Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Missy Higgins

Missy Higgins is not a politician.

She's a singer.

But I think she might be involved with politics.

I like her songs. My favorite is "Stuff and Nonsense". I think it was my friend Tracey who introduced me to that song. Maybe?

I also like "Scar" although it took awhile for that song to grow on me. I heard it several times and never paid it much attention. Then one day I heard it again and I loved it. I searched for the lyrics; and when I read them, I loved the song even more.

A triangle trying to squeeze through a circle 
 He tried to cut me so I'd fit

I can totally relate to the lyrics. Who in this world can't? We all have people in our life who love us not for what we are, but who they want us to be. And sadly, I'm sure at times most of us have been the ones who wanted to change someone.

A desire to slightly improve someone is not a huge problem. We all have room for growth; and if we have loved ones who push us to grow, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm talking more about when we want to fix someone....as if they're broken. I think I'm too often guilty of this.

Anyway....

Let's look at the life of Missy Higgins.

She was born on 19 August 1983. She's younger than I imagined.

Birthday Website Time!

She's a Leo like Jack. Her numerology number is 3. That's the social one. A social Leo. I imagine this type of person to be the life of the party. And I think they'd love parties. They'd be the life of the party and parties would be their life.

Is Missy Higgins like this?

 I have no idea.

She was the baby sister of two older siblings. One of her parents was a doctor. The other operated a childcare center. We can use gender stereotypes to guess which parent had which job, but I'm not going to assume anything here.

Lord Wiki says she was raised in Melbourne and did her secondary education at Geelong Grammar school. I'm going to have to look at Google Maps because I didn't think Geelong was that close to Melbourne. Okay, it's about an hour away. That would be a pretty long commute and you'd think there'd be plenty of good schools in Melbourne itself. I'm going to guess that the family moved to Geelong as some point. It is a boarding school though, so she could have taken that route.

Geelong Grammar School is a Christian (Anglican) school, but they're open towards other religions.

For years 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12, there's optional boarding. For year 9, all the kids board at a campus in the mountains called Timbertop.

 The school website says, Students at Timbertop are in a unique position to learn about environmental issues, geographic formations, pioneering skills and farming projects and to study local flora and fauna.

I think that's pretty cool. When I was in 6th grade, we had a one week sleepover camp. That's it. I think it would be so incredible to have a whole year like that. I wonder if most of the students like it. I know I saw another Australian school that had an outdoor program for one year. Is that common in Australia? I wonder if any American schools have it.

Okay. I now see the answer to my question about whether Higgins did the boarding school thing or not. Lord Wiki says it up on top (which I hadn't read yet). She did board there. When she'd come home to visit her family, she would sometimes sing in her brother's band.

At the age of sixteen she wrote her own song called "All For Believing". For this, she won the Triple J Unearthed Competition. This sounds like a really great thing. Their website says they discover new music. Artists can upload their music and people like me can listen to the website's jukebox. I'm listening to music now. I'm not sure I'm a big fan of Grace is Gone. Maybe they will grow on me.

Another organization that helped Higgins in the beginning of her career was Kool Skools. This gives secondary school students a chance to record their music in professional studios. The students don't do this as individuals, but as groups. The website has a darling video explaining what exactly this program offers. It almost sounds too good to be true. I wonder how much it costs the schools and youth groups. They say the cost is 75% subsidized, but that doesn't really tell me how much it costs. Well, regardless....it seems like it's probably worth the money.

Okay, but I just found the cost. It's about $140 per person. That sounds pretty reasonable to me. And the cost isn't just the fees. This includes backpacker accommodations. The $140 would be the approximate total cost of choosing to participate in the program. And they give you a bunch of CD's with your music on it. You can sell these and recoup some of the cost. Or you can be like Missy Higgins and become incredibly successful.

She was discovered by John Watson, a manager of a record label called Eleven. This happened in 2003. In 2004, "Scar" was released. It came from her first album The Sound of White. That's an interesting name.

What does white sound like? I wonder.

"Scar" was written by Higgins and an American musician named Kevin Griffin. I wonder how she got together with him.

The song did very well. Lord Wiki says it went to #1 on the Australian charts. It won best pop release at the 2004 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards).

It seems 2004 was a big year for Higgins. And she was only twenty-one. I guess that's not too shocking. A lot of music people start young. But anyway, she was touring with Pete Murray and the John Butler Trio as their support act. Soon though, she started her own tour.

When the Tsunami thing happened at the end of 2004, Higgins got herself involved with the WaveAid Fundraising concert. This concert was held on January 29 2005 in Sydney Tickets cost $58 for the eight hour concert. Besides Higgins, they also had The Waifs, Nick Cave, Powderfinger, and Midnight Oil.

Higgin's career kept expanding in 2005. She was nominated for more ARIA awards and won best album of the year.

Another song from her album was released. "Ten Days". This song was also co-written by an American. Jay Clifford from North Carolina.

Her third hit single was "The Special Two". She wrote this one by herself. It's an apology song to her sister. I guess it tells the story of something that happened between them.

I just went and read the lyrics. I'm not crying now or anything. Of course not! It's just allergies.

Okay, so I'm crying. Is that a crime? Huh!?? It's not the first time I've cried while doing research.

So is it better to tell and hurt or lie to save their face?  
Well I guess the answer is, don't do it in the first place. 
 I know I'm not deserving of your trust from you right now,  
But if by chance you change your mind, you know I will not let you down,  
'Cause we were the special two, and we'll be again.
And then we have
I step outside my mind's eyes for a minute.  
And I look over me like a doctor looking for disease, Or something that could ease the pain. 
 But nothing cures the hurt you, you bring on by yourself, 
 Just remembering, just remembering how we were...

Now I just have to stop crying so I can get back to work.
She sang the song for the first time live with her sister sitting in the front row. Shit. I'll probably be crying about this all day.

Her fourth single is probably not going to cheer me up. It's called "The Sound of White" (maybe that's where the album name comes from), and it's about her cousin dying.

In late 2005, Higgins teamed up with Ben Lee for a national tour.

Oh! I just tried to google the tour and instead I found out that this fall she was in America doing a tour with Joshua Radin! I love him. I never go to concerts. Seriously. The only ones I've been to are Michael Jackson, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Wiggles. But I would have given careful consideration to going to that one.

Well, it's too late. The tour seems to be over. But I can watch them together on YouTube.

Let's return to Lord Wiki's chronology.

In 2006, Higgins toured the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa. I guess then she lived in Los Angeles for awhile. She worked with Mitchell Froom, a record producer.

Her second album was released in April 2007.

In July 2007, she participated in the Australian LiveEarth. I've never heard of LiveEarth until this moment. It sounds interesting. Al Gore is involved. He's one of my favorite Americans.

Hey, I'm seeing a trend here. Joshua Radin is another one of my favorite Americans. Missy Higgins seems to have connections to the Americans I love. Has she done anything with Stephen Colbert yet?

The LiveEarth concert happened on 7/7/07. Ooh....aren't they clever!

There were concerts all over the world....New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shang-Hai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg. Did all these concerts happen at the exact time? Because that would be weird with the whole time zone thing.

Anyway, the LiveEarth people are still doing stuff. They're hosting a Green Inaugural Ball when Obama becomes president.

At the 7/7/07 concert, Higgins participated in a performance of "From Little Things Big Things Grow".

I might start crying again.

I cry a lot.

If you're hanging out in Sydney in February and see a crazy American girl crying...it will probably be me.

In October 2007, Higgins participated in a Sydney concert to fight breast cancer.

It seems she has spent a lot of 2007 and 2008 in the United States. She's trying to expand her career beyond Australia. Lord Wiki says she's trying to get her songs in movies and television. This will increase exposure. I agree. That's how I first heard of Joshua Radin. His song " The One You Knew" was on Eli Stone last spring.

This is so long and I'm still visiting with Lord Wiki here.

Missy Higgins is bisexual and she's a vegetarian....totally my type of person.

She's not ashamed of her sexuality.  She's open about it. But she doesn't want it to overshadow her music. In an interview she said, I don’t mind talking about my sexuality and I don’t mind it being known. I guess my only hesitation was that it would take over the music and—exactly, overshadow it. It was weird for me because I was so open about my sexuality with my friends and my family but it was also something that I was kind of discovering for myself. So when I started doing interviews for my songs and my album, I realized that I didn’t know how to talk about this kind of thing with strangers because it was something I was just figuring out myself.
That makes sense to me. I can respect that. I am glad though that she has now found the courage and stability to be more open about it. This way she can be a role model for young people who are stuck in the closet.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I'm sure there's so much more out there. How will I avoid making this novel-length?

I don't know. If it makes any of us feel better, I won't be doing any research in February. Everyone will get a break from these epic long posts. In fact, they're going to end in a few weeks probably because I'll need time to shop and pack.

Now I'm looking at Missy Higgin's official site. The biographical page says she started singing with her brother's band when she was just thirteen. I wonder if her brother has had any success with music.

Missy Higgins is a woman of many causes. One of her current ones is saving The Kimberly. This website has a video of Higgins explaining why The Kimberly is important to her. Apparently this beautiful land is in danger of being mined...exploited. This will effect vegetation and the animals that live there.

I just had a random thought. I have an Australian friend with the last name Higgins. I wonder if she's related to Missy! Or maybe that's a common Australian name.

I never even connected it until this moment. I think they might actually be related though because my friend is really awesome just like Missy. The reason I thought of her was I decided to participate in the online campaign to save The Kimberly. After I sent my little email to the WA premier, they asked me to send emails to friends. The only person I could think of was my friend who has the last name as Missy. But I never sent it to her because instead I suddenly realized she had the last name as Missy. That totally distracted me.

Here's something funny. Higgins will be in Texas while I'm in Australia. She's going to be in Dallas on the 21st. That's about an hour away from me.

Okay. I'm now moving onto MySpace. Higgins has 98710 friends. Very impressive! Joshua Radin is one of them. Her page has a link to VH1 where you can vote to put her song on the countdown. I did it! I haven't watched a video countdown show in so long.

Now I'm going to look at an interview with Higgins on a website called AfterEllen. This is a website about lesbian and bisexual woman in the world of entertainment. She says in Australia there's a stigma to having your songs appear on television. Really? I don't see anything wrong with it.

Commercials might be a different matter. That seems degrading. Although I think some songs have gotten good exposure lately through commercials. My sister introduced me to New Soul after she heard it on the Macbook commercial. Stephen Colbert introduced me to Feist, and then I learned her song had been featured in an iPod commercial. One of my favorite songs introduced to me via commercial was this one.

Missy Higgins is like me in that she doesn't like reality TV too much. She said she wouldn't want her songs on one of those shows.

She's seen her songs performed with Karaoke and her name has been in crossword puzzles. I guess that's a good indication that you're pretty famous.

She has interesting things to say about celebrities and the paparazzi. She says it's not a problem in Australia. You have to be extremely famous to get their attention. As for America she says, I feel like a lot of the time they kind of ask for it. I mean, if you go to all these premieres and these openings and you flash your face around and wear designer gowns and make [yourself] get noticed and all that kind of stuff, I feel like they ask for it, and then it gets out of hand.

I think she has a very good point there. I always imagine that if you're a star in the entertainment industry, you'd be obligated to go to these countless events. But are you really? Can't you just say no. If you're that talented, would people ignore you just because your picture isn't in enough magazines? I'm sure some exposure is needed. But overexposure is probably counterproductive. 

 I don't like overexposed people.

One of the reasons (besides too many rejections) I gave up on trying to get my fiction published is I was scared away by the idea of book tours. But recently I learned that there are shy writers who are very successful.  They refuse to do book tours and all that. Still. There's the other trivial thing getting in the way of me being a famous successful fiction writer. And that's called I-no-longer-enjoy-writing-fiction.

This website reveals which charities celebrities are involved with. Nicole Kidman raised 11,000 for charity by donating her jeans to an auction. I wonder about the person who bought them. Did they frame them? Wear them? I wonder if they're comfortable jeans.

Besides the charities I've already mentioned above, Higgins is also involved with PETA. Here's a video interview with her about animal rights. She got to hold a very cute pig.

She has a story almost as good as Hugh Jackman peeing on stage. She was performing at Sydney Opera House and burped into the microphone. Oops.

Here's a SMH article. It's from 2005.

It seems she doesn't like capsicum. My older sister doesn't like them either; except here we call them peppers.

Higgins was jealous of Delta Goodrem when she was a teen, because Goodrem already had a recording contract. I'm not a big fan of Goodrem because I don't have a lot of respect for the person who recommended her music to me. It's not Goodrem's fault, of course. But her music brings up bad associations for me. And besides that, I'm actually not in love with her songs that I've heard.

Higgins talks about the moral confusion that's often involved with being a vegetarian. She feels shame for having a leather wallet. I think that's a common attack used by carnivores toward vegetarians. Why do you have leather shoes?

I think the difference between shoes and meat is you don't have to keep consuming your shoes (or wallet). You buy them once and you can use them for many years. I've had my favorite leather sandals for at least eight years now...maybe more than ten. As long as you're not a Carrie Bradshaw, I think shoes purchasing can be fairly reasonable and ethical. It's hard to find good leather alternatives. It's easier to find good protein alternatives. And if someone eats meat on a daily basis, how many animals are being killed for that one person?

Now if someone is a vegetarian but owns fifty pairs of leather shoes and proudly wears a leather jacket....that's a different story.

I find more moral ambiguity with being a vegetarian instead of vegan. I think often the animals who are used for dairy and eggs are abused. I try to consume dairy and eggs that come from ethical farms, but I'm not perfect in this regard. I feel guilty about that. And I'm back to eating unethical chocolate. I need to really work on this. My ethics are unfortunately better in theory than they are in practice.

In this article, she's closed off about her sexuality. She refuses to talk about it, saying
I prefer not to talk about that because once I start talking about my personal life, and my relationships specifically, people will think it's their business. She then admits, At the same time, maybe I'm just intelligent about it and I realised that if I don't say it either way I won't lose any fans.

 I'm glad she's open about it now, although she's right....it really isn't anyone's business. But I do think it's helpful to have gay/lesbian/bisexual role-models. It's sad she worried about losing fans. That's common though. When someone receives a lot of praise and attention, they often fear that once people discover the real them, then they'll be rejected. You're not as great as we thought you are. You're a huge disappointment to us. Insults and criticism can be painful. But sometimes I think compliments are harder to handle. I get the sense that during the time of this interview, Higgins was very insecure with herself and her career. It seems now she has more confidence.

I'm going to look at Google News now.

Higgins and one of her songs was featured in a video message to Obama, thanking him for becoming President and asking him to fight climate change. The video is a bit too long in my opinion, but it has a good message. I just think someone should have edited it a bit. Oh yeah. I know. Who am I to talk?

This website lists their favorite woman who love woman. Cynthia Nixon is one of them. I don't think I knew that! Higgins comes in at number eight.

Higgins attended Ben Lee's Hindu wedding to Ione Skye. I can't think of Hindu Weddings without thinking of that one Seinfeld episode.

Oh! I like this. During a Boston concert, she explained why she doesn't do encores. She feels it's dishonest. You say you're doing a last song and then you come back again. I think there's also something a bit egotistical about it. If you love me enough, I'll come back on stage. But these days, it's probably pretty much expected. You might look weird if you refuse to do it...unless you give an explanation like Higgins did. Maybe she'll start a trend.

In this interview, she does a very good job of explaining her ambivalence about discussing her sexuality. She explains her fear of talking too much about her private life. That’s what seems to happen to so many of the celebrities who are talked about in the pages of gossip magazines—their personal lives are discussed so much that it isn’t theirs anymore. It’s everybody’s.

There we have why she hesitates to talk about her private life. And below she explains why she ultimately decided to give in and discuss her private business.

I feel a sense of responsibility to say something. If I’m not ashamed of who I am, why not talk about it publicly? I might help a few people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

Anyway, I shall stop now.

I'll leave you with this video. I'm wondering if you'll cry too.