Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul
Finding out you're about to become a parent can be the happiest news a person ever receives. But it isn't often that an expectant mum will count down her nine months of pregnancy while also juggling the concerns of ticket sales, backstage riders, load-ins, load-outs and long drives.
"I wanted to be creative again, be active," Missy Higgins says. The Scar and Special Two singer is somewhere between the Gold Coast and Lismore, well into the Queensland leg of a big national tour to promote her latest album Oz.
It is a collection of cover songs, with Higgins putting her personal touch on classic Australian tunes from the likes of Paul Kelly, Icehouse and The Divinyls.
There is also the small matter of her first child, due in January.
"I'll be flat out with a new baby next year, so it's nice to get some touring done now. It will be the last time I can tour without the bub at home, so this tour will be my last hurrah for a while," Higgins says.
With the beloved, multi-platinum selling The Sound Of White in 2004, Higgins stamped herself as one of Australia's cherished chanteuses.
Follow-up record On A Clear Night also topped the charts but did not quite replicate the roaring success of her debut.
Higgins returned five years later with The Ol Razzle Dazzle in 2012, but says the idea for an album of covers was born before her third album.
"I've covered so many Australian songs in concert over the years. It accidentally became something I did every tour - find a new song to cover, and I ended up with a large amount of songs that would sound good recorded," Higgins says.
"Between my second and third albums, I had a bad bout of writer's block. Someone suggested I compile the covers into an album, but I was really intent on picking through the block, and just stuck at it.
"But then after, I thought this would be a fun side project. This felt like a good time to try something different."
What resulted is Oz, a 16-track effort released in September. Taking on seminal Australian acts including The Angels, Kylie Minogue, The Drones, Warumpi Band, and a special collaboration with Dan Sultan on Slim Dusty's song The Biggest Disappointment, Higgins says each song holds a special meaning for her.
"I responded to all these songs on an emotional level, when I first heard them. I wanted songs I felt I could tell with my own voice, and interpret them authentically," she says.
"But it was important to maintain the emotional integrity and the heart of the song. It was a high priority to keep true to the songs."
Higgins says the creation of Oz was an enjoyable yet nerve-racking process.
"I sent most of the artists the recordings before the release. That was scary," she laughs.
Now launching the album with what is billed as her last tour for at least a year, Higgins is excited by it all - the tour, showing off her latest work, and having her first child.
"I like being home, having my routines, looking after my garden and playing with my dog, but I also love playing. I love being able to do both," she says.
"I don't know what will happen after this. I've got no plans at the moment. I'm going to see how this motherhood thing turns out."