Getting personal with Missy Higgins

Following her sold out arena shows supporting Ed Sheeran in 2018, Missy Higgins has a chat to Blank GC about her upcoming solo tour, motherhood the second time around and how to deal with being a public figure in the digital age.

You’ve collaborated with some amazing people, who is someone that you would love to collaborate with?

Gillian Welch and Bryan Adams would be fun. I am also really shy about working with my idols, so I’m not actually sure that I’d want to go through with it, I’d probably panic and make a fool of myself.

Your latest release ‘Special One’ is a Best Of album. Does it feel a bit surreal compiling this and realising that journey has been 20yrs so far?

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I just didn’t think that I could release a ‘best of’ album at this point so early in my life. When I look back I think how long it’s been, oh god, some of the songs I wrote on my first album I wrote when I was 15, I realise that it actually has been a really long journey, and I’ve done so much in that short amount of time. So yes, it’s been a really cool opportunity to sit back and take stock of it all.

It has been quite an incredible journey, including your sister sending your tape to triple j to launch your career. What are some of your fondest memories of your career thus far?

I’ve done a lot of touring around the States, I have some really wonderful memories from that. A few years ago my husband and then my one and a half year old son and I did a road trip tour around the States where I played a lot of solo shows and that was really beautiful to be able to do that with them. To be able to walk my son to the venue everyday for sound check, in his pram, while I shoot and he is making noises. So that was really wonderful. Touring with Ed Sheeran is definitely got to be up there as one of my favourite memories. It was a huge opportunity to be playing in front of so many people every night and to be a part of such an incredible professional operation, it was an eye-opening experience and I learnt a lot from it.

What’s a goal that you would like to achieve either musically or personally that you are yet to?

I don’t have any particular goals with my career other than to keep making music that inspires me and surprises me. Obviously you really want other people to keep liking it to and you want to be successful, but that’s not the main goal and that’s not where your focus should be. It should be on making it for yourself and the rest will follow. Personally I’m in a really good place in my life at the moment, I’m in a good relationship with a couple of kids and finally just settling in to finding a balance between career and home life. Spending a bit more time with nature maybe?

In the early scenes in the 2000’s and with a break in 2009, was it an important time in your life to regather and pursue things like study and travel?

I think so, it was a bit of a sad time as well because I had fallen out of love with music and I was a bit lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life because I’d always imagined it would be music, but then suddenly I was completely burnt out. I wasn’t at all passionate about it anymore, so I really needed to find myself again and to find meaning in my life again. It was a really important thing to do for myself but it was all for a pretty hard time and when I got out it, it was a real relief to find love in music again.

You’ve just had another child, so congratulations, how’s it going second time around?

Thank You! Yeah it’s still in the early days, so we’re only 5 months so still pretty sleep deprived but it’s beautiful and we’re totally in love with her, she’s just the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen. Its really great watching my son’s relationship develop with her to and seeing little glimpses of how close their relationship is going to be in the future and how they’re going to get along, so yeah it’s nice. We’re not going to grow our family any bigger than this. We have our little unit now and it’s a nice feeling.

How did you choose the name Luna for your daughter?

Ah well, obviously Luna means moon and the moon plays a big part in the story of how my husband and I fell in love. We first kissed under a full moon in Broome, we both used to live in Broome, we met in Broome, and the moon is such an important part of living in Broome. Everyone is always talking about the moon, the tides and watching the staircase of the moon as it rises across the mud flats once a month, so yeah. My husband used to write me moon poetry when we first started dating.

Does he still do this?

Ahh, No! He doesn’t actually. I should remind him that he always said he would, I better get him back onto that.

I have read in prior interviews you’ve expressed how negative comments or reviews has affected or can affect your emotional state. You’ve written songs to deal with this such as ‘Scar’. Have you got any advice to people who’ve experienced negative comments and struggle to escape this negative space?

Um… yeah I mean it’s really hard to put things into perspective when you’re in the online world. I think it’s important to try and step back from it and realise that the people that write these things are probably going through their own issues and dealing with it by being negative and judgemental. They are also probably some lonely person writing half drunk at 2am in their basement and they definitely don’t represent the wider community. There is a lot more good people in the world that are out there that sometimes on the internet the bad people seem a lot louder than the good people.

Talking about the digital age, people can be cruel, so as an artist who are some of the people that help you distinguish between constructive criticism and just mean comments, from people that are attempting to bring you down?

Um, well I think my manager has been really helpful over the years, cause like back when I started there was MySpace and there was chat forums and that was the start of the beginning of all of that. I remember just becoming obsessed with reading all the comments and reading what everyone was saying on the forums. I was paying way too much attention to what my fans were saying about my songs and about my live shows. He just told me to not read them – he said don’t do it to yourself – you’re not ever going to remember the good comments. You are only going to remember the the bad comments, so don’t read them at all. So ever since then I’ve really made a point to not read online comments or to not read reviews and to not read anything. I try to kind of block that all out and just to remember that I need music for myself and not for other people.

What does 2019 have in store for you?

I am doing a tour with John Butler, plus a couple of side shows one being on the Gold Coast. Hopefully after this tour I will be having a bit of a break as 2018 was so jam packed as I was pregnant and had a baby on top of it all. So, I think I need a bit of a rest before I go in and make the next album. I will definitely need some down time.

Missy Higgins, with support act Dan Sultan, performs at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on 2 March. Tickets Available from Frontier Touring.

IMAGE (c) Cybele Malinowski

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