Missy Higgins celebrates 20 years of ‘The Sound of White’ and unveils new music on The Second Act Tour

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Missy Higgins celebrates 20 years of ‘The Sound of White’ and unveils new music on The Second Act Tour

Photo by Tajette O'Halloran
Words by Talia Rinaldo 

Missy Higgins, the cherished Australian songwriter, musician, and singer, stole our hearts and made an indelible mark on the music landscape with her debut album, The Sound Of White.

 Released in 2004, this album wasn’t just an introduction; it was a revelation of her talent, her passion, and her unapologetic authenticity, firmly establishing itself as one of the most influential debuts in Australian music history.

With profoundly introspective tracks like ‘Scar’, ‘Ten Days’, and ‘The Special Two’, Higgins crafted bona fide classics that resonated deeply with listeners, soaring to the top of the ARIA Charts. Through her poignant lyrics and soulful melodies, each composition offered a glimpse into Higgins’ world, inviting listeners to experience the highs and lows of life alongside her.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

However, this debut album wasn’t solely a commercial success; it was a critical triumph. Garnering six ARIA Awards and selling over a million copies, The Sound Of White achieved quintuple platinum status, cementing Higgins’ status as a musical powerhouse. 

The album’s influence extended far beyond its accolades too, inspiring a new generation of Australian artists. From Amy Shark to Angie McMahon, many have looked to Missy Higgins as a guiding light, following in her footsteps and finding their own voices along the way.

Now, two decades on from the album’s inception, Missy Higgins remains a stalwart figure in the Australian music scene. With an astonishing 26 ARIA Award nominations to her name and a reputation as one of the country’s most captivating live performers, she has announced ‘an anniversary tour with a difference’ to celebrate 20 years since her groundbreaking debut. 

The Second Act Tour will see Higgins touring theatres nationally in a special show, performing The Sound Of White in its entirety for the first time ever. This unique two-part show will also see Higgins previewing tunes from a brand new album – due later this year – which has been described as “a kind of sequel” to her landmark debut. This marks her first theatre tour since 2018, soon after playing stadiums across Australia as Ed Sheeran’s special guest. Higgins will revisit many of the venues where The Sound Of White initially mesmerised audiences in 2004.

Demonstrating once again why she’s an indomitable force in the Australian music scene, the tour has seen every show sell out, prompting Higgins to graciously add a handful of encore dates for those who missed out, solidifying her commitment to her devoted fanbase. 

“I had no idea that this tour would have the reaction that it did in people,” she reflects, “I had no idea that this album, in particular, has meant so much to a lot of people and stayed with them over the years. And that’s been really beautiful and just so heartwarming and encouraging because I feel like a lot of these fans have stayed with me for a long time.”

With additional performances in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, along with forthcoming shows in Adelaide and Darwin, the tour will see Higgins grace nearly 40 venues across the nation between March and July.


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As she prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary, Higgins reflects on the evolution of her connection to her music from her debut. “I think these songs have had many lives for me,” she muses. “In the beginning, I was super connected to them emotionally because what I had written about was still so fresh. And then throughout my 20s, I fell out of love with some of the songs because I associated them with a bit of distress that I was feeling; about how much my life had changed and how little I was getting to see my family and friends.

“I re-fell back in love with music in my later 20s and had a resurgence of appreciation for all those songs because I felt like they had been the catalyst for me; connecting with so many fans and they still had such strong emotions connected to the songs.”

With time and perspective, Higgins has come to value the significance of her music in her life and the lives of her fans. “Now I see those songs as being a part of the puzzle, and the first few pieces of the puzzle for me,” she reflects. 

“I’m super grateful for where I am now, and I love singing all those songs because I really love hearing the songs come back from the audience. They have their own stories embedded inside those lyrics. And it’s just wonderful to feel that coming back at me.” 

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of her debut album and the forthcoming The Second Act Tour, Higgins embarks on a journey of introspection and renewal with her latest single, ‘You Should Run.’

‘You Should Run’ serves as the poignant prelude to a forthcoming album slated for release later in 2024. In this raw and vulnerable ballad, Higgins lays bare her emotions, drawing from personal experiences of love, loss, and the tumultuous journey of self-discovery following her divorce. 

“It’s a pretty vulnerable, very honest and emotionally raw thing to put out there for my first single for the album,” she admits. “But I guess it probably is a good song to represent the album and the journey of what’s been like the last couple of years.

“The whole album is going to be quite exposing emotionally so it felt like the right way to set it up.”

Indeed, vulnerability and honesty permeate every note of Higgins’ music, as she delves deep into the recesses of her soul to uncover universal truths. With her upcoming album recorded entirely at home, she has embraced a minimalist approach, allowing the rawness of her emotions to shine through. “It all sounds pretty minimal and stripped back,” she explains. 

“I wanted to do it that way because it all feels very personal to me in the same way as my first album that I wrote mostly in my bedroom when I was a teenager. These songs feel super confessional and I felt like I needed to do it in a really intimate space, mostly by myself, because I just needed to outpour a lot of emotions.”

The solitary nature of the recording process has not only honed Higgins’ technical skills but has also provided an opportunity for self-discovery. “I’ve learned a lot about engineering and producing, and playing some instruments that I did not think I’d ever play like the drums and banjo,” she reveals. “I’ve had to let go of a lot of my perfectionism, and pay more attention to capturing the essence of the emotion and the moment, and just embrace the fact that this is going to be a special kind of record – one that sounds like I recorded it at home by myself.”

“And I think that’s okay,” she asserts, highlighting her preference for albums where “the songs speak for themselves and all the instrumentation and the recording process are there to accompany and be in service to the lyrics, rather than the other way around.”

While The Second Act Tour will see Higgins perform The Sound Of White in its entirety, the show will also showcase some of her latest compositions, alongside a selection of fan favourites from earlier in her career, all presented in stripped-back, acoustic renditions.

“It’s funny, these two things are happening simultaneously,” she muses. “It’s the 20th anniversary of my first album, so I’m doing this amazing, big theatre tour in celebration of that. And at the same time, I’m releasing a new single and I’m gearing up to release a new album. 

“But I think there’s something quite perfect about the two happening at the same time because there are similarities between the headspace that I was in back then, and the headspace that I’m in now,” she reflects. “There’s a certain sense of un-self-consciousness I have with all these new songs and I have gone back to really using songwriting as a form of confessional therapy, and I’m not so worried about anybody hearing them or listening to them. 

“There was a real need for me to express myself. And I think in the beginning with The Sound of White, those songs are almost quite similar in that I was very unaware of anyone hearing them. I was not self-conscious back then; I didn’t have a clue that anyone would ever buy my album.”

Whether you’re a long-time devotee or a newcomer to her melodic world, one thing’s for sure: as Missy Higgins serenades us through her Second Act, her legacy will continue to resonate, proving that true artistry knows no bounds.

Missy Higgins’ Encore Shows will take place in Melbourne at The Palais Theatre on 22 & 23 June, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on 5 July and Sydney’s ICC Sydney on 6 July. 

For all the tour dates and ticketing information, head here