Interview with Missy Higgins: The Awkward Truth

Well, it seems some of Missy’s tracks—particularly those that can, and have, been interpreted as songs that explore her sexuality—might have communicated a little too much, and contributed to the singer’s decision to speak out. Missy put an end to the rumors and speculation that surrounded her sexual identity when she disclosed her stance in an article in an Australian lesbian magazine at the end of ‘07. Missy says it was a relief to be upfront but that it’s been testing putting her personal life on display. “I’ve always been quite a private person and I guess gossip and cameras and all that kind of stuff freaks me out, and I get really weary about crossing the lines and allowing people to believe too much that my private life is their business. I know that (being bisexual) is a part of who I am, and it’s a part of my music, but I don’t want it to define who I am or define my music. For a few years there it was very new, and it was hard for me to work out how I wanted to identify myself as far as my sexuality went. And then eventually I thought, ‘You know what? I don’t have to identify as anything. I just am what I am, and I’m attracted to who I’m attracted to. And I don’t have to justify that or define that to anyone.’ It just came out when it was ready to, I guess. It’s refreshing—it’s a weight lifted,” she says.

“I like the fact it’s become less of a big deal but it’s all a bit cringe-worthy that I do have to keep kind of explaining how it happened. At the same time, I don’t like the fact that people in the media are afraid to talk about it, and I don’t like the fact that I was afraid to talk about in the media for quite a while because I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of.”

Regardless of what issues Missy has faced in the press, her focus has always been her music. Both Missy’s studio albums have peaked at the top of Australia’s charts, and she has racked up an impressive swag of awards. Having reached huge levels of success in Australia, Missy, who is partly based in L.A., has been working on building her reputation in the U.S. for a couple of years. Last year she clocked up a count of more than 200 gigs around the States and is stoked to be welcomed back to New York once again. “It feels really good, actually. It’s almost as though I have to really slap myself and wake up to the fact that I have actually been trying to get to this point for the last five years and because it’s been such a gradual build, it’s almost hard to appreciate it as much as I should. When I step back and look at it, it feels really, really rewarding because I’ve put in a lot of ground work over the years,” she says.

“You can kind of tour Australia in a couple of weeks but it can sometimes take a year or two to actually do a full loop of the States and most of the major markets, so it’s been quite hard to penetrate that aspect of it. Also, there’s so much going on, there’s so much amazing talent, and there’s a lot to compete with—which at the same time humbles you.”

Missy, unlike a lot of other artists, has made it to this point without the bells, whistles, and sparkles of crazy stage productions. She has showed pieces of herself to her fans, and has trusted they would embrace her. It’s an approach which has worked so far, and one which she’s going to stick with. “I just try to be as open and as honest and, I guess, entertaining as possible. But mostly, I’m just a storyteller. I love engaging the crowd and I love having an awkward little chats in-between songs even though I’m not exactly inside my comfort zone; it’s one of my favorite things to do, to get to know the audience every night.”

Catch Missy Higgins at Terminal 5 in NYC on March 6. For more info, visit