Missy Higgins

The Sound of White

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The story behind Missy Higgins' "All for Believing," the young Australian singers' haunting, classically tinged piano ballad that launched her career, is the stuff of Hollywood dreams, even though the tale begins in a music class in Melbourne. At age 16, she had put off an assignment 'til the last minute and wrote the piece in a rushed half-hour before class. Her sister urged her to submit it to Unearthed, the national song competition run by the influential national alternative radio network Triple J -- and it won. When Los Angeles tastemaker KCRW started playing a live version of the song, Warner Bros. took interest and soon she was on her way to international stardom. Fortunately, she's not just a one-song sensation, as emotional and longing, more lushly produced tracks like "Ten Days" and the playful, folksy (and guitar driven) "Scar" demonstrate. At her core, however, Higgins needs little production to get her musical essence across -- sparse piano- and cello-enhanced tracks like "Don't Ever," "Night Minds," and the title track allow her to come across most honestly. Favorable comparisons to Kate Bush and Vanessa Carlton are inevitable, but as Higgins develops, there's no doubt she'll be the one up-and-coming singers want to compare themselves to.

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