You’ve burst back onto the music scene after a long break, what made you decide to step away from it all?
I guess I’d seen it coming for a while. During the touring and even the making of my second album, I always said that after all the promotion for it was done; I would take a big break. But then the time came and I’d reached a level of success in the US that was kind of crazy to walk away from. In other words everyone was telling me that I should capitalise on it and not take too long to release a follow-up. So I tried and tried, but after two years of just being completely unable to write anything I liked, I just threw in the towel.
You kind of fell back into performing whilst on university break; can you tell us more about how that came about?
Well I was offered a slot on Lilith Fair in the US, Sarah McLachlan’s famous all-female tour, and at that point I hadn’t played in years but I secretly was starting to miss it, so I said what the heck and said yes anyway. Then a couple of weeks later I freaked out and tried to cancel it but it was too late! But as soon as I got over there and started playing shows again, I was so happy. All these feelings starting coming rushing back, like how amazing it felt to share songs with an audience, and how much I just really loved performing.
Your last album was about personal relationships, your new album The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle is more about the music. Can you explain where your inspiration came from for
I was really struggling for a long time with trying to figure out what I wanted to say with this album, but nothing was coming naturally. Then after a while I realised that I was avoiding the topic that scared me the most, my writer’s block and my disillusionment with the entertainment industry, ie. What I did for a living. I was really in a place of, ‘what the hell am I doing with my life, I spend the whole time singing and talking about myself!’ It just had started to feel really superficial, but at the same time I didn’t have a clue what I’d do with my life if it wasn’t for music
You’ve referred to the latter part of your career as ‘being in a production line’, what
are you going to do differently this time around to ensure you remain happy in what you’re doing?
Well for one, accept that it’s just part of the game! It’s a strange way to make a living when so much of what you do is going round promoting yourself; it screws with your head a little. I think what really helps is when you can compartmentalise the personal you and the professional you, and treat interviews like they are part of the job, and beneficial to your ultimate goal of success, rather than someone trying to suck your blood! I also am definitely not going to tour as much as I used to, a good dose of home life every now and then is what keeps me grounded and happy.
Do you think you’ll be back on the music scene for the long run now?
I really have no idea. I’ve never been one to plan for the future or have any idea what I want it to look like. I just want to keep doing what makes me happy and if music stops making me happy again then I’ll stop. I have a feeling I won’t, because it’s so deeply ingrained in who I am and I love it so much. I do think I’m the kind of person that needs to live a little in between projects and touring. It may be a while before the next album. Then again, who knows?
Missy Higgins is performing at the Fremantle Arts Centre on December 8th & 9th,
she will be supported by Kate Miller-Hiedke