A Hard Day’s ‘Night’

Published in Billboard Magazine

 

Missy Higgins’ American odyssey reads like a case study in building a campaign from the ground up.

The Australian singer/songwriter’s sophomore album, “On a Clear Night” (Eleven/Reprise/Warner Bros.), finally cracked the Billboard 200 at No. 193 in the March 28 issue—more than a year after its Feb. 26, 2008, U.S. release.

But with two recent Greatest Gainer honors on the Top Heatseekers chart and a second single about to be released, her team believes the story is only just beginning.

“I’ve done more loops of the U.S. over the last few years than I can count,” Higgins says. “I started off doing small support tours, then bigger support tours, then my own tiny shows that got bigger and bigger every time I revisited a city.”

“Night” has sold 100,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, boosted by 18 months’ worth of stateside touring—including support slots with Ben Folds and Indigo Girls—and several high-profile synchs for Higgins’ emotive ballad “Where I Stood.” The lead single has been featured in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill,” “Brothers and Sisters” and “So You Think You Can Dance”; it has sold 270,000 downloads, according to SoundScan.

Licensed to Reprise in the United States, Higgins is a big star back home. Managed by the Sydney-based John Watson and signed worldwide to his label Eleven: A Music Company, Higgins watched “Night” and her debut, “The Sound of White,” hit No. 1 on the Australian Recording Industry Assn. albums chart. Now her team hopes the upbeat new single “Steer,” an Australian No. 1 hit, will guide her to greater U.S. success.

“We’ve been talking about this record for almost two years,” says Mike Rittberg, senior VP of promotion at Reprise. “It’s been really gratifying to see the results, but we still feel we can go further.”

“Steer” impacts triple A radio next week and also will be worked to AC and adult top 40 stations. Higgins—who wrapped her last U.S. tour March 23 at San Francisco’s Fillmore—is due back in May for further dates booked by Creative Artists Agency.

“People say these types of stories don’t happen anymore,” Watson says. “Missy has proven they still can.”


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