- Title: USA: Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins releases new album
- Date: 5th March 2008
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) SINGER SONGWRITER MISSY HIGGINS SAYING: "I started playing piano when I was six, and my dad was a piano player, so he kind of sat alongside me, and, you know, helped me practice, and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, so growing up I always remember the sound of dad's piano wafting through the house. And then mom and dad used to take us to a lot of musical theatre. I remember when I was young, you know, Starlight Express, and Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserable, and Cats. And then we would bring the soundtrack home and all sing along, it was very cheesy. So, yeah, I have strong memories of just being surrounded by music growing up."
- Embargoed: 21st March 2008 09:42
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA56COXZ86AIMOZMV98PCPCHUGI
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Australian singer-songwriter Missy Higgins is already enjoying the success of a new album called "On A Clear Night." The 23-year-old is now on a tour that will sweep through Canada and the United States in support of this latest release. Her first show, which was on Tuesday (February 26) at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, sold out, and reviews about her performance have been glowing.
Higgins has played the piano since she was a child growing up in Melbourne, Australia. And she started singing in her brother's jazz band when she was 13. Higgins says she would come home from boarding school on the weekends and put on a dress, high heels, and make-up to try to look old enough to be performing in the smoke-filled bars when she was not even old enough to drive.
She was first discovered when she won a radio music contest at a highly-regarded alternative station at age 17. This after her sister submitted a song Higgins had written and recorded on a cassette tape. The prize was getting airplay for several weeks for "All For Believing." A few months later, while still in high school, the teenage singer landed her first recording deal in her home country.
Higgins told Reuters that she has been around music her entire life.
"I started playing piano when I was six, and my dad was a piano player," recalled Higgins. "So he kind of sat alongside me, and, you know, helped me practice, and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, so growing up I always remember the sound of dad's piano wafting through the house. And then mom and dad used to take us to a lot of musical theatre. I remember when I was young, you know, Starlight Express, and Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserable, and Cats. And then we would bring the soundtrack home and all sing along, it was very cheesy. So, yeah, I have strong memories of just being surrounded by music growing up."
Higgins counts music legends among her early musical influences. But she has developed her own distinctive, signature style.
"My music's kind of acoustic, folk, pop all of those kind of general terms, I guess," mused Higgins. "My songs, I guess my songs are quite lyrically driven. I play piano and guitar. Yeah, I feel like most of them kind of tell a story, and the music kind of flows, um, afterwards. I don't know. I've been influenced by a lot of people. I grew up singing, um, in a jazz covers band, um, my brothers' band actually. So I was influenced by Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday and all those great jazz divas."
Many of Higgins' songs are based around her performance on the piano, guitar and harmonica. And although she listened to jazz and sang the blues as a teen, Higgins says her personal style is more straightforward.
Her first album, "The Sound of White," was released in September 2004. It was produced in the U.S. with the help of an audio engineer noted for his work with jazz singer, Norah Jones. The following year, the album helped Higgins earn seven nominations for the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards. She ended up taking home five, winning "Album of the Year," "Best Female Artist," "Best Pop Release," "Breakthrough Artist - Album Release," and "Highest Selling Album."
Still riding the wave of "The Sound of White," Higgins was named Best Female Artist at the MTV Australian Video Music Awards in 2006.
She says her new album is a reflection of her personal growth.
"My album's called 'On A Clear Night' and um, my first album was called 'The Sound of White'," explains Higgins. "I didn't make them rhyme on purpose, that kind of happened accidentally. The real difference is I feel that the songs on this album are much more, actually, kind of, well, I won't say advanced, but it's not really like that. But those come from a more mature, stable place, and I touch on a lot of issues like self-discovery that I wasn't quite um, into for the first album."
"On A Clear Night" was produced by Mitchell Froom, best known for his work with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and Crowded House.
Thanks in part to the exposure her single "Where I Stood" has been getting recently on some of the most-watched television programs produced in Hollywood, there is already momentum gathering for her new album in the U.S.
The fresh-faced Aussie humbly says she believes the success she experienced so quickly when she was younger was in large part due to being at the right place at the right time. And now she says she is willing to invest the time to make herself more well-known outside the land Down Under.
"Things seems to be going really well over here," smiled Higgins. "Um I have had my single 'Where I Stood' on a few TV shows, including 'Grey's Anatomy,' which is great, and 'One Tree Hill and 'Smallville.' and, um, so yeah there seems to be a bit of momentum going and a bit of radio play. Um, but you know, it's like America's so huge. It's- I've just moved here because I feel like it's one of those places where you really just have to like commit geographically. You've got to be here and you've got to tour. Yeah, just give it ever bit of your focus. And that's what I'm going to do for the next year or two years or whatever and see where that takes me."
For more information about Missy Higgins go to www.missyhiggins.com.
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