Before Sia was singing of swinging from chandeliers or being made of titanium with David Guetta, she was Sia Furler, born December 18, 1975 in Adelaide, South Australia. She began her career as a young child imitating her musical influences, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Sting. After being part of a jazz band named Crisp from 1994-1997, she moved to London in 1997 and performed background and lead vocals for various artists including Jamiroquai before signing with Sony Music’s label imprint Dancing Pool. Prior to this, Sia released her debut album OnlySee independently but it only sold 1200 copies. With Sony Music, Sia released her second album, Healing is Difficult. Displeased with how the album was promoted, Sia fired her manager, and left Sony Music, signing with UMG subsidiary, Go! Beat.
In 2004, Furler released her third album, Colour the Small One. Once again, the album was poorly marketed. She relocated to New York in 2005. She left Zero 7, her Australia Band that began her music career, and in 2008, released her fourth studio album, Some People have Real Problems. It not only charted high in Australia but charted at number 26 in the U.S. which makes it Sia’s first album to chart in the U.S.
Being that her fame was slowly rising like steam in the U.S. she was approached by pop singer Christina Auguliera to help write her sixth studio album. Bionic contains three songs co-written by Furler. In 2011, she wrote the song “Titanium” for Alicia Keys but it was later sent to David Guetta and he kept her demo vocals on the track and it became a worldwide success. Sia was upset about this because she had just retired as a pop artist and was trying to become a songwriter only. Before this, Sia had released her fifth studio album, We are Born. From the David Guetta fiasco, she co-wrote songs for Beyonce, FloRida, and Rihanna from 2011 to 2013.
In October 2013, “Elastic Heart” was used in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In July 2014, Sia released her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear. She released it in order to finish out her record contract but with the worldwide success of the album, she decided to work on a follow-up album and continue writing her own music.
In 2008 until 2011, Sia suffered from suicidal depresssion going so far as writing a suicide note. Following her depression, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease- an autoimmune disease that causes symptoms of an overactive thyroid. Because it was so hush-hush, a lot of people aware of Sia are unaware that she was married to Erik Anders Lang on August 2, 2014.
On January 29, 2016, Sia released her seventh studio album This is Acting. It’s a compilation of songs that were rejected by other pop artists such as Adele and Rihanna. Musically, the album has a electropop sound with soul influences. The album is called This is Acting because most of the songs were written for other artists and Furler said when she wrote it and later recorded it, she felt like she was play acting with it because it wasn’t necessarily something she would say.
Song by Song Review
“Bird Set Free”: With this song, which was originally written for the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack, it was then pitched to Rihanna then recorded by Adele before being cut from the final 25 album. Sia’s vocals soar on this song about not giving up even in the face of death.
“Alive”: With this song, originally written for Adele but rejected at the last minute, it’s a song that motivates as no matter the obstacles, the speaker isn’t going to let it defeat or destroy her. I think Sia sounds better singing it herself than Adele may have sounded.
“One Million Bullets”:The only song on the album that wasn’t written for anyone else, it definitely has Sia’s trademark sound that was primarily showcased on 1000 Forms of Fear.
“Move Your Body”: Despite Sia’s ballad signature, this song doesn’t disappoint with it’s dancy sound and EDM-stylistic elements.
“Unstoppable”: This song almost sounds like Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” and some people believe it was intentionally written for Lovato. It’s one of my favorites off the album because of it’s pop anthem theme.
“Cheap Thrills”: It was also written for Rihanna, and definitely has the sound of a Rihanna song despite being rejected. I like the message and musical stylings of the track: having fun with just a dance floor and some good music, no money needed. It’s another one of my favorites off the album.
This song was co-written with Kanye West for Rihanna but Sia liked it so much she decided to keep it for herself. I like it because it follows the theme of not giving up your life for anything or anyone like “Bird Set Free” and “Alive.”
This song is about needing someone so much you burn with desire for them. This track is another one of my favorites because of its electropop sound and lyrical content.
This song reminds me of the Christian poem Footprints about someone that carries you threw some of the darkest times of your life. In the original poem, this is Jesus but with this song, it could apply to anyone.
This track contains elements of Sisqo’s hit song, “Thong Song,” and Sia even references it throughout the song. I like the overall musicality of this track.
With this track, Sia returns to her ballad style singing in this track about not giving up on a romance that appears to be weathering storm after storm.
With the final track on the album, Sia creates a dark vibe that has a haunted sound. I would have to say this track is a masterpiece in itself about the death of a love between two people, and reminisces “Cellophane” from 1000 Forms of Fear.
This is Acting peaked in the U.S. at number four on the Billboard Hot 200 in it’s debut week. Despite being written for other people, the songs not only sound like Sia signatures but further prove her talent is far from an act.