Sia’s last album, 1000 Forms of Fear gained her a much deserved nod from the Grammy Awards with 4 nominations that put her in the popular spotlight. Although, she prefers for people to not know what she looks like, so she can lead a normal uninterrupted life from the paparazzi, which has the world questioning who is Sia? What’s her deal?
Covered up or not, in real life Sia doesn’t hold back in the studio or in sharing her music. I have loved her music since her 2008 album, Some People Have REAL Problems. Her style of composing continues to evolve and she continues to gain relevance in today’s music scene. The release of her new album This Is Acting is definitely another triumph despite the fact that it’s contents are someone else’s trash.
The past decade has been an interesting time in popular music with a return to earlier days when songwriters are brought in to write hits and songstresses like Bae get fame and glory. So, when I learned that many of the songs on Sia’s new album were the leftovers that were passed up by big artists, you have to wonder, was it ever really meant for those people to sing?
I recently was reminded of the story of Carole King’s claim to fame. She has a similar story to Sia, where for many years she wrote songs for other artists and not for herself. When she felt she had an album that had to be in her own voice she did, and won four grammies for it.
I can’t claim to understand or know Sia personally, but her seventh solo album definitely showcases her understanding of her craft and even if the songs were meant for other artists, it doesn’t show, because she owns it like the OG #GirlBoss that she is.
On the first track of her new album you’re drawn in with “Bird Set Free.” It was the perfect way to set the tone for this album, with lyrics like “And I don’t care if I sing off key, I find myself in my melodies, I sing for love, I sing for me.” It’s a true testament to how empowered she is to produce these songs and give them life, even if tracks like this were meant for Adele.
Moving into her second track “I’m Alive” I couldn’t imagine anyone else giving a more powerful vocal performance. Again, written for Adele who could definitely rock this song, however there’s a depth to Sia that is different, raw and totally organic when she sings this track.
The album has variety of feels and voicing, but her identity isn’t lost. Songs like “Cheap Thrills,” “Sweet Design,” and “House On Fire” could have easily been passed off to some younger pop stars on the scene, but her unique vocals creates a more mature and authentic experience for the listener throughout.