Missy Higgins has a massive year ahead. The Australian singer-songwriter has just announced plans to release a new album and her first novel, and she’s expecting her first child.
Higgins used her Facebook page to spread the good news of her pending motherhood. “Hi friends, this is about to hit the press so I thought I'd let you all know personally, my fiancé Dan and I are expecting a baby in Jan!,” she wrote in a post on Saturday. “Very exciting and happy times! A new chapter is about to begin, and with it a crazy and wonderful journey, no doubt.”
But before everything changes in Higgins’ household, there are two major, intertwined projects to release. Higgins has recorded an album of Aussie cover versions and what’s been described as a “quirky” tome of related essays, both carrying the name OZ. The tunes and words will be released in a clothbound CD/book edition, and they'll be offered for sale separately in physical and digital forms from Sept. 19 via Eleven/Universal in Australia.
“I wanted to try something different this time around”, explains Missy in a statement. “I couldn’t decide between making a covers album or writing a book so I decided to do both at once. Musically it’s intended to be a real mixed bag of lollies.”
The album features covers of songs by the Divinyls, the Go-Betweens, Icehouse and the late country great Slim Dusty. Amanda Palmer is among the guests to appear on the set, which was mixed by multiple Grammy winner Jay Newland, who also collaborated on Higgins’ breakthrough album The Sound of White.
Higgins’ three previous albums, The Sound of White (2004), On a Clear Night (2007) and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (2012) each hit the No. 1 spot on the Australian albums chart and all are ARIA Award winners. The Sound of White managed seven weeks at the top of the sales chart across 2004 and 2005, and became the highest-selling album of 2005 in the process (it’s now nine-times platinum certified). On a Clear Night peaked at No. 193 on the Billboard 200 and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle reached No. 83.
Higgins herself won the ARIA female artist of the year award in 2005 and 2007.
“Obviously part of the reason I called the whole project OZ is that it’s all about Australian songs,” she continues. “Plus, for the first time, I recorded the whole thing in Australia. However the title has a second meaning. I like the idea of songwriters being like the Wizard in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Some people think we’re special people who have special powers but really we’re just scared little people hiding in a backroom somewhere, working like crazy to make sure we don’t get found out.”
The Melbourne-born artist is also a passionate environmentalist and she’s enjoyed a taste of the Big Screen, including a starring role in the 2010 feature film Bran Nue Dae. In 2009, Higgins and her Australian label Eleven issued a digital EP via iTunes entitled "More Than This," royalties from which were donated to conservationists Save the Kimberley, whose ongoing mission is to stop government proposals to erect a gas plant in the Kimberley region.
A U.S. release date for OZ has yet to be annnounced.
1. "You Only Hide" (Something For Kate)
2. "Old Fitzroy" (Dan Sultan)
3. "NYE" (Perry Keyes)
4. "Shark Fin Blues" (The Drones)
5. "Was There Anything I Could Do" (The Go-Betweens)
6. "Back To The Wall" (Divinyls)
7. "Don’t Believe Anymore" (Icehouse)
8. "The Biggest Disappointment" feat. Dan Sultan (Slim Dusty)
9. "Everybody Wants To Touch Me" (Paul Kelly)
10. "Curse On You" (The Blackeyed Susans)
11. "No Secrets" (The Angels)
12. "Before Too Long" feat. Amanda Palmer (Paul Kelly)
13. "Blackfella/Whitefella" feat. Crystal Itjuwalyi Butcher (Warumpi Band)
14. "Calm And Crystal Clear" (Neil Murray)
15. "The Way You Are Tonight" (Don Walker)