Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (/ˈsiːə/ SEE-ə; born 18 December 1975) is an Australian singer and songwriter. She started her career as a singer in the acid jazz band Crisp in the mid-1990s in Adelaide. In 1997, when Crisp disbanded, she released her debut studio album, titled OnlySee, in Australia. She moved to London and provided vocals for the British duo Zero 7. Sia released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, in 2001, and her third, Colour the Small One, in 2004.
Sia moved to New York City in 2005 and toured the United States. Her fourth and fifth studio albums, Some People Have Real Problems and We Are Born, were released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Each was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association and attracted wider notice than her earlier albums. Uncomfortable with her growing fame, Sia took a hiatus from performing and focused on songwriting for other artists, producing successful collaborations “Titanium” (with David Guetta), “Diamonds” (with Rihanna) and “Wild Ones” (with Flo Rida).
In 2014, Sia broke through as a solo recording artist when her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear, debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. Billboard 200 and generated the top-ten single “Chandelier” and a trilogy of music videos co-directed by Sia and starring child dancer Maddie Ziegler. Since then, Sia has usually worn a wig that obscures her face to protect her privacy. Her seventh studio album, This Is Acting (2016), spawned her first Billboard Hot 100 number one single, “Cheap Thrills“. The same year, Sia began her Nostalgic for the Present Tour, which incorporated dancing by Ziegler and others, and other performance art elements. Her eighth studio album, Everyday Is Christmas, was released in 2017 and reissued in 2018 with three bonus tracks. In 2018, she collaborated with Labrinth and Diplo in the group LSD, and they released their self-titled debut album in April 2019.
Sia wrote and directed a feature film, titled Music, which was released in early 2021 alongside an album, Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture. Among the accolades received by Sia are nearly a dozen ARIA Awards, 9 Grammy Award nominations and an MTV Video Music Award.
Artistry and musical style
At the start of her career, with the bands Crisp and Jamiroquai, Sia performed acid jazz in Australia and later in London. With her first solo single, “Taken for Granted”, she experimented with trip hop. When she joined Zero 7, she sang downtempo numbers.
With Colour the Small One (2004) and Some People Have Real Problems (2007) she moved into jazz and folktronica, although the album’s biggest hit, “Breathe Me“, is described as alternative rock and a power ballad. Some People Have Real Problems expanded her connection with indie pop. Sia stated, “Colour the Small One … couldn’t be more derivative of Kings of Convenience and James Taylor and the things that Zero 7 were playing on the [tour] bus. I’m very easily influenced.”
In 2009, after leaving Zero 7, Sia dedicated herself entirely to her solo career. We Are Born (2010), incorporated various pop styles, including synthpop and R&B, with introspective themes accompanied by more insistent and livelier rhythms. 1000 Forms of Fear (2014) consolidated her connection with pop (with traces of electropop, reggae and hip-hop), while This Is Acting (2016) is mostly composed of songs written by Sia with other female pop artists in mind, but the artists did not include the songs on their albums. Sia described songwriting for others as “play-acting.” The Guardian‘s Kitty Empire commented that the latter album “provides an obvious counterpoint to Sia’s more personal album of 2014, 1000 Forms of Fear, whose stonking single, “Chandelier”, tackled her intoxicated past. This Is Acting makes plain the fact of manufacture – a process akin to bespoke tailoring.” The record also alternates reggae and electropop with more introspective themes.
In her 2016 live performances, Sia’s music was part of performance-art-like shows that involved dance and theatrical effects. An MTV News writer opined that “Sia’s throaty, slurred vocals are her norm”, while a contributor to The Fader noted that “in the Billboard Hot 100 landscape, Sia’s songwriting voice, which deals with depression and addiction, is singular—her actual voice even more so.” Everyday Is Christmas (2017), Sia’s first release of Christmas music, is a pop album that gives old-fashioned holiday music “some 21st century pop gloss” and is made for those who grow tired of the classics. Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture (2021) further developed Sia’s pop music catalogue, with the album incorporating more electropop and reggae, alongside R&B and EDM. National Public Radio called Sia “the 21st century’s most resilient songwriter”.
- OnlySee (1997)
- Healing Is Difficult (2001)
- Colour the Small One (2004)
- Some People Have Real Problems (2008)
- We Are Born (2010)
- 1000 Forms of Fear (2014)
- This Is Acting (2016)
- Everyday Is Christmas (2017)
- Music (2021)
Further information: Sia discography § Songwriting and other appearances
Sia wrote and/or performed songs on the following film soundtracks:
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
- Burlesque (2010)
- The Great Gatsby (2013)
- The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
- Annie (2014)
- Transparent (2015)
- Racing Extinction (2015)
- Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
- Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
- San Andreas (2015)
- Beat Bugs (2016)
- The Eagle Huntress (2016)
- Zootopia (2016)
- Finding Dory (2016)
- The Neon Demon (2016)
- Star Trek Beyond (2016)
- Lion (2016)
- Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)
- Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
- A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
- Charming (2018)
- Dumplin’ (2018)
- Vox Lux (2018)
- Seven Worlds, One Planet (2019)
- Dolittle (2020)
- Music (2021)
List of awards and nominations received by Sia
Sia is an Australian singer, songwriter, voice actress, music video director and record producer. She has released nine studio albums: OnlySee (1997), Healing Is Difficult (2002), Colour the Small One (2004), Some People Have Real Problems (2008), We Are Born (2010), 1000 Forms of Fear (2014), This Is Acting (2016), Everyday Is Christmas (2017) and Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture (2021). She released the live album Lady Croissant in 2007, and her greatest hits album Best Of… was released in Australia in 2012.
In 2002, Sia received the Breakthrough Songwriter Award from the APRA Music Awards, presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association. Since then, Sia has been nominated for three People’s Choice Awards, two Brit Award, four World Music Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. She has won three NRJ Awards, one MTV Video Music Award, ten ARIA Music Awards, and ten APRA Music Awards.
Sia has received a total of nine Grammy Award nominations. “Chandelier” was nominated for Record and Song of the Year at the 2015 ceremony.