Interview With Missy Higgins

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Now halfway through her

American tour, openly bisexual Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins is

selling out venues. Her new album, On a

Clear Night
, has become a top album on the Billboard Heatseekers chart,

where it peaked at 29, and her single “Where I Stood” was featured

last fall on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Higgins remains somewhat under the radar in the United

States, but she’s been well-known in her home down under since she was 18. She has released three full-length albums and won

several ARIAS (the Australian equivalent to Grammys), which led her to sign a

major label deal with Warner Brothers.

Whether you heard about her

through that Grey’s Anatomy episode

or you read about her coming out last year as “not so straight” in

the Australian lesbian magazine Cherie,

Higgins deserves your attention. She recently talked with AfterEllen.com about

coming out, moving to the West Coast, and her song “Secret,” that

references a same-sex relationship.

AfterEllen.com: You actually recorded this album in 2006 right?

Missy Higgins: Yeah. I mean, some of

the songs are quite old, relatively old. I wrote the song “100 Round the

Bends” a while ago when I was recording my first album. That’s very old,

that song.

I guess the rest was kind

of written while I was on tour for the first album, and the second half was

written when I went to … this little country town in Western Australia by the beach. So I wrote

about half the album there.

AE: Is it weird now to

be playing these songs like they are new material for people who haven’t heard

it before?

MH:
Yeah, it’s cool though. When people are

hearing your songs for the first time, you can’t help but see it as refreshing,

hearing it through their ears, which is great.

AE: You had a different

single here than you did in Australia.

Was that your decision?

MH:
It wasn’t really my decision. The

record label thought “Where I Stood” would be good for American

radio. I guess “Where I Stood” is more cinematic [than “Steer”]

too, and so they probably were thinking that they could get it in TV shows,

films and stuff. Over here [in the United States] that’s such a

massive way of entering the market.

AE: I recently

interviewed Sia and she was

talking about how she had been on Grey’s

Anatomy
and how much that helped her popularity. I’m sure you’re feeling

that same effect right now — like it can only be a positive thing, whereas some

people used to look at it as not so positive, attaching yourself to something

like that.

MH:
I think there used to be — definitely

in Australia

— a stigma for having your songs on any TV show or attached to a product. But I

think now the industry has changed so much that it’s just one way you can get

exposed. There are a lot of record labels sort of shelling all this money into

mindless music and getting that on the radio and that kind of thing, so to be

able to get noticed, you have to try other things like getting on TV shows.

AE: Well, it’s nice because

you know someone is watching Grey’s

Anatomy
, and they hear your song and they think, “I gotta know what

this song is!”

MH:
Yeah, it’s not like they’d look it

up if they didn’t like it! A lot of them go to the website after.

Watch the video of “Where I Stood”:

AE: Are there any shows

that you think you wouldn’t want to be associated with?

MH:
I just don’t like reality TV shows

much. I just think that would be a little bit demeaning to be on one of those

things.