Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (born 18 December, 1975), referred to mononymously as Sia, is an Australian singer-songwriter.
Sia started her career as a singer in the local Adelaide band, Crisp. Following its disbandment in 1997, she released her debut studio album, OnlySee, on Flavoured Records in Australia. Following its release and subsequent failure due to lack of promotion, she moved to London and provided the lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7.
In 2001, she released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, on Sony Music's sub-label, Dance Pool. In 2004, she signed to Go! Beat and released her third studio album, Colour the Small One. In 2005, she relocated to New York City and began touring around United States. In 2008, she released her fourth studio album, Some People Have Real Problems, on Hear Music and Monkey Puzzle. In 2010, she released her fifth studio album, We Are Born, on Inertia, RCA and Monkey Puzzle. In 2014, Sia released her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, on Inertia, RCA and Monkey Puzzle. She garnered critical acclaim for the top-ten lead single "Chandelier". Her seventh album, This Is Acting, was released in early 2016.
Sia's vocal style includes hip hop, funk, and soul as a base. Her music has received several accolades, including ARIA Awards and MTV Music Awards.
Life and career Edit
1975-97: Early life, career beginnings and OnlySee Edit
Sia was born on December 18, 1975 in Adelaide, South Australia, to musician Phil Colson and art lecturer Loene Furler. She is the niece of actor-singer Kevin Colson. She considers Men at Work's lead vocalist and a family friend, Colin Hay, as her "fake uncle." Her early influences include Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting, all of whose vocal styles she imitated as a child. At 11, she visited Colin Hay in the US, where she met Stevie Wonder at a restaurant.
Sia admits to have smoked cannabis as a child, indicating it to be the cause of her bipolar disorder. At 15, she went to Italy as an exchange student. At 17, she went back on a trip Italy, before going back to Adelaide High School to finish her degree in Italian, Politics and Drama. At a karaoke bar in an Italian "discoteca," she performed "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers. In the karaoke bar, she met a DJ who asked her to write a song with her for 50, which she agreed to. On returning back to her university in Adelaide, she lost her interest for having spent a year out of school and soon quit on her mother's approval. In the mid '90s, Sia met with "Muskrat," someone she used to go out with at 15, who at the time was getting a band together. She asked if the band needed a singer and lied she was one when asked. She started her career as a singer in the local acid jazz band, Crisp, contributing to two of their albums, Word and the Deal (1996) and Delerium (1997). In 1997, when Crisp disbanded, she went to Tokyo and worked as a hostess for some time, and made OnlySee in the interim. She describes the album as "the worst trip-hop shit you'll ever hear."
1997-2006: Zero 7, Healing Is Difficult and Colour the Small One Edit
During her three year stay with Crisp, Sia and the band toured the world, including England, where Sia met her first romantic interest, Dan Pontifex. Following the band's disbandment, Sia decided to move to London to follow her relationship with Dan. Several weeks later, while on a stopover in Thailand, she received a call from her mother about the death of Dan, who was hit by a taxi in Kensington High Street, London. She attended his funeral in Adelaide and was invited by Dan's friends in London to stay with them. In London, Sia performed as a background vocalist for British band Jamiroquai. She went to a club with one of her cousin's friends and sang a song there, which bought her a manager.
In 2000, Sia managed to land a recording deal with Sony Music's sub-label Dance Pool and released her debut single, "Taken for Granted," which peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. The album, Healing Is Difficult, was released six months later in 2001, which lyrically discusses her dealing with the death of Dan. The album spawned two other singles, "Drink to Get Drunk" and "Little Man." "Little Man" peaked at number 82 in the UK, while "Drink to Get Drunk" failed to chart. Due to lack of promotion and the time gap between the release of the first single and the album, the album was considered by Sia herself as a "flop." Her manager, who played football with Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns of Zero 7, managed to get two tracks for her to write, and eventually provide vocals, for the duo's debut album, Simple Things: "Destiny" and "Distractions". She then "left and forgot all about it," thinking her career was over, but after a year later, Simple Things was released and became successful, resuscitating her career. She also provided vocals for two tracks of the duo's second second studio album, When It Falls: "Somersault" and "Speed Dial No. 2." She also worked on their third album, The Garden, and is hence regarded as the "unofficial" lead singer of the duo.
In 2004, Sia signed to Go! Beat, which "bought her from Long Lost Brother Records," and released her third studio album, Colour the Small One. The album spawned four singles: "Don't Bring Me Down," "Breathe Me," "Where I Belong," and "Numb." "Breathe Me" was commercially the most successful single off the album, peaking at number 71, 19 and 81 in the UK, Denmark and France, respectively. "Where I Belong," originally scheduled to be included on the soundtrack of Spider-Man 2, was withdrawn at the last minute, owing to a record label conflict. Dissatisfied with the album's poor marketing and struggling to connect with a mainstream audience, Sia relocated to New York City in 2005. During this time, "Breathe Me" appeared in the series finale of US HBO television series Six Feet Under, which helped increase Sia's fame in the US. Consequently, her manager set up a tour across the country to maintain her career. Sia has stated several times that the episode "resuscitated her career" ,which would have otherwise ended as she herself was ready to settle down in the New York City and shift to dog rescuing.
2007-09: Some People Have Real Problems Edit
Following the success of "Breathe Me" in the US, Sia toured the US and released her first live album, Lady Croissant. A year later, she left Zero 7 on friendly terms, replaced by Eska Mtungwazi as the band's vocalist. On January 8th, 2008, she released her fourth studio album, Some People Have Real Problems. The album peaked at number 41 and 26 in Australia and US. The album was certified gold in Australia by the ARIA.
Some People Have Real Problems spawned four singles: "Day Too Soon," "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine," "Soon We'll Be Found" and "Buttons." "Day Too Soon" was released on November 7th, 2007, and peaked at number 27 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs. "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine," released on March 27th, 2008, peaked at number 8, 11 and 12 in the US, Netherlands and Spain, respectively. In May 2009, Sia released her first video album, TV Is My Parent, which includes a live concert at New York's Hiro Ballroom, four music videos and behind-the-scenes footage. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, the album won the Best Music DVD category and Sia received a nomination for Best Breakthrough Artist Album for Some People Have Real Problems.
2009-13: Songwriting career, We Are Born, touring and worldwide recognition Edit
In 2009, Christina Aguilera approached Sia about writing songs for her then-upcoming sixth studio album. Sia worked with frequent collaborator Samuel Dixon on the album, named Bionic, and co-wrote three songs for it. In 2010, she co-wrote "Bound to You" for the soundtrack of the musical Burlesque, which starred Aguilera and Cher. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 68th Golden Globe Awards.
In June 2010, Sia released her fifth studio album, We Are Born, which peaked at number 2 and 37 in Australia and US, respectively. The album's release was preceded by the release of its lead single, "You've Changed," in December 2009. The song peaked at number 31 and 95 in Australia and the Netherlands, respectively. The album's second and most commercially successful single, "Clap Your Hands," was released in June 2010 and peaked at number 17, 10, 12 and 27 in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, respectively. "Bring Night" was released as the album's final single in September 2010 and peaked at number 99 in Australia.
2013–14: Breakthrough with 1000 Forms of Fear Edit
In October 2013, Sia released "Elastic Heart" featuring The Weeknd and Diplo for the soundtrack of the American film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). In July 2014, Sia released her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear. The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 52,000 copies. As of December 2015, the release had sold 374,000 copies in the United States. The record peaked at number one in Australia and reached the top ten of charts in numerous European regions. It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry and gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association.
1000 Forms of Fear's lead single, "Chandelier" was released in March 2014. The song peaked at number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sia's first entry as the lead artist on the chart. Elsewhere, the song experienced similar commercial success, charting within the top ten of the record charts in Australia and numerous European regions. As of January 2015, the single has sold 2 million copies in the United States. "Eye of the Needle" and "Big Girls Cry" were released as the second and third singles from the album, respectively, in June 2014. In January 2015, Sia released a solo version of "Elastic Heart" as the fourth single from 1000 Forms of Fear; it eventually reached the top 20 on the Hot 100. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards (2015), Sia received four nominations for "Chandelier": Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video.
For live performances of songs from 1000 Forms of Fear, Sia chose not to show her face, either facing away from audiences or hiding it behind over-sized platinum blonde wigs. In videos for the singles "Chandelier", "Elastic Heart", and "Big Girls Cry", Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler danced in similar wigs. The three videos have received a total of more than 1.7 billion views on Vevo. Sia explained to Kristen Wiig in an interview in Interview magazine that a need for privacy and desire for a non-celebrity lifestyle motivated her to conceal her face: "I'm trying to have some control over my image. And I'm allowed to maintain some modicum of privacy. But also I would like not to be picked apart or for people to observe when I put on ten pounds or take off ten pounds or I have a hair extension out of place or my fake tan is botched. Most people don't have to be under that pressure, and I'd like to be one of them."
In 2014, Sia contributed to the soundtrack to the 2014 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie. Sia, along with producer Greg Kurstin wrote three new songs for the film as well as re-worked songs originally from the musical. Sia, Kurstin, and Annie director Will Gluck were nominated at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song for one of the film's original songs, "Opportunity".
2015–present: This Is Acting and We Are Your Children Edit
In an interview with NME from February 2015, Sia revealed that she had completed the follow up to 1000 Forms of Fear, entitled This Is Acting. Furler said that 1000 Forms of Fear was released so she could be freed from her record deal and simply write for other artists, but the album's success has spurred her to continue writing her own music. On 12 May 2015, Sia's cover of The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" was released on the soundtrack of the movie San Andreas. The same month, alongside the digital deluxe release of 1000 Forms of Fear, she released a mobile game, Bob Job.
Sia collaborated with composer J. Ralph on the soundtrack of the environmental documentary Racing Extinction, adding vocals to the song "One Candle".
At the 72nd Venice International Film Festival in early September 2015, Sia announced that her new single "Alive" from This Is Acting was co-written by Adele and had originally been intended for Adele's third album. On 3 November 2015, Sia released another song from the album, "Bird Set Free", on Vevo. She released "One Million Bullets" on 27 November 2015. "Cheap Thrills" and "Reaper" were subsequently released as promotional singles for the album. On 21 January 2016, eight days prior to the release of This Is Acting, "Unstoppable" was released on Vevo and other platforms. It is the album's fifth track and served as the final pre-release promotion single for the album. Eventually, the single "Cheap Thrills", featuring Sean Paul, reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
On 17 April 2016, Sia gave a widely-acclaimed performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that went viral online. Her performance was labeled "incredible," "already legendary," "one of the greatest moments in Coachella’s 17-year history," and was consistently ranked on lists of the best performances from the 2016 festival. The performance was her first full concert since 2011.
On 18 May 2016, Sia made a surprise appearance during the finale for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng where she personally gave $50,000 to fan favorite contestant Tai Trang. She donated another $50,000 to an animal charity of his choice, citing that the two share a mutual love of animals.
Sia contributed vocals to a cover of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" which was featured on the soundtrack of 2016 Pixar film Finding Dory.
On 6 September 2016, Sia released "The Greatest" with vocals from American hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar. A video was released the same day featuring dancer Maddie Ziegler. She performed the song live the next day during the Apple annual fall event. The song will serve as the lead single for Sia's upcoming eighth studio album We Are Your Children, which is slated for release before the end of 2016.