Aussie songwriter Missy Higgins recently partnered with the Melbourne Theatre Company to write a "score" of sorts for a provocative new play titled Cock -- one with "a very risqué title," she adds, "but it weeds out the prudes so that saves time." Most of Higgins' compositions are relatively short, mostly instrumental interludes but the song "Somewhere" is a gorgeous piano ballad that plays at the drama's close. It was "inspired by the main character John," she notes of the home recording, "and the struggle he has to figure out who he is, and how to live. I could really relate to a lot of what he was going through." Click through to read Missy's message to fans. More music here.
Missy Higgins - "Somewhere"
"I've been up to some exciting things the last few months, one of which is related to this free download you're looking at. I've been working with MTC (Melbourne Theatre Company) on their latest production, called 'Cock'. I know, very risqué title, but it weeds out the prudes so that saves time. Anyway, it is actually a stunning, evocative play that manages to be hilarious and heart-breaking at the same time.
It is written by Mike Bartlett, a really awesome young English play-write and I was asked to write the score for it. To be clear it is not a musical, it's a regular play with music in it, but it posed a challenge for me because a) I've never done this kind of thing before and b) I've never seen a play that had lyrical/vocal music in it where the cast weren't flapping about in sailor's uniforms or hanging from giant gorillas. But the coolest thing about this experience is that I got to work really closely with the cast and the creative team, so it was a collaborative project to come up with songs that worked, and didn't distract from the most important thing: the story of the play. I had a heap of fun doing it, playing these songs during rehearsals and seeing how the actors/characters reacted to the changes in the compositions, and finally hearing it through the big speakers when we moved into the Fairfax Theatre.
The play opens TONIGHT which is very exciting. I went to a couple of the previews and so far the audience seems to be loving it and laughing and/or crying the whole way through. It's very rude in places though, so if you go to see it (which I HIGHLY recommend but it's almost sold out so better hurry) don't bring your gran. Unless your gran is super hip and fine with a bit of boy-on-boy action. Who knows, maybe it'd be good for her??
Anyway, I've decided to put a few of these songs out there as it seems a shame for only a small amount of people to hear something you've spent a fair bit of time working on. Of course it'd make much more sense to hear/see it in context but failing that, here ya go!
You'll notice that only one of the songs Somewhere, is kind of a "traditional" song, the others are more "score" type formats, to create a mood rather than tell a story. That's because 'Somewhere' is the only one that's played after the play has finished, the others were used as interludes, ie. music played while the actors were changing the set between scenes. The recordings are fairly rough as I just recorded them at home with the help of MTC sound designer THE SWEATS (who's amazing) while bloody construction, festival music and loud tweeting birds were a fairly persistent obstacle!!! But I think they sound pretty good. We haven't included the whole score, just a taste of a few that are my favs. The main song 'Somewhere' was inspired by the main character John, and the struggle he has to figure out who he is, and how to live. I could really relate to a lot of what he was going through. If you want to read a bit more about the thought process behind this song, and my experience working on this project, read the Q&A I did for the MTC website here.
My other bit of news is that I'm about to start recording a new album, hoorah!! It'll be a different kind of album, so keep your expectations at bay and your mind open... but I hope you dig it, it's going to be a lot of fun I think. I'm collaborating with Jherek Bischoff, who some of you may know from his work as Amanda Palmer's hunky bass player and arranger, or some of you may know him as the incredible solo artist that does stunning string and ukelele arrangements. He also wears a suit and bow-tie ALL THE TIME. Enough said. Who knows what our album is going to sound like, we're co-producing it together (which is my first time as an official 'producer') so it should be fun and wacky and creative and interesting, if all goes well. I'm sure in the months ahead I'll be tweeting/instagramming little pics while we're in the studio so stay tuned for that ... there are only so many angles one can find in a recording room though so i'll try to make them as interesting as possible! Then again there are only so many photos you can have of undies on your head and orange skins in your mouth. I need more ideas.
That's all from me, thank you all for staying interested in what I'm doing...