Suzie Higgie

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Suzie Higgie
A three-quarter shot of a woman singing into her microphone, she holds her right had over her guitar strings, her left hand is obscured behind the guitar at her hip. She wears a blue-black check shirt and jeans, which are tucked into her brown boots. Her microphone stand is at her left. The background is darkened, with barely visible trees and people, some lighting and equipment is visible.
Performing with Falling Joys,
National Museum of Australia, Canberra, February 2011
Background information
Origin Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Years active 1984–present
Labels Anchor & Hope/Shock
Associated acts

Suzie Higgie is an Australian musician. She is the founding mainstay lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for the Falling Joys (1985–95, 2011, 2016, 2017-Now), an alternative rock band formed in Canberra. She has issued two solo albums, Soon Will Be Tomorrow (collaboration with Conway Savage, June 1998) and Song of Habit (October 2001).

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Suzie Higgie is the daughter of William Alexander "Bill" Higgie (1923 – 2015), a Department of Immigration diplomat, and Jean Winifred née Stenhouse, from the same department.[1][2][3] Her older brother, Mark Higgie, is a diplomat, political advisor and former intelligence analyst.[1] Her younger sister, Jenny Higgie, is a novelist, screenwriter, art critic and co-editor of the London-based contemporary arts magazine, Frieze.[4] Her younger brother, Andrew Higgie, is a London-based theatre and TV producer.[5][6]

Higgie attended a boarding school in England, the family relocated successively to Yugoslavia, Italy, France and back to Australia.[2] In Canberra she completed her degree in communication and history before working short terms in an Israeli kibbutz and an Austrian ski resort.[2] Back in Canberra, Higgie and Jenny were members of a folk-pop group, Get Set Go, from mid-1983 to mid-1984, with Nic Dalton and Anthony Hayes (later known as Stevie Plunder).[7] Higgie later recalled, "[d]own at Commonwealth Park there used to be a tunnel with a power point ... My first band with Nic Dalton and Stevie Plunder... we wrote most of our songs down there."[8]

Falling Joys era[edit]

In 1985 Higgie, as lead singer and guitarist, formed Falling Joys, an indie guitar pop group, in Canberra, with Anthony Merrilees on drums; Robin Miles on keyboards and vocals; and Stuart G. Robertson on bass guitar and vocals.[9] Late that year Higgie and Robertson were joined by Ken Doll on drums and the trio played their last Canberra gig before relocating to Sydney in April of the following year.[10] Their debut single, "Burnt so Low", appeared in January 1987, which was co-written by Higgie and Robertson.[9][11]

Falling Joys' debut extended play, Omega, appeared in November 1989.[9] Penelope Layland of The Canberra Times observed, "A tempting four-track EP from [the band]. Recent line up changes do not appear to have had a radical effect on the music, which is still dominated by the vocals and song-writing of Suzie Higgie."[12] According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, the group's recent singles and the EP, "gained the band many new fans. Higgie's breathy vocals on these records were just one of the band's trademark sounds."[9]

One of their singles, "Jennifer", appeared in April 1991 with a five-track EP version also available.[9] The title track is dedicated to Higgie's sister, Jennifer Higgie.[13] A live version also appeared as Jennifer – The Live EP, which reached the top 60 on the ARIA Singles Chart in September.[9] The group issued three studio albums, Wish List (November 1990), Psychohum (May 1992) and Aerial (August 1993), before disbanding in 1995.[9]

Higgie has participated in reformations of the group, including touring in February and June 2011 and early July 2016.[14][15][16] In November 2017 Falling Joys reunited for an Australian tour.[16]

Solo works[edit]

Higgie's first solo album, Soon Will Be Tomorrow, is a collaboration with Conway Savage (from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds).[2][17] She had started work on the "low-key and low-fi album of soft-hued country'n'blues tunes" in 1996, which was released in June 1998 via Anchor & Hope/Shock Records.[9] Higgie provided lead vocals, guitar and bass guitar; while Savage played piano, organ and keyboards as well as singing.[17] It was recorded by Matt Crosbie at Exeter House, Mount Victoria and co-produced by Higgie and Crosbie.[17] McFarlane described how, "To promote this album of sparse folk/pop tunes and quiet love songs, Higgie and Savage undertook a low-key tour."[9]

The singer-songwriter later recalled, "I wanted to do something really, you know, laid back... I had a few songs that I'd already written, and because my partner Matt [Crosbie], he's been Nick Cave's live engineer for over twenty years, so I'd got to know the guys through him, I heard Conway [Savage]'s piano playing and got to know his stuff he did and I thought, 'That's something different, let's get together with Conway, if he's interested.'… And that's pretty much how it came about."[18]

Songs of Habit (October 2001) is Higgie's second album.[2] According to Jon Casimir of The Sydney Morning Herald, "[it] began life as a series of titles in search of songs. Wanting to challenge herself, she decided to try writing a concept album, loosely based around habits (nuns' habits, drug habits, unconscious and involuntary habits)... There are folk, country and soul echoes, even a hint of lounge music. There are electronic and acoustic songs. But mostly, it's just a collection of tender, warm melodies, the kind of record that is perfectly out of step with everything fashionable in pop and all the richer for it."[2] AllMusic's Richie Unterberger opined, "[its] music suggestive of the moods of those between relationships, keeping pretty much to themselves as they drift through the day in relative reclusion, then sitting alone in smoky bars and clubs at night."[19]

Soon Will Be Tomorrow was re-released in April 2012: Higgie and Savage performed the album live in concert.[18]

Private life[edit]

Higgie's domestic partner, Matt Crosbie, was the front-of-house audio engineer for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,[20] and they have two children.[2] They lived in Mount Victoria, then Bowral and moved from there to the United Kingdom in 2000.[2]

Higgie, Crosbie and children returned to Bowral in mid-2009.[21] By November 2017 the couple had divorced and Higgie was living in Canberra working at the National Museum – she "designs music workshops for people with mixed abilities, whether that involves preschool children or aged Alzheimer's disease sufferers."[16]

Her niece, Anna Higgie, is a Bristol-based illustrator and street artist.[22][23]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Soon Will Be Tomorrow (by Suzie Higgie and Conway Savage) (June 1998) – Anchor & Hope/Shock Records (AH004CD)
  • Song of Habit (16 October 2001) Anagram (CDBRED 196)[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Higgie, Mark (15 October 2015). "Bill Higgie: a passionate advocate of refugee migration". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Casimir, Jon (26 October 2002). "Garage Days". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "Family Notices". The Canberra Times. 30 (8,818). 11 April 1956. p. 2. Retrieved 17 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ McCarthy, Tom (23 June 2007). "Publishing? It's an art form". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "Almeida – Through a Glass Darkly". Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  6. ^ "Oliver Parker's I Really Hate My Job in production in London". Industry News. Flagship Media Group. 7 August 2006. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2017. I Really Hate My Job is written by Jennifer Higgie and produced by 3DD Productions' Andrew Higgie and Dominic Saville, Matthew Justice and Alan Greenspan. 
  7. ^ Uhlmann, Mark (10 November 1988). "Good Times: Some Plunder and Pillage". The Canberra Times. p. 33. Retrieved 28 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ Dwyer, Michael (9 March 2013). "Rock Celebration of the Capital's Gains". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Falling Joys'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 21 August 2004. 
  10. ^ Coelli, Andree (10 April 1986). "Good Times: Plunderers finding Melbourne life a struggle". The Canberra Times. 60 (18,453). p. 10. Retrieved 16 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ "'Burnt so Low' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 December 2017.  Note: For additional work user may have to select 'Search again' and then 'Enter a title:' or 'Performer:'
  12. ^ Layland, Penelope (14 December 1989). "Good Times: Music: Collectors Item". The Canberra Times. 64 (19,790). p. 9. Retrieved 16 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  13. ^ Hannan, Bevan (16 May 1991). "Good Times: No over-the-top love for the Joys". The Canberra Times. 65 (20,487). p. 19. Retrieved 29 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ Krbavac, Peter (15 February 2011). "The Falling Joys – Joy to the World". BMA Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  15. ^ Tijs, Andrew (6 May 2011). "Ratcat and Falling Joys Both Reform". Undercover.fm News. Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c Mathieson, Craig (3 November 2017). "The Falling Joys are back in a '90s revival with the Clouds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c Higgie, Suzie; Savage, Conway (1998), Soon Will Be Tomorrow, Anchor & Hope: Shock Records [Distributor], retrieved 17 December 2017 
  18. ^ a b Smith, Michael (24 April 2012). "Tomorrow Is Now". theMusic.com.au. Street Press Australia. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  19. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Songs of Habit – Suzie Higgie". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  20. ^ Schultz, Barbara (1 November 2008). "All Access: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds". Mix. NewBay Media. Retrieved 17 December 2017. 
  21. ^ Curry, David (24 May 2009). "Soho Daze Among Celebrities Inspired Canberra-Bred Scriptwriter". The Canberra Times. p. 8. 
  22. ^ "Anna Higgie – Illustrators". Central Illustration Agency. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  23. ^ "Anna Higgie". Anna Higgie Official Website. Retrieved 16 December 2017.