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Sia


Country of origin:

Australia

Type of music generally:

Ethereal pop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, This Is Acting (2016)

See also:

Sia's site

Wikipedia's entry on Sia

Comparisons:

Sarah McLachlan, Dido (but more down-tempo); early work was compared to Nikka Costa and Nelly Furtado)

Covers/own material:

Co-written, occasional cover

General comments:

Sia provided the vocals on Zero 7's Destiny (and another couple tracks on the album I believe). Her first solo album was a bit like funky soul (in the sort of Nikka Costa/Poe vein) I quite like it a lot—it is great for cranking the volume on in the car... Her second solo album is a lot quieter and hasn't held my attention as much... (gordoja@optonline.net)

The main vocalist from Zero 7, Sia (Furler) is another favourite of mine and is also great live (both with and without Zero 7). Her album Colour the Small One is one of my favourites of the last couple of years. (muttley64@ntlworld.com)

a friend of mine has been flogging the sia horse to me for the past couple months. when i finally got a chance to listen to something other than "breathe me," I was rather surprised to discover that she had more of a soul/r&b vibe. that is normally not my thing, but i rather enjoyed her voice and tone so i picked up her new record (some people have real problems) as well. i enjoy that too. in a nutshell, sia strikes me as an interesting corrine bailey rae.
     i should also point out that sia's videos are quite imaginative as well. definitely worth tracking on youtube or what-have-you. (woj@smoe.org)

Recommended first album:

Colour the Small One or Some People Have Real Problems

Recordings:

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Healing Is Difficult

Release info:

2002—Dance Pool/Sony—5062 35200 0

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

For Sia fans

Group members:

Sia

Guest artists:

Otto Williams—bass
Sam Frank—saxophone
Quadraphonic—strings
Isobel Dunn—string arrangement (4)
Jesse Flavell—guitar
Different Gear—remix of "Drink to Get Drunk"

Produced by:

Sia Furler, Sam Frank, Nigel Corsbie, Blair Mackichan, Jesse Flavell

Comments:

disc I am obsessing about but haven't had time to blither. (gordoja@optonline.net)

Colour the Small One

Release info:

2004 (2006 US)—Astralwerks—ASW 48103

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia Furler—vocals, glockenspiel

Guest artists:

Jimmy Hogarth—guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, bass, keys, programming
Sam Dixon—bass, chorus guitar, string guitars, accordion, noises, programming, additional drum recording
Martin Slattery—keyboards, flute, clarinet, piano, electric guitar, chimes, horn
Kevin Cormack—noises, electric guitar, percussion, guitar, accordion, drums, acoustic guitar
Jeremy Stacey—drums, kick drum
Felix Bloxsom—drums, hi-hats, marimba
Sophie Barker—background vocals (7)
Yvonne John Lewis—background vocals (9)
Felix Howard—acoustic guitar (10) Arnulf Lindner—double bass (10) Wil Malone—string arrangements and conducting Gavyn Wright and the London Session Orchestra—strings

Produced by:

Jimmy Hogarth; additional production by Four Tet and Ulrich Schanuss on "Breathe Me" remixes

Comments:

I've had Colour the Small One for a while, but still haven't gotten into it. There's something about her voice that's just a little bit too affected for me. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

While overall it does not have the same impact [as the song "Breathe Me"], it is an enjoyable record in its own right. (afries@zip.com.au)

what a wonderful voice. I didn't like her first solo release too much but this one seems much more promising to me. (salondon@uci.edu)

A solid effort. While I don't find it quite as engaging as her later work, there are a number of really good songs, including "Breathe Me." The US release includes the excellent "Broken Biscuit" and "Sea Shells" and 2 "Breathe Me" remixes. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Lady Croissant

Release info:

2007—Astralwerks—ASW 81258

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia

Guest artists:

Joey Waronker—drums
Gus Seyffert—guitar
Joe Kennedy—keyboard
Sam Dixon—bass
Oliver Kraus—cello
Felix Bloxsom—drums (1)
Dan Carey—guitar, Wurlitzer, bass, keyboard (1)

Produced by:

Dan Carey (1)

Comments:

I love this live album. There's 1 new studio song, 2 Zero 7 songs, 1 track from her first studio album, 3 from her second (including a killer version of "Breathe Me"), and 2 previews of her third. This album has more of the soul/r&b vibe, and Sia really lets loose with the vocals. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Some People Have Real Problems

Release info:

2008—Monkey Puzzle Records/Hear Music—HMCD-30629

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia—vocals

Guest artists:

Gus Seyffert—guitar (all tracks); backing vocals (1, 2, 4, 6, 10)
Sam Dixon—bass (all tracks); guitar (8, 13)
Felix Bloxsom—drums (1, 12); percussion (1)
Larry Goldings—keys (1-4, 7, 10, 12, 13)
Jimmy Hogarth—guitar (1, 4, 6, 11, 13); keys (1); percussion (6)
Joey Waronker—drums (2-11, 13, and "Buttons"); percussion (5, 7, 8, and "Buttons")
Ed Stevens—keys (2, 3, 5-11, 13, and "Buttons")
Oliver Kraus—strings (2-4, 10, 12)
Dominic Glover, Jim Hunt, Nichol Thomson—brass (5, 11)
Dan Carey—guitar (6)
Martin Slattery—clarinet and flutes (6); percussion (3)
Harry Deerness—accordion (6, 11); keys (11); percussion (11)
Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—keys (9)
Abigail Dalmont—cello (10)
Pete Davis—programming (10)
Mike Green—backing vocals (1, 2, 6, 10)
Lucia Ribisi—backing vocals (1, 6, 9)
Inara George (the bird and the bee)—backing vocals (2, 6, 11, 13)
Mary Pearce—backing vocals (3)
Ryan Faulkner—backing vocals (6)
Beck Hansen—backing vocals (6, 9)
Brian Lebarton—backing vocals (6, 9, and "Buttons")
Giovanni Ribisi—backing vocals (9)
Jason Lee—backing vocals (9)
Pantera—backing vocals (9)
Binki Shapiro—backing vocals (9 and "Buttons")
Lenka Kripac—backing vocals (9 and "Buttons")

Produced by:

Jimmy Hogarth

Comments:

To me it is indeed a pleasant surprise. I wasn't familiar with Sia before this happy encounter except for the song "Breathe Me" and her guest appearances on a couple of Zero7 albums that I have forgotten. I find Zero7 awfully dull and I have generally had enough of the whole downtempo-thing. AND I thought Sia was exactly that; a downtempo singer/songwriter like Natalie Walker and the like.
     But she is definitely not. Some People have REAL Problems is more like Cat Power's The Greatest in terms of fully orchestrated arrangements and pathos while Sia's voice reminds me a lot of Feist's and Janis Joplin's. I am aware that Sia has gained considerably mixed reviews for this disc. For instance, the Tennessean writes that her soaring, gritty vocals are closely associated with what Portishead's Geoff Barrow labeled coffee table music, but I simply disagree. There is way too much emotion and sadness here and I would never listen to this while trying to feel comfortable. However, I WILL listen to this for a long time, I suspect. Have already several melodies and sentences stuck in my head. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

I have mixed feelings.
     I've never liked that slightly nasal soul-diva-ish vocal tick Sia so often employs, but on the tracks where she lets it go a little and communicates a more immediate and less affected personality (ie "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine"), I really enjoy her.
     I especially like the band on this record... Nice, organic settings, great acoustic piano and delicate snares. Sounds like they're actually recording together in a room. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

I'm really enjoying Sia's new album. There's an intensity that's different from her previous albums. Stylistically it's all over the place—pop/rock infused with r&b, hints of her downtempo work, a dash of gospel, another dash of ectronica, moments of delicacy (particularly on the last two tracks). Best of all it really works. The band is tight, the arrangements carry the album, giving a cohesiveness to the variety. Try "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine," "I Go to Sleep," or the single "Day Too Soon." Note: buying a hard copy of the disc gets you access to 4 downloadable bonus songs which are all really good. (JoAnn Whetsell)


We Are Born

Release info:

2010—Monkey Puzzle Records/Jive—88697-74283-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia Furler—vocals

Guest artists:

Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—keyboards, keys, guitar, bass, acoustic piano, xylophone, drums and programming
Nick Valensi—guitar
Gus Seyffert—guitar
Sam Dixon—bass
Felix Bloxsom—drums
Aaron Redfield—drums (3, 4)
Oliver Kraus—strings (5)
The Kids—additional vocals (1, 6), vocals (3)
Inara George (the bird and the bee)—additional vocals (12)

Produced by:

Greg Kurstin

Comments:

I didn't listen to clips of this album before its release, so I didn't know what to expect, but I guess I expected it to be something like Some People Have Real Problems. It's not. It's a dance pop album, and the first time I listened to it I wasn't very enthused. But I listened again. And again... And now I find it really engaging and catchy. I do usually cut the album off after track 12, though. The cover of Madonna's "Oh Father" is strange, and the piano vocal version of "I'm In Here" doesn't really add anything to the original. (JoAnn Whetsell)

1000 Forms of Fear

Release info:

2014—Monkey Puzzle Records/RCA—8 8843 07404 2 6

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia

Guest artists:

Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—drums, guitar, mellotron, piano, bass, percussion, organ, keyboards, xylophone, celeste, chamberlin
Jesse Shatkin—drums, keyboards, programming (1)
Nick Valensi—guitar (5)
Diplo—drum programming (8)
Andrew Swanson—drum programming (8)

Produced by:

Greg Kurstin; Jesse Shatkin co-produced track 1; Diplo co-produced track 8

Comments:

I wasn't expecting much based on the singles, but I do like Sia a lot, and I was moved by her story about overcoming social anxiety, depression, and drug addiction, so I gave it a chance, and I'm glad I did. I like it a lot, and I think the songs that weren't released as singles are generally stronger. "Burn the Pages," "Elastic Heart" (from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack), Fire Meets Gasoline," and "Dressed in Black" are some of my favorites. There are some weird vocal things (cracks and places where her voice really sounds like it's straining) that annoy me, particularly on "Chandelier" and "Eye of the Needle," that keep me from totally loving the album. But they don't always bother me so much, and overall I do think it's a strong album and I'm glad Sia has returned to recording and releasing original music. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

I really wanted to like this but it just feels so devoid of emotion that I have a hard time connecting. Rating: 47/100. Best track: "Dressed in Black." (raschee@gmail.com)


This Is Acting

Release info:

2016—RCA—88875-18055-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sia

Guest artists:

Greg Kurstin (the bird and the bee)—bass, drums, keyboards (1, 4, 6, 10); mellotron, piano (1); guitar (6, 10)
Jesse Shatkin—synthesizers, percussion, additional programming (2); guitar (2, 3); bass (2, 3, 5, 8, 11); piano (2, 3, 5, 7, 8); string programming (2, 5, 9); drum programming (2, 7, 8, 11); drums (3, 5, 7-9, 11); keyboards (3, 5, 9); programming (3, 5, 8, 9, 11); bass programming, synth programming (7); synths (8, 11)
Tobias Jesso, Jr.—piano (2)
Garrett Ray—drums (2)
Erick Serna—guitar (2, 8, 9)
Chris Wrays—keyboards, guitar (7)
Jake Sinclair—percussion, tambourine, piano (8)
T-Minus—drums, bass, piano, programming (9)
Josh Valle—guitar (9)
Cameron Deyell—guitar, bass, keyboard (12)

Produced by:

Greg Kurstin (1, 4, 6, 10); Jesse Shatkin (2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11); Kanye West, Dom $olo, Noah Goldstein, 88-Keys, Jake Sinclair (7); Jack Antonoff (8); T-Minus (9); Cameron Deyell (12); Sia Furler, executive producer

Comments:

Sia reclaims songs she wrote for other artists that they chose not to record. The songs are rather formulaic in structure, but there's less of the vocal affectation that marred 1000 Forms of Fear a bit for me. Overall, it's a fun-sounding record that makes a good listen played loud when I want something poppy. (I haven't paid much attention to the lyrical content, although generally there seems to be a lot of strength and resilience stuff.) (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Further info:

Sia released the DVD TV Is My Parent in 2009. She has written songs for and with many artists including David Guetta, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Britney Spears, Eminem, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Shakira, Gwen Stefani, Cheryl Cole, and Maroon 5.

Compilation work includes:

  • a cover of "Paranoid Android" on the tribute album Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads (2006)
  • "My Love" on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack (2010)
  • "Kill and Run" on The Great Gatsby soundtrack (2013)
  • "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" on the Annie soundtrack (2014)
  • "Salted Wound" on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack (2015)
  • "Unforgettable" on the Finding Dory soundtrack (2016)
Collaborations include:

  • "How Deep Is Your Love" with the bird and the bee on their album Please Clap Your Hands (2007) and the Sex and the City soundtrack (2008)
  • "I'll Forget You" with Lior on his album Corner of an Endless Road (2008)
  • "Carol Brown" and "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute" with Flight of the Conchords on their album I Told You I Was Freaky (2009)
  • a cover of "Wicked Game" with Peter Jöback on his album East Side Stories (2009)
  • "Never So Big" with David Byrne and Fatboy Slim on their album Here Lies Love (2010)
  • "Sweet One" with Katie Noonan (George) on her album Emperor's Box (2010)
  • "Titanium" with David Guetta on his album Nothing But the Beat (2011)
  • "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)" with David Guetta on his album Nothing But the Beat 2.0 (digital release, 2012)
  • "Wild Ones" with Flo Rida on his album Wild Ones (2012)
  • "Beautiful Pain" with Eminem on his album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
  • vocals on Tegan and Sara's album Heartthrob (2013)
  • "Battle Cry" with Angel Haze on his album Dirty Gold (2013)
  • "Guts Over Fear" with Eminem on the compilation Shady XV (2014)
  • "Bang My Head" and "The Whisperer" with David Guetta on his album Listen (2014)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-06-08 23:15:49.
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