Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (born December 18, 1975) is an Australian singer-songwriter, professionally known as just Sia. Her voice is soulful and has her trademark Australian drawl. As a person, Sia captures an innocence rarely seen among contemporary musicians. She incorporates elements of hip hop, funk, and soul into her vocal style.
She got her start in the mid-1990s singing in an acid jazz band called Crisp, up until they disbanded in 1997. By then, she was branching out into a solo career (having already released an album), singing onto Dance Pool and then Go! Beat and releasing an album with each, as well as being a featured vocalist on several Zero 7 songs, including their hit "Destiny." Eventually, she moved to New York to tour in the States, releasing a fourth album. Sia became more well-known after We Are Born, and her following album, 1000 Forms of Fear and its leading single "Chandelier" pushed her to mainstream success. She further became more famous after collaborations with other high-profile musicians.
From the beginning Sia was always uncomfortable with public attention, and would often distort her image on press shots and at live shows. After her newfound success with 1000 Forms of Fear, she decided to stop showing her face in public shows, and does every live performance either with her back to the audience or covering her face with a now iconic bob-styled wig. She does this as an effort to protect her privacy and after feeling destabilized from fame. Oh, and also because of an admitted extra sense of mysteriousness. In 2018, Sia formed the supergroup LSD with Diplo and Labrinth, and their debut album released in 2019.
In 2015, Sia announced that she would be directing a movie, titled Music. The movie stars Kate Hudson as Zu, a drug dealer fresh out of rehab, who is tasked with taking care of her non-verbal autistic half-sister Music, played by Sia's protégé Maddie Ziegler. Music came out in the early months of 2021 and despite controversy (mainly regarding its portrayal of autism) and overall poor reviews, the movie managed to get nominated for two major Golden Globes: the first was for Best Picture - Musical or Comedy, and the other was a Best Actress Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Kate Hudson.
She is the cousin of Peter Furler, former front man of Australian Christian Rock band Newsboys.
- OnlySee (1997)
- Healing is Difficult (2001)
- Colour the Small One (2004)
- Some People Have Real Problems (2008)
- We Are Born (2010)
- Best Of... (2012)
- 1000 Forms of Fear (2014)
- This is Acting (2016)
- Everyday Is Christmas (2017)
- Music - Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture (2021)
- Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present... LSD (2019)
This is troping about Sia:
- A Cappella: "Mad Love" and "Tripoutro" on OnlySee.
- Adam Westing: Her appearance on The Late Late Show 's "Carpool Karaoke" is introduced by James Corden driving by, to see Sia (in her full wig) stumbling aimlessly around a sidewalk and requiring almost a minute of help getting into the car.
- An ad for Google Assistant, an app that allows the user to record vocal messages hands-free, has Sia coming up with a song hook in her makeup chair and looks to make a note of it. However, her wig is already on and so finding a way to mark it down goes awry.
- Album Title Drop: "The Fight" drops 'we are born'.
- Alter-Ego Acting: Her album This is Acting is made up entirely out of rejected songs originally written for other singers, making it sort of a Concept Album.
- The Alcoholic: The protagonist of "Chandelier." Sia herself has suffered addictions to painkillers and alcohol in the past.
- Badass Boast: The chorus of "Unstoppable," as the title would suggest. The verses, however, reveal that the narrator is a Stepford Smiler too scared to let her feelings show.I'm unstoppable
I'm a Porsche with no brakes
Yeah, I win every single game
I'm so powerful
I don't need batteries to play
- Blinding Bangs: Her established look, a black-and-white bob wig that covers everything but her mouth (see image).
- Break-Up Song: "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" (falls into the 'relationship breakup' category).
- "Little Black Sandals" is more complicated version of a romantic breakup.
- "Footprints" is a Bait-and-Switch example as it begins as one and it's only halfway through the song that it's revealed that the couple is still together.
- "Big Girls Cry" and "Elastic Heart" allude to this as well.
- Chandelier Swing: "I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier..."
- Cheap Heat: Often for "Cheap Thrills": "C'mon, c'mon, turn (insert local station here) on."
- Christmas Songs: Everyday Is Christmas, featuring 12 original songs.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: As evidenced by her Twitter account. Her bio is "i am sia, i was born from the bumhole of a unicorn named steve." Also, Sia named one of her dogs "Turtle" because it's "so turtley."
- She has also expressed a religious belief in a higher power known as "Whatever Dude", who is a "a queer, surfing Santa" that resembles her grandpa. In case you think she's just trolling, she has a tattoo of this.
- She once began an interview with Rolling Stone magazine by apologizing for taking so long to pick up the phone because she was busy "taking a wee".
- Conveyor Belt Video: "You've Changed".
- Cover Version: She's done one of The Church classic "Under the Milky Way."
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her history of mental health problems (bipolar disorder, panic attacks, and various addictions) provides a lot of inspiration for her lyrics.
- Darker and Edgier: 1000 Forms of Fear tears down the funny, quirky image from the previous We Are Born and weave anew the violent and dark lyrics with heavy instruments.
- Deconstruction: "Chandelier" is one to the typical pop party song. The singer is staying up all night, partying and drinking... and their alcoholism and general lifestyle have serious consequences, and possibly are the result of depression and suicidality.
- Determinator: "Never Give Up" from the 2016 movie Lion — which is based on the story of Real Life Determinator Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his family in India as a child, was adopted by an Australian family, and set out to find, and was reunited with, his birth family 25 years later.
- Also in "Titanium". And "Elastic Heart", and probably more. Even "Rainbow" has shades of this. She likes this trope a lot, which is perhaps unsurprising given all of the things she's been through in her life.
- Does Not Like Shoes: In "Move Your Body", the young version of Sia abandons her shoes as she crawls through a wardrobe (probably because they won't fit) and spends the rest of the video parading around in socked feet, which end up quite sullied on the studio floor. No one cares that she's up and lost her shoes.
- Dream Team:
- Sia and Zero 7. Sia and Beck. Sia and David Guetta.
- Sia and almost every pop star in the entire planet, to be quite honest. Rihanna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, and Kylie Minogue all have interpreted songs written by her.
- The film Vox Lux features Natalie Portman singing to songs written by her.
- Face on the Cover: "Healing is Difficult," "Colour the Small One," and "Some People Have Real Problems," which caused older fans some puzzlement when she decided to become The Faceless in public in 2014.
- Her face is the one on the original cover of "This Is Acting", albeit distorted.
- The Faceless: Became this in 2014, with the explanation of a disillusionment with her fame; she often wears large wigs or accessories that cover her eyes, and has done live performances with her back facing the audience. Or she will have Maddie Ziegler portray a young version of herself.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: She was this in the past and references it in her lyrics. See Deconstruction.
- Hidden Track: In some edition of Some People Have Real Problems, "Buttons" comes into play after a long pause at the end of "Lullaby".
- Iconic Outfit: Her platinum blonde (+/- black) wig with either a big floppy hat (usually black, though sometimes other colours) or a gigantic hairbow (see page image). Or sometimes even both. Even better, her real hairstyle prior to donning the wig was a blonde bob cut with bangs. The cover of 1000 Forms of Fear is just a blonde wig to represent her. The half-black wig is also on the cover of This is Acting.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Songbird Serenade, her character in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), looks exactly like her turned into a pony, and is also a famous singer in-universe.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Has formed a close-knit bond with the star of her Chandelier trilogy of music videos and frequent collaborator, Dance Moms' Maddie Ziegler.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- At first, "Cloud" seems to be a happy, uplifting song. However, the lyrics are about a pessimistic jerk who enjoys messing things up for people because their own life is depressing.
- One could say this about a great amount of her body of work; it shines the most on We Are Born and 1000 Forms of Fear.
- "Chandelier" is an up-tempo electropop/R&B song about alcoholism.
- "Dressed in Black" conceals its happy and hopeful lyrics with dark, intimidating instrumental.
- A more downplayed example, but the lyrics of "Free the Animal" are extremely violent if you read them closely, even for a relatively dark song.
- Lighter and Softer: Fans of Sia expected as much from her when she was announced to be recording a song, "Rainbow", for My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). What caught many off guard is that the song, while definitely one of her more uplifting tracks, is still fairly moody for one that was for what was assumed to be a strictly light-hearted kid's film, including themes of trauma, sorrow, and redemption.I can see a rainbow in your tears as they fall on downI can see your soul grow through your pain as they hit the groundI can see a rainbow in your tears as the sun comes outAs the sun comes out
- Longest Song Goes Last: "Insidiously" on Healing is Difficult and "Dressed in Black" on 1000 Forms of Fear.
- Lyric Video:
- "Cheap Thrills" featuring Sean Paul features a '50s retraux-style dance show reminiscent of shows like American Bandstand.
- "Move Your Body" features a little girl who ventures around a 1980s-style photo studio.
- "Santa's Coming for Us" features Kristen Bell as she, her family and her guests prepare a household Holiday feast as they anticipate for Santa Claus.
- Melismatic Vocals: Distinctly on "Chandelier."
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Her earlier albums had bright and colourful artwork, but "1000 Forms of Fear" and "This is Acting" had simpler artwork with a black background.
- Multilingual Song: In her collaboration with Ozuna and Doja Cat, "Del Mar", Sia sings on both the Spanish chorus and a verse in English.
- New Sound Album: Sia started out as downtempo/trip-hop. Her next two albums downplayed the electronic influences, and were more acoustic and mellow. We Are Born and 1000 Forms of Fear are both essentially pop, the former more twee-sounding and the latter more mainstream-sounding.
- Nice Hat: See under Iconic Outfit. Or better yet, google "sia + hat".
- Non-Appearing Title: "Lentil".
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Hostage" could .... easily be interpreted this way.
- Older Than They Look: She hides her face in live appearances, has a rather dainty figure and mannerisms, and only broke into the mainstream in the 2010s. The fact that she's middle-aged (and has had a career for quite some time) comes as quite a shock to many newcomers.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Death by Chocolate", "Salted Wound" and "Angel by the Wings".
- Performance Anxiety: She is unable to face a large audience due to social anxiety (she's fine with smaller audiences).
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The music video for "The Greatest" pays tribute to the Orlando nightclub shooting victims, though the song was written beforehand.
- Retraux: The video for "Cheap Thrills" featuring Sean Paul featuring two dancers wearing her signature two-toned wig among the dancers donning '50s Hair in a 50s-style dance show.
- Self-Deprecation: "This is what you can expect from me at any given show."
- Self Empowerment Anthem: "Bird Set Free", "Alive", "The Greatest" and "Never Give Up".
- Self-Harm: "Breathe Me" is about someone who self-harms and is asking for help.
- Series Fauxnale: Sia revealed that she only made 1000 Forms Of Fear to get out of her label contract as a singer. Thus meaning that if it had done poorly, it would have been her final album. However, since it was positively received, she decided to make This Is Acting.
- Shout-Out: "Sweet Design" includes the lyrics: "Thong Song, I'ma bring the part 2"
- Stepford Smiler:
- "Chandelier" is about a depressed Hard-Drinking Party Girl who turns to a night of drunken debauchery to try and push down a gnawing sense of fear and distress.Help me, I'm holding on for dear life
Won't look down, won't open my eyes
Keep my glass full 'til morning light
'Cause I'm just holding out for tonight
- "Unstoppable" is about how cool she is... so she can't show any weakness:Leave my sunglasses on while I shed a tear
It's never the right time, yeah, yeah
I put my armor on, show you how strong how I am
- Even more apparent in the Perfect Isn't Pretty Mix of "Unstoppable", which has slightly different lyrics:I'm unstoppable, until you look the other way
- Even more apparent in the Perfect Isn't Pretty Mix of "Unstoppable", which has slightly different lyrics:
- "Chandelier" is about a depressed Hard-Drinking Party Girl who turns to a night of drunken debauchery to try and push down a gnawing sense of fear and distress.
- Surprise Incest: "Butterflies" plays this on the listeners. It sounds like just a regular song about lingering awkwardness in a relationship, until the very last line right at the end of the song, when she casually remarks "Because we came from the same cocoon".
- Take That, Critics!: "Titanium" can be interpreted as this.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Due to her discomfort with her growing fame and the effects that touring took on her mental health, Sia planned to retire from performing in 2011 and focus on songwriting alone. However, due to having to release one more album under her publishing deal, as well as the success of collaborations such as "Titanium", Sia found mainstream success and in 2016 she decided she was stable enough to tour again.
- Textless Album Cover: Everyday Is Christmas.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Even Sia herself has poked fun at this. She's Australian, but on quite a few of her recent songs, she borders on The Unintelligible, and seems to cross between several accents (Australian, British, vaguely Caribbean, and American), as well as a bit of slurring and mumbling.
- Unkempt Beauty: When she shows her face, she almost always appears this way, with no makeup and Messy Hair.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Buttons."
- You Are Not Alone: "Rainbow" gives off this feeling, with the singer encouraging someone who has been through hard times to get better.I am here and I see your painThrough the storm, through the clouds, the rainI'm telling you you cannot escapeYou can do it, just feel, baby