RSL Interview Series - Go ahead and pop in Missy Higgins’s On A Clear Night, you’ll immediately feel a sense of recognition. Perhaps you’ve heard her on a recent episode of your favorite television show, or as a welcome surprise on your Pandora station. But mostly likely, it’s because your soul already knows the songs.
On a snowy Boston afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with twenty-five-year-old Australian songstress. Part ingénue, part old soul, Missy has been amassing a loyal following since the tender age of thirteen. A week and a half into her latest tour, she’s already experienced the burning sun and rolling surf of Florida beaches and knee-deep snow of Washington D.C. Even the weather seems to realize this woman is well acquainted with extremes.
Jen of RSL: Hi, Missy. It’s such an honor to talk to you! I really love the new album. I appreciate your rawness, your vulnerability.
Missy Higgins: Thanks! It’s kind of you to say so.
RSL: I’ve heard On a Clear Night likened to a journal or diary of your experiences over the past year.
Missy: Yes, I suppose it is. Songwriting is a way of exorcising the demons, processing my daily thoughts, reflecting on how and where I am. I am grateful to have my music as a means of communication.
Missy Higgins photographs by Shenelle Crozman
RSL: A few of the pieces I’ve read quoted you as saying “The Wrong Girl” is your favorite song from the album. Is that still the case?
Missy: Well, it definitely was, but it changes for me. Right now, I’d say my favorite is “Warm Whispers.” It’s fun to play live, and the loop at the end opens itself up to do whatever you feel. It’s amazingly therapeutic.
RSL: Can you tell us the story of one song—take us through its birth and how it has changed?
Missy: Sure. “Steer” was inspired by moment on a beach in western Australia. Looking up at the stars, I was overwhelmed by how insignificant and tiny I was in the scheme of things. Life is so short. I realized I had to take the reins and be happy.
RSL: Did the lyrics come first for this one, then, or the music?
Missy: Actually, I had chords in mind. I had been working them into a song about kissing a stranger, but it didn’t fit with the music. The lyrics were too sinister for such a hopeful song. That night on the beach, I realized the right lyrics.
RSL: That story really captures the organic impression of your album. It creates such a profound connection with the listener. I am excited to see you when you play Boston.
Missy Higgins plays Boston's new House of Blues this Saturday 3/7/09 (that's tomorrow folks!) appearing with Justin Nozuka and Lenka. Tickets are $20 and are currently still available!