Missy Higgins – Winner of Melbourne Prize for Music 2022

In my 20s I had a complete existential crisis moment where I lost sight of why i was still a songwriter. I’d forgotten what drove me to write in the first place when I was a teenager holed up for days on end excruciatingly pulling these reluctant creatures out of my soul. Surely it’s a selfish pursuit, a naval gazing indulgence that I’d tricked people into wanting from me? So I quit music. I went to uni. I filled my brain with spread sheets and foot notes and big words I thought would impress myself. But it didn’t work. Some child inside me wanted to dance, she just didn’t know how to allow herself to. Years went by without a song, then one day I found myself reluctantly playing a festival in America. And finally, it was there on that stage that I saw it for the first time. The difference I was making. The difference that music makes. There were people in that audience that had been following my entire career and were ecstatic that I was finally out of hiatus. They’d been playing my albums over again like a spirit guide easing them through the grinding sharp, confusing bits of life. They held on to those lyrics like it was one of the few things that understood them and articulated the things they couldn’t. I could hear it in the echo of my words coming back to me, a thousand strange souls carrying my burdens with me, and in doing so transforming them together into triumphs. It was union. It was communion. After that everything changed. The way I saw my “silly” pop music, changed. It was and is, along with every other genre of music, vital as a tool of human connection. The oldest one we’ve ever had, in fact.
I am incredibly honoured to receive this award, THANK YOU Simon Warrender, all the judges and everyone involved in the Melbourne Prize For Music. Thank you to my record label Eleven Music and John Watson Management who have been the most understanding and incredible partners an artist can have through their career. I just hope I can continue to write from a place of truth, joy, fragility and gratitude for the complications, interruptions and multitudes of every day life here in Melbourne. May music always be a friend to every one of you.
Thank you 🙏