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Q&A with Missy Higgins

Following a recent hiatus, Missy Higgins has made a much-welcomed return to the stage. Performing at Barunga Festival this month, Off The Leash had a chat with Higgins about what she’s been up to and what she’s looking forward to whilst visiting the NT. 

Interview with Chelsea Heaney.

You recently released your first song in five years; why did you decide to write ‘Oh Canada’?

I wrote 'Oh Canada' about the photo of the little Syrian boy whose body was found washed up on a beach in Turkey, after the refugee boat his family were on capsized. The photo broke my heart, for many reasons, but even more so because I’d just had a baby boy myself. I thought that in another lifetime it could have been my baby, my family. In the end we all just want a safe place to live, and we’ll go to any length to protect our family. 

What was it like, taking a break from song writing and performing?

It was a good thing to do. I thought that I may never perform again as I’d lost the spark and the motivation. I’d lost contact with the reason why I started doing music in the first place. But after a couple years I gradually came to realise that all I really needed was a break and that I loved performing and writing music more than anything else in the world. 

You toured with leading symphony ensembles across the country late last year. What was that was like?

It was pretty epic hearing my music re-interpreted for an orchestra. The songs became so cinematic and beautiful – I felt like I was in a movie! The stage almost rumbles because of all the vibrations going on. I really loved it, I was like a kid in a candy store.

Have you been working on any other new music recently?

I just released a song that I wrote for a movie called ‘Torchlight’. The film is called Don’t Tell, and it's amazing. Apart from that, I’ve been working on a new album, which we’re just finishing up now, so that’s pretty exciting.

What is your song writing process like? Where do your ideas come from?

I like to put aside a few months of dedicated writing time. I need to commit to really being in the headspace for an extended amount of time. Usually I’ll just sit down at the piano and make stuff up until something sounds exciting, then I’ll repeat it over and over, expand on it, and start singing over it. My ideas almost always come from personal experiences, whether it is something I’m going through, or something I’ve observed happening to someone else.

What are you looking forward to at Barunga Festival?

Immersing myself in the great local atmosphere. Making damper, swimming in the creek and listening to music! I went a few years ago and it’s such a lovely festival, you really feel like a local for a few days. And I’m stoked to hear some of the Indigenous bands from around the area play again, I was pretty blown away last time. 

Will you be doing anything else whilst you’re in the Top End?
Yes I think we’ll go camping for a bit, explore Kakadu and the surrounding area. It’s all such beautiful and powerful country, I’m very excited to get back up there.

Higgins performs at Barunga Festival, Sat 10 June, 8.30pm


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