Missy Higgins, the youngest of three children of a doctor and a childcare centre operator, was born Melissa Morrison Higgins and brought up in Melbourne, Victoria.
She began her professional musical career in mid-2001, while she was still in boarding school at Geelong Grammar School. When she went home to visit her family she would occasionally sing in her brother's band. During this time she worked with the Kool Skools programme and also won the Triple J Unearthed competition while in high school with her song "All For Believing", which she wrote at 16 and later included in her first release.
After attracting the attention of manager John Watson, she released her first EP with his record label Eleven in November 2003. Her second EP Scar was released in August 2004, debuting at #1 on the Australian charts. Her first album, The Sound of White, was released in September 2004. Many of her songs are based around her performance on the piano and guitar.
In 2004, Higgins was nominated in four categories at the ARIA Awards. In 2005, Higgins was nominated for a further seven ARIA Awards, winning "Album of the Year", "Best Female Artist", "Best Pop Release", "Breakthrough Artist - Album Release" and "Highest Selling Album" (all for The Sound of White).
Her single "Ten Days" peaked at number 12 on the ARIA charts. She released her third single, "The Special Two", to both critical and commercial acclaim. It became an instant hit on Australian radio and in the charts debuting and peaking at number 2 on the ARIA charts.
She continued touring in mid-2005 and released her fourth single, "The Sound of White", in August 2005. In late 2005 she teamed up with Ben Lee for a national tour. In 2006, she toured the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa along with her band before basing herself in Los Angeles to record her second album On a Clear Night, that was released on April 28, 2007. "Steer", the first single from the album was released on April 4, 2007.
On July 7, 2007, Higgins participated in the Australian leg of Live Earth performing her own set, as well as joining Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and John Butler on stage for the song "From Little Things Big Things Grow." The song could have been considered "the event's anthem" and Rolling Stone cited it as a highlight, stating that the "whole crowd sung along - all eleven verses."
On October 27th 2007, Missy with the Sydney Youth Orchestra headlined the second annual Legs 11 concert. Legs 11 is a twilight concert in support of breast cancer research, proceeds from the event are donated directly to National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia. Other acts that performed on the night include Paul Kelly, The Waifs, Lior, Expatriate, Blue King Brown, Bob Evans and many more.
In June 2008 Missy got voted #48 in The 2008 AfterEllen.com's Hot 100; a list made by gay and bisexual women.
She currently lives with her sister Nicola in Melbourne. She is a vegetarian, and in 2005 appeared in a marketing campaign for the animal rights group PETA promoting awareness of animal rights.
Higgins' sexuality was the subject of speculation due to the content of her lyrics; she does not use male or female pronouns to describe her partner during her concerts. In an interview with lesbian magazine Cherrie, under the headline "Missy Higgins on life, music and not being straight", when asked if she falls under the 'moniker' of 'not-so-straight' girls, she laughed and said, "Um, yeah, definitely". She then went on to say "I think sexuality is a fluid thing and it's becoming increasingly more acceptable to admit that you're that way", without elaborating on whether she is lesbian, bisexual, or otherwise.
As a result of press coverage, she clarified her statement and said, "I've been in relationships with both men and women so I guess I fall most easily under the category 'bisexual'." That second statement, which appeared on her MySpace page, stated outright that she is "not, never have been, and never will be ashamed" of her sexuality.