Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pride Month: Sia Song Facts

BREATHE ME by SIA

In the video The making of Colour the Small One, Sia says: "'Breathe Me' is about feeling worried, generally anxious. Being overwhelmed by your own inner dialogue and having some sort of conniption fit and potentially doing yourself some harm, then asking for help."

This was used on the last episode of the TV show Six Feet Under during the montage where it reveals what happened in the characters' lives and their deaths.

Sia told ilikemusic.com about recording this track: "It always felt like a good song that one. Sam and Felix had put the drums and bass down, they played it all live together one night after they'd been to dinner, and I was really sick with flu and I walked in the next day and the track was there without me singing on it and it was just so sleek. I don't really listen to my own music. I don't think most people listen to their own music after they've recorded it. Some of my musician friends get really anal and listen to it all the time, analyzing it. But once I've done it, I listen to it once and put it to bed, but with that one I was like, 'yeah! Again! Again!'"

THE GREATEST by SIA (featuring KENDRICK LAMAR )

A single from the deluxe edition of This Is Acting, this is a powerful anthem about refusing to give up. The theme of perseverance and resilience is one that Sia has visited several times previously, including on her This Is Acting track "Unstoppable" and the David Guetta single "Bang My Head."

Sia wrote the song with Greg Kurstin. The American producer's other collaborations with the Australian singer-songwriter include her first US #1 hit "Cheap Thrills."

The song features a Kendrick Lamar guest verse in which the Compton rapper testifies to the wisdom he has gained through his struggles and peoples' criticism of him.

The Stacy Moscatelli-directed music video features Sia's dancing avatar Maddie Ziegler. It omits the Lamar verse and - true to form - the shy songstress herself.

For the single's promotion, Sia shared a picture of herself and Ziegler with rainbow makeup on their faces indicating a pro-LGBT message. The nightclub setting at the end of the video with bullet holes in the back wall, appears to confirm it is a message of encouragement to the gay community in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, which claimed 49 lives. There are 49 dancers in the clip, including Ziegler, who wears a black wig in place of white.

CHEAP THRILLS by SIA (featuring SEAN PAUL )

This sunny jam finds Sia singing of getting ready to go clubbing:

It's Saturday and it won't be long
Gotta paint my nails, put my high heels on
It's Saturday and I won't be long
Til I hit the dance floor

Like most of the other This is Acting tracks, this was written for another artist but rejected. In this instance, Sia penned the carefree tune with Greg Kurstin ("What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)", "Hello") for Rihanna.

"Her manager said "We want 'Diamonds.'" [Sia wrote "Diamonds" for Rihanna] We need soul. We want some music that has feeling," she recalled to Rolling Stone. "I went to Greg and that's what we came up with. I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her. It's more Icona Pop. We did actually send it to her, but they passed on it, and then I just couldn't stop listening to it in the car."

"There's something really uplifting about it that put me in a good mood, and I would just pretend it wasn't me singing [laughs]," Sia continued. "It felt very summer and fun, and I was like, "I'll put that on there."

A remix of the track was released featuring reggae artist Sean Paul. His verse gives the song a whole new dancehall makeover. It was released as This is Acting's second single.

A black-and-white lyric video was released, parodying vintage variety shows with dancing contests. We see a new type of dance break out featuring energetic faceless dancers wearing signature Sia wigs. The visual was directed by Lior Molcho, who also worked on the clip for the This Is Acting lead single "Alive."

Directed by Sia with Daniel Askill, the song's music video is the Australian singer-songwriter's fourth collaboration with Maddie Ziegler. The young dancer previously appeared in Sia's visuals for "Chandelier," "Elastic Heart" and "Big Girls Cry."

The song was Sia's first Hot 100 chart-topper as an artist. She'd previously reached #1 as the writer of Rihanna's "Diamonds."

Sia was 40 years and seven months old when this song topped the chart. It was the first time a woman over 40 had reached the peak position since the 42-year-old Madonna achieved the feat with "Music" back in 2000.

The song was Sean Paul's fourth Hot 100 #1. He previously led with "Get Busy" in 2003, as a featured artist on Beyonce's "Baby Boy" the same year, and "Temperature" in 2006.

Asked by Billboard magazine what his reaction was when Sia first came to him about guesting on this song, Sean Paul replied: "I just thought: 'What a big sound, nice hook and melody she had put down.' I'm a huge fan of her voice. She spans generations. My mum is a big fan of her voice and her songs and writing."

Which song of 2016 had the most people reaching for their phone to find out what on earth it was? According to data released by the music identification app Shazam, "Cheap Thrills" was the year's most Shazamed song.

THE GIRL YOU LOST TO COCAINE by SIA

In this moral fable the narrator finally walks away from her needy friend, as she was tired of the friend using her as a crutch.

Sia told Stereo Subversion that although Some People Have Real Problems was an easy album to write for, "The Girl You Lost" took longer to pen than the other tracks. She explained: "It's like a bath. It's a big bath. I can sit down with my friends and play three chords or whatever or we'll hunt around and find the right three chords. Then they'll tell me what the song's about. Usually a sentence or a feeling will come or I can even just say to the person I'm with to tell me what it's about and give me a theme. Then eight minutes later, there it is. 'Academia' took eight minutes. 'Little Black Sandals' was five minutes. Then there are other songs that might take longer. 'The Girl You Lost to Cocaine' took a bit longer, but I don't remember why. I think I listened to it too much. It's different every time, but usually if it's a good one, it's like a bath."

A remix by Dutch DJ Sander van Doorn reached the Top 20 of the Netherlands charts. Van Doorn told UK dance DJ Dave Pearce how he came to work with Sia: "I got a promo from her with the Stonebridge remix and liked the track so much that I signed it to my label Doorn records for the BeNeLux. I also decided to do my own remix and that's how it came about!"

Sia told glasswerk.co.uk about the album title: "It's a note to self that when we're all complaining about our rich people's problems like a bitter latte or sh--ty traffic, there are people with no rice or maybe a lung missing who aren't complaining, if you get me."

CHANDELIER by SIA

This swooping serenade about a party girl's life was the first solo single by Sia in four years, following the release of her 2010 studio album We Are Born. (She did contribute "Elastic Heart" to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack in 2013 with Diplo and The Weeknd). Between the two releases, the Australian singer-songwriter "retired" and began co-writing hit songs for the likes of Rihanna ("Diamonds"), David Guetta ("Titanium") and Flo Rida "Wild Ones"). Speaking with Billboard magazine, Sia discussed her decision to remain out of the spotlight. "I don't care about commercial success," she said. "I get to do what I love and communicate whatever I want."

The song stemmed from an impromptu jam session between Sia and pop producer Jesse Shatkin. "I usually think, 'Oh this would work for Rihanna, or this would be a good one for B or Katy,'" Sia said to Ryan Seacrest. "But this time I was like, 'Uh oh I think I just wrote a full-blown pop song for myself by accident!'"

Shatkin and Sia came up with the song whilst working with hit producer Greg Kurstin (Pink, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson). "At some point, Greg had to run out, and me and Sia were in his live room with his piano and drum set and just kind of jammed for a second," Shatkin recalled to MuuMuse. "Greg has a marimba, so I was playing marimba - some weird notes - and Sia was playing the piano."

"She records everything on her phone, so we just kind of figured out a chord progression together," Shatkin continued. "She sent it to me on a voice note, and I turned it into a track. She already had the melody instinctively while she was writing the chords. We were real excited that she wanted to do this for her record, and then Greg added his production. I was really proud of it."

Kurstin explained his contribution to Rock Genius: "'Chandelier' was written by Sia and Jesse Shatkin," he said. "Sia brought it in for me to work on and tie into the other songs on the record. I added some acoustic piano, Mellotron and live drums over the track. I left most of Jesse's production; which was awesome."

The song's music video features a dance performance from a Sia-wigged Maddie Ziegler. The 11-year-old star of Lifetime's Dance Moms was personally asked to be in the clip by the singer. Sia co-directed the visual with Daniel Askill, who previously helmed the visual for her hit single "Breathe Me."

Speaking with Dazed, Sia explained the blonde bob worn by her in the 1000 Forms of Fear artwork and by Maddie Ziegler in the music video is a layer of protection from the outside world. "I already have a much larger concept for this album and for how I'm going to present it and that was: I don't want to be famous," she said. "If Amy Winehouse was a beehive then I guess I'm a blonde bob. I thought 'well if that's my brand, how can I avoid having to use my face to sell something', so my intention was to create a blonde bob brand."

The song is a rejoinder to all those pop tunes that celebrate the non-stop party. It is rooted in the now-sober Sia's past struggles with alcoholism. "That's why 'Chandelier' was interesting to me. I wrote the song because there's so many party-girl anthems in pop," she told NPR. "And I thought it'd be interesting to do a different take on that."

Sia and Greg Kurstin wrote this very quickly. "'Chandelier' took like four minutes to write the chords, then like 12-15 minutes to write the lyrics," she told NPR. "Probably 10 or 15 minutes to cut the vocals."

1000 Forms Of Fear topped the US albums chart. Sia's previous best was 2008's Some People Have Real Problems, which peaked at #26. In addition to reaching #1 on the Billboard list, the LP reached the summit on the iTunes albums chart in 47 countries.

The song was a wordwide hit, topping the singles charts in France, Israel and Poland.

This song featured in a 2014 Saturday Night Live skit where Jim Carrey and Kate McKinnon each show up to a Halloween office gathering dressed as "the child dancer from Sia's 'Chandelier' music video." The sketch resolves with the pair dancing to the song throughout the entire studio.

Billboard magazine chose this as their Best Song of 2014. They said: "The towering YOLO anthem 'Chandelier' took months to reach the Top 10 of the Hot 100 chart, but pop purveyors embraced its sentiment and Sia's performance almost immediately, turning the camera-shy Australian into an American star."

Sia concealed her face during performances of this song. When she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, she sang it with her face obscured by her wig while a mine acted out the song next to her. On The Graham Norton Show, she faced a wall while the dancer Denna Thomsen performed. Sia's faceless appearances were her reaction to the soul-sucking nature of fame and predatory, vapid celebrity journalism.

This was nominated for Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Pop Solo Performance, but didn't win any as Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" took the first two and Pharrell Williams' "Happy" the later two.

Sia did perform the song, however, singing it while facing a wall in a set that resembled the music video, while Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler did the interpretive dance.

The video was choreographed by Ryan Heffington, who also did Sia's "Elastic Heart" clip. Speaking with Bullett magazine, he explained: "The song is about addiction, yet the video concept is more abstract than just this. What I find important is that this piece of art has so many interpretations. I don't think I could (or in fact want to) create such definition of the plot, it lives much more vibrant if I do not."

He added: "Early on I requested the architectural detailing of the character's living space and what furniture would inhabit it. Like any of our dwellings we spend an absorbent amount of time in, all material components becomes part of the physical dialogue between us and these objects - walls, furniture, hallways. Although muddled in color and sparse in content, it was a choice to have the environment be rich in means of activity for the character. How often do children find a pile of dirt and a hose the most enthralling playmates? Yes, she may be isolated from other humans or environments, but seemingly rich in imagination with the ability to utilize fantasy to entertain herself via exploring new physical conversations with what simply existed before her eyes."

No comments: