A lot has happened to get Missy Higgins to where she is now. And there was a very good chance the Missy we’ve been reacquainted with, wasn’t going to make her return to the industry. “I was surrounded by these business men all the time crunching the numbers and it just made me feel as though I was part of a production line and need[ed] to churn out the hits. I’d forgotten how to love music and why I was doing it,” she says, “I just needed a break.”
Taking time off from touring her 2012 album, The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, Missy trekked around South America and India, experiencing something other than the constant rush felt with touring and making new music. “I was trying to find meaning and find something else to grasp onto that wasn’t music,” Missy says.
Her search saw her spend 10 days in an Indian Ashram not speaking, immersing herself in the culture and visiting places of the world with people who were far more in tune with their environment than what Western culture has come to know.
“[Visiting] the Amazon and sleeping in a hammock in a little village where they never see Westerners and don’t know what a car looks like – that was pretty incredible,” she says. “And that was one of those experiences where you back to your own life and you’re so grateful for everything that you have.”
Returning home, Missy has since had a baby (one year old Samuel), found her place back into the industry and is taking on new challenges with the Orchestral tour series. “It just never felt like the right time until now,” she says of partnering with some of Australia’s leading symphony orchestras.
“I thought [having a child] could go one of two ways; I could feel completely uninspired and want to be a stay at home mum or I could get a burst of creativity. And I’m really lucky it was the latter that happened,” she says. “I think if you have a problem with getting too stuck in your own head and in your own narrative, having a kid can be helpful in a way because it really pulls you outside of yourself. I have no idea if that was anyone else’s case but it’s been right for me.”
Rather than writing and singing of personal issues, Missy’s new music has turned her focus to what’s happening around her. Released earlier this year, ‘Oh Canada’ was the socially conscious, political and highly emotional song of the young Syrian boy Alan Kurdi that created discussion and served as an insight into where her music was heading.
“The new stuff I’ve been working on is just about the state of the world at the moment,” she says. “There’s a song I just wrote about Islamophobia, a song about the Orlando shootings because I was in America at the time. I met so many people who really wanted guns to be banned and the president wanted guns to be banned, but even he couldn’t make it happen and that was really powerful.”
“I guess I’ve just been quite affected by the state of the world at the moment. It feels like something is brewing and we’re moving towards some sort of point of make or break. It’s a really intense time at the moment.”
Written by Amanda Sherring
Photo by Cybele Malinowski
When & Where: Lost Lands Festival @ Werribee Mansion, Werribee – October 29-30