Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Gordi: Missy Higgins – ‘The Sound Of White’
Dear The Sound of White,
I know we haven’t spoken in a while. I don’t know if you’d recognise me; I’m a bit taller, I don’t have braces anymore and I’ve lost most of the terrible attributes that graced me throughout puberty.
I remember you so fondly. I can still recall your track-listing like yesterday was the Christmas of 2004. Mum is notorious for leaving the price tag on our gifts and you, like other CDs of your time, were a whopping $29.99 from Sanity.
I drove from Bundaberg to Canowindra with my parents and sister in the January of 2005, and we listened to you until my sister said repeatedly that if she heard it again she would hitch-hike the rest of the way home. But I loved you so much. I felt like you had been written for me, like every experience you detailed was about to happen to me because I had just turned 12 and was now a fully-fledged adult. You were so personal and so brave, I felt like I was listening to a diary entry with nothing to hide and everything to give.
I took you with my new acoustic guitar to boarding school at the end of that summer, and most days I would pop you in my trusty Discman and feel every feeling over and over again. The opening, ‘All For Believing’, written by a 16-year-old who won a competition called triple j Unearthed. Triple j Unearthed sounds like a fun thing, I thought — ‘maybe one day I’ll go on that’.
Track three, ‘Scar’ — what an instant classic. ‘Nightminds’ and ‘Any Day Now’ taught me what E-flat major was. I think the first 20 songs I ever wrote were in E-flat major.
‘Nightminds’ was the first song I ever sang in front of my school, ‘Any Day Now’ was the first song I ever taught myself on the piano. But for me it was all about ‘The Special Two’ — that was your finest work. It was the first song I sang and played on the new guitar I’d been given for my 12th birthday.
At boarding school there’s not a lot of personal or private space. I managed to find some for a minute one day, and I started playing ‘The Special Two’. Before long there was a crowd of about 40 girls watching me holding their phones up to share the moment with someone they had called, as Snapchat was yet to be thought of. I was the girl who played ‘that Missy Higgins’ song for a couple of weeks — an early introduction to fleeting fame.
Fast forward to 2012 and I’m sitting in [Sydney venue] the Seymour Centre. I hear one of your best tracks, ‘Any Day Now’, played completely solo, and I feel tears rolling down my cheeks. I’m completely mesmerised, my concentration not even interrupted by the group sitting next to me regularly calling out “Marry me, Missy”. I walked out of the theatre, went home to bed, and uploaded a demo to triple j Unearthed. I wanted to make people feel how you made me feel when I was 12 and when I was 20, and even now, when I’m wise and old at 24.
You’re the reason I write songs the way I do, so personally and so honestly, with nothing to hide and everything to give.
My sincerest thanks,