Missy Higgins: “Unashamed Desire”
In 2007, Australian singer Missy Higgins had one million global album sales and significant TV time on American talk shows with Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel. But Higgins walked away from it all, citing an existential crisis in her own work. She took time off to head back to school and do volunteer work and eventually found her muse again. All those long years away have culminated into a new album out July 17 called The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle, her first in five years.
Some artists work best under pressure, but for Higgins it was the opposite. Up until her hiatus, she had been in the music business in some form for almost a decade. Her first break came at just fifteen when Higgins wrote a song for a school assignment that got picked up by a Melbourne record company, Australia’s Triple J radio, and eventually L.A.’s KCRW. Two albums and two world tours later, Higgins was burnt out, feeling like her music “had just lost the purity and romance” of her earlier days.
But the time off eventually paid off. Higgins slowly worked herself back into her career, writing here and there with a few one-off shows in between. She ended up recording The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle in Nashville with friends instead of session musicians. The result is a dynamic new record, highlighted by the rousing “Unashamed Desire.” The song is almost a mission statement for her new direction, with big, bold strokes and Higgins singing “I’ve got nothing to hide.” She certainly doesn’t. In fact, the world would be wise to welcome her back with open arms.