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Last Updated: Saturday June 04 2005 17:52 GMT

Meet Missy Higgins: Australia's newest pop star

Missy Higgins

You may not have heard of her in the UK but Missy Higgins, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Australia, has already taken her home country by storm!

She's had a number one single and her debut album has been in the top ten for nearly a year!

Not only that, she's won countless awards there, from best newcomer to best pop single.

Now she's taking on the rest of world, with the release of her debut album in the UK and the US.

CBBC Newsround's Cristina Boyton decided to catch up with her to see what all the fuss is about!

Have you always wanted to be a singer?

MH: I think I first realised it when I was 13. We put on a musical at school called Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was the first time I actually had a microphone in my hand, had a spotlight on me and an audience in front of me. It felt so good, I remember not wanting to take the microphone out of my hand.

My brother came to see me perform and he said afterwards, you know you really should sing, I should get you up to sing with my jazz band. So I would sing in his band around Melbourne and that's how I really started developing a love of singing in public. Then I went on write my own songs.

You were 15 years old when you wrote the song that got you your record deal. Can you tell us the story?

MH: My music class was set an assignment to write a composition and for some reason, like every other project I was set, I didn't complete it until the day before it was due.

In fact, I think I remember skipping the two classes before the music class when it was due. I just completed it in a rush.

And this song won a national unsigned competition?

MH: Yes two years later, in my final year of high school, my sister entered my song in a competition - if you won you got your song played on the radio.

I remember being at school and a woman phoned me to say that I had won and thought wow, that's really cool. At the time I didn't really realise the extent of how big the competition was. And looking back now, it did start off my career as I got a record deal after that.

But you went travelling instead of going into the studio, was that a difficult decision to make?

MH: Around the time of my 18th birthday I signed a record deal. Then I decided to take a year off. It wasn't a hard decision at all. Everyone says that to me, that's such a big decision to make. But the way I see it is that I'd already signed the record deal. It wasn't as though I was trying to get one, and I thought, well, they can't drop me.

You've now had huge success in Australia, what's been the highlight for you over the past 12 months?

MH: The highlight would be winning the ARIA award [like a Brit Award] for best pop release just because I'd watched the ARIAs for so many years. I just didn't expect it, it was so out of the realms of possibility.

And you beat stars like Kylie and Delta for that award too?

MH: I know. I remember at the ceremony them calling out my name, and everything just went white for a second, the crowd was silently clapping and I was just floating up to the stage. I think I said something really stupid in my speech. And I forgot to thank my parents - I was really annoyed with myself about that.

What's the best thing about being famous?

MH: Free clothes, definitely, without a doubt. People will say if you want anything from my shop, just come in. I haven't turned down one person yet!

Is it odd being famous in one country and not another?

MH: I definitely get recognised in Australia, which is kinda strange for someone that's never had any desire to be the centre of attention. I don't really enjoy people looking at me and whispering, I think they might be saying bad things about me.

It's good going to a country that doesn't know you and going back to playing small venues - it puts you in your place. It brings you back down to Earth and makes you realise it's not going to be that easy.

Can you tell us about the single you have just released in the UK?

MH: The song is called Ten Days. It's a song that I wrote when I was overseas. I'd just broken up with my boyfriend - we'd decided that we couldn't be together because I was going to be away too much.

I'd been away for ten days and I was just really in agony because I was really missing him. I regretted leaving him so it's basically a song about missing someone and regretting certain things that you've done.

I actually recorded the song as soon as I wrote it and sent it to him because it was his birthday. We ended up getting back together - you can't write a song about that and not get back together!

And finally, you write your own songs, play piano and guitar, so what would be your song writing tips?

MH:

  • Just start by mucking around with what you play, like a guitar or piano.
  • Maybe start humming and just let the inspiration come to you - don't try and force anything.
  • Have an idea about what kind of thing you want to write about. Some songwriters have this trick where they write the title of their song first. From there everything grows around it. You plant the root and then the rest comes.
  • It's definitely easier to write about personal experiences too. You should always try and relate it back to yourself because that is what you know the most about.

Missy Higgins' debut album, The Sound of White, is released in the UK on 13 June.






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