Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (/ˈsiːə/ SEE-ə; born 18 December 1975) is an Australian singer, songwriter and music video director. 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, England, and provided lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7. In 2000, Sia released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, on the Columbia label the following year, and her third studio album, Colour the Small One, in 2004, but all of these struggled to connect with a mainstream audience.
Sia relocated to New York City in 2005 and toured in 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, during which she 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 finally 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 starring child dancer Maddie Ziegler. In 2016, she released her seventh studio album This Is Acting, which spawned her first Billboard Hot 100 number one single, “Cheap Thrills”. The same year, Sia gave her Nostalgic for the Present Tour, which incorporated dancing by Ziegler and others and other performance art elements. Sia wears a wig that obscures her face to protect her privacy. Among the accolades received by Sia are ARIA Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. Her eighth studio album, first Christmas album, and debut album with Atlantic Records was released in 2017. It was titled Everyday Is Christmas and was preceded by the single “Santa’s Coming for Us”. The album was reissued in 2018 with three bonus tracks.
Life and career
2015–2017: This Is Acting
In an interview with NME in February 2015, Sia revealed that she had completed the follow-up to 1000 Forms of Fear, entitled This Is Acting. The album was another collaboration with producer and co-writer Greg Kurstin. Furler said that she released 1000 Forms of Fear to free herself from her record deal and had planned simply to write for other artists, but the album’s success spurred her to continue writing her own music. In 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. “Alive” from This Is Acting was co-written by Adele and had originally been intended for Adele’s third album.
In November, Sia collaborated with composer J. Ralph on the soundtrack of the environmental documentary Racing Extinction, co-writing and singing the song “One Candle”. She also released two more songs from the album, “Bird Set Free” and “One Million Bullets”. “Cheap Thrills” and “Reaper” were subsequently released as promotional singles for the album. In January 2016, eight days prior to the release of This Is Acting, she released “Unstoppable” 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. Sia released two videos for the song, one of which features Ziegler and two male dancers, while the other, featuring Sean Paul, shows a 1950s style teen dance party; it has accumulated more than one billion views.
In April 2016, Sia gave a widely acclaimed performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that went viral online. Her performance received an effusively positive critical reception as “one of the greatest moments in Coachella’s 17-year history”, and it was consistently noted as one of the best performances of the 2016 festival. The performance was her first full concert since 2011. In May 2016, Sia made a surprise appearance on the finale for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng where she donated $50,000 to contestant Tai Trang. She donated another $50,000 to an animal charity of his choice, noting that the two share a mutual love of animals. The same month, she contributed vocals to a cover of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” which was featured on the soundtrack of 2016 Pixar film Finding Dory.
In June 2016, Sia gave a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, featuring Ziegler. From May to August, Sia performed in nearly a dozen festival and other concerts in America and European and Middle Eastern countries, including Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Poland, the United Kingdom, Russia, Lebanon and Israel. In September 2016, she released a single, “The Greatest”, with vocals from American hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar. A video was released the same day featuring Ziegler – the dancer’s fifth video collaboration with Sia and Heffington. The two performed the song with several other dancers, and also performed “Chandelier”, live the next day at the Apple annual fall event, drawing media attention. The videos that Sia has posted to her YouTube channel have accumulated a total of more than 6 billion views, and the channel has more than 10 million subscribers.
Sia gave her Nostalgic for the Present Tour in North America from September to November 2016, featuring Ziegler. As at Coachella and subsequent live performances, Sia appeared at the back of the stage with her familiar wig covering her face, while her dancers performed Heffington’s choreography synchronized with prerecorded videos played on big screens. The tour received a warm reaction: “She let her dancers own center stage, carrying out one skit/performance after another as Sia delivered the soundtrack. … It defied all the regular rules of pop concerts, which are usually designed to focus every ounce of the audience’s attention on the star of the show. Yet, Sia’s bold gamble paid off, resulting in one of the most daringly original and wholly satisfying shows of 2016.” Ed Masley of The Arizona Republic described the show as “part performance art, part interpretive dance. … [Sia] sounded amazing. … There’s so much raw emotion in her songs. And you can definitely hear that in her voice, but it becomes more visceral when you can also read it in the faces of her dancers, especially Ziegler. … The entire performance was brilliantly staged, with one song flowing seamlessly into another”. Sia released the deluxe edition of This Is Acting in October 2016, which includes three new tracks, a remix version of “Move Your Body” and a solo version of “The Greatest”. She was nominated for three 2017 Grammy Awards. Sia contributed to the soundtracks for the films Lion and Wonder Woman with “Never Give Up” and “To Be Human”, respectively. She also co-wrote and performed on a platinum-selling single, “Dusk Till Dawn” by Zayn Malik.
Sia performed in concert at the close of the Dubai World Cup in March 2017, together with her dancers, led by Ziegler. They gave a second leg of the Nostalgic for the Present Tour, her first stadium tour in Australasia, in late 2017.
2017–present: Everyday Is Christmas and LSD
In 2017, Sia moved from RCA to Atlantic Records. She released a new album, Everyday Is Christmas, on Atlantic and Monkey Puzzle in November 2017. The album features original songs co-written and co-produced with Kurstin. She promoted it by releasing the single “Santa’s Coming for Us” and by the track “Snowman”, which she performed during the finale of the 13th season of The Voice and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show together with Maddie Ziegler. In November 2018, Sia released the deluxe edition of the album, containing three bonus tracks, as a Target exclusive.
In 2018, Sia collaborated with English musician Labrinth and American DJ/record producer Diplo, under the name LSD, to release four songs. In November 2018, these tracks were collectively released as an EP called Mountains on Spotify. The group’s debut album, Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present… LSD, was released in April 2019, containing the same four songs, “No New Friends” (released 14 March 2019), four new songs, and a previously released remix of their track “Genius” with Lil Wayne.