are to those ‘lifelong’ goals. The common thread present throughout Missy Higgins’ career is her down to earth nature, which invites her listeners to dare to look for perspective within their own lives.
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Watch: “Oh Canada” – Missy Higgins