Missy Higgins doesn’t miss the kangaroos much. Ever since leaving homeland Australia for the United States to make her name more well-known here, the openly-bisexual silky-voiced musician could care less about seeing those high-jumping pouched critters. Plus, where she lives in L.A., there are two major perks: A variety of vegan restaurants – and the opportunity to score big in the states.
Should the 24-year-old bounce above the competition – and lately, with the new wave of chicks with guitars, this could prove a challenge – she could be on her way to reaching higher heights than those marsupials.
“In the back of my head, I was always very much prepared to have to fight to be noticed,” she says from the courtyard of her apartment complex, which overlooks Sunset Boulevard. “I feel like a little fish in a massive ocean over here.”
So when she swims into The Crofoot in Pontiac at 7 p.m. July 16, will she be wishing for a raft? Nah.
“I find that (with) audiences over here, you don’t have to prove yourself quite as much as you do back home. … They want you to succeed from the moment you step on stage – and that’s a really nice feeling. I think back home, you have to earn the audience’s trust before they really make you feel comfortable on stage. And that’s fine; it’s part of my culture, and I love it and I’m used to it.
“But over here, from the minute I started playing, I felt really embraced by the audiences and I felt free to just relax and be myself.”
So far, that’s worked wonders. She’s conquered the telly, scoring a spot on several dramas: ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” MTV’s “The Hills” and on “Grey’s Anatomy” with her can’t-get-over-you lament “Where I Stood,” a piano-led weeper where the Down Under chanteuse sings, “I don’t know who I am, who I am without you/All I know is that I should.”
“It was definitely cathartic,” she says of penning the downer. “Just the act of writing a song for me is a way of dealing with issues and working through moments in my life, whether they be confusing or hard or painful … . It’s like sitting in a therapy session.”
And after her move to America, and public confusion about which way she swings, we’re inclined to think she needed some type of release, be it a shrink or music. She’s used the latter since 2005’s award-winning debut “The Sound of White” as a reflective release, and on her follow-up, “On a Clear Night,” Higgins muses on more of the same: relationships – and subtle hints to the is-she-or-isn’t-she question.
She’s somebody’s veiled partner on “Secret,” where she punctuates the mild rocker with, “I’m your secret, aren’t I babe? Yeah, I’m your secret, aren’t I babe?”
After dodging specific questions about her folksy ditties (“It’ll limit the amount of people who are able to relate to it”), she agrees to respond to what added to the non-straight allegations: “I was in a relationship with a woman who wasn’t comfortable telling the people around us, and basically wasn’t comfortable being open about our relationship for many different reasons. And I kind of wanted to shout it to the world, ’cause I was really in love.”
For a while, though, Higgins, who recently was the audience choice winner for Logo’s Brink of Fame: Music Artist category, wasn’t so crazy about waving around her rainbow colors; she didn’t want it to overshadow her career.
“I didn’t want it to be like big news; I just wanted it to be something normal – because it is normal,” she says.
When Higgins’ words were the victim of a journalist’s own interpretation, she cleared up the mess on her Web site and official MySpace page, admitting that she’s got a thing for guys – and the ladies.
“It was hard at first,” she says, “because … it didn’t happen the way I would’ve preferred it to happen. … I think it was a longtime coming, because, for a long time, I’ve been wanting to start talking about it – because I realized it was appearing as though I was ashamed of my sexuality, when really, I didn’t know how to approach the subject without causing a massive deal.”
She’d rather cause an uproar with her music – a dream she’s had ever since performing in an eighth grade production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” “I’d never held a mic,” she recalls. “And being in the spotlight, and performing in front of an audience with people and I just – I absolutely loved it. And as soon as I stepped out on stage, I felt so comfortable, but also this incredible rush of adrenaline, and, after I finished, I was on an absolute high. And the idea in my head of being able to do that when I grew up as a career? It was idyllic.”
As is being single. For now, at least. She’s been footloose for two years (and anyone who’s heard “Where I Stood” might know why), and her reason is as delicately poetic as anything on her sophomoric disc: “Being in love with somebody that you keep having to leave, it causes you to not really be present where you are, because half of your heart is attached to somebody back home. It’s more painful than it is worth it. Until I meet somebody that I can’t possibly live without, I think I’ll have to keep going the way I am.”
7 p.m. July 16
The Crofoot, Pontiac