The first time I had ever heard of the quirky Australian-born, NY-based singer/songwriter Sia was back in March, 2008. I had been camping out at Autostraddle Editor-in-Chief Riese’s place in New York City, and stumbled across Sia’s website while researching gig schedules in preparation for my then-annual pilgrimage to South By Southwest in Austin, TX. Also “Sia” is a weird word, which is perhaps why I hadn’t noticed Riese freaking out about how much she wanted to “see Sia” at SXSW at first.
But then I saw the website and I asked my American friends and they began to rave about a record called Some People Have Real Problems that I’d never heard of before [Riese sidenote: also Sia provided the song Breathe Me to the best series finale of all time, Six Feet Under] – weird, given that Sia is a) Australian and b) openly bisexual. I guess what I’m saying is that Sia and I are basically the same person, and so I couldn’t help feeling like I should have been familiar with her work.
Unfortunately for all of us, Sia’s South By Southwest showcase conflicted with Riese’s intense Uh Huh Her stalking schedule, and I missed out. So 18 months later when I heard that Sia was doing a tour of her homeland, I snapped up some front-row tickets.
And in short, it was everything I’d imagined and a whole lot more.
I didn’t just love her, I la-la-la-la-LOVE HER.
Sia is fun, energetic, charming, entertaining and just plain goofy. And that voice! I was born to listen to that voice!
I initially planned to write a concert review – howevs as I am concurrently reviewing the Britney Spears Lipsynching Spectacular, I thought I’d mix things up by delivering this instead:
10 Reasons Why I Love Sia, and You Should Too.
1. Sia is an under-appreciated tweeter.
Following musicians or celebrities on Twitter isn’t for everyone, but if you happen to follow @mrskutcher or @perezhilton but not @siamusic, it’s time to re-evaluate. Sia tweets like a champ, winning my heart daily with childlike humour and feelings and bizarre observations and nonsensical musings and general randomness that – if you can dicipher their meaning – are totally endearing. And not only does she do spontaneous tweet-interviews with fans, she also exchanges tweets with all your favourite tweeps like Tegan and Sara, SamRon, Ladyhawke and even someone from BETTY.
But my favourite thing about Sia’s tweets? She is blatantly honest, meaning that any asshat who says something negative to her gets served.
2. Her video clips are AMAZING.
If you have never seen a Sia video clip before, you’ve missed out. Check out the crazy that is the video clip for her single ‘Buttons’. Go on!
3. Those costumes.
Anyone who has seen Sia perform on TV or in concert is probably aware of the costume her and the band don to open each set:
These neon gingerbreadman-esq character outfits never get old. Even though I was 100% expecting her and the band to walk out on stage in this get-up, my eyes still lit up as brightly as those neon stripes. After the opening number, her band stripped down into bright white while Sia strips down into a dress she bought “at a sample sale for 10% of the ticket price.” Girlfriend’s got thrift and style.
4. She keeps her promises.
At the beginning of the Sydney concert, Sia promised us that every item we threw on stage during her set would be tucked into her underwear. It was a little weird and unusual, sure, but we went with it. And true to her word, items were added and added to the stage – and subsequently her pants – until she was sporting a huge fake baby bump that she performed with the entire night. Inventory included:
i) Several pairs of underwear
ii) A full-length pair of denim jeans
iii) Multiple letters
iv) A pearl necklace *insert your own joke here*
I mean, that couldn’t have been comfortable. But she did it for us, and not many girls would.
5. Concert banter.
Sia engages her audience from the second she steps on stage to the moment she walks off, communicating with the same frequency and enthusiasm as those pop acts that want pre-teens to put their hands in the air like they just don’t care. Sia had me entertained the whole night and while her banter wasn’t ROTFL-hilarious, it was super cute and elicited more gaffaws from me than any other artist I’ve seen before. It’s not easy: I’m a tough crowd.
On the fan letters that were being thrown on stage: “Do you think it’s too self-indulgent to read these out loud? No? I’m going to read it… Dear Sia, I think you’re one of the only artists who… [laughs] um, let’s just say it’s nice. This is too self-congratulatory.”
On the encore: “Okay I’m going to play another song, then we’re going to leave – but don’t worry, we’re just pretending. Then we’ll come back out on stage a few minutes later to play the only song that you actually came here to hear.”
On winning the Best DVD Release at the recent ARIA Awards [Australia’s music awards] and finding that none of the photographers were interested in taking her photo: “Whatever. I’ve been on Letterman.”
6. Six Feet Under
Do you remember the final six minutes of Six Feet Under? Where Claire was driving along the freeway towards NYC, heaving as she flashed forward to significant moments in your favourite character’s future and then ultimately their deaths? Remember when your heart ached and your lip started to quiver and your eyes welled up and you reached for the Kleenex? I sure do. A lot of that emotion was fuelled by Sia, whose song “Breathe Me” soundtracked that entire scene. Everything about that scene was perfect.
7. Sia dates JD Samson from Le Tigre and MEN.
I think? I don’t usually keep up with who is dating who, but I know that JD Samson is cool and Sia is cool and together they are pretty cool. As fellow concert-goer Kate observed, it’s science.
8. She is BFFs with X-tina
How a slightly eccentric indie singer from Adelaide came to write four songs on Christina’s upcoming album, I’m no so sure. But I am counting down the days until I can get my hands on it. On stage, Sia joking called Christina a “vampire” and told a lot of BFF anecdotes that I don’t recall, but probably wouldn’t translate here anyway.
9. Some People Have Real Problems
The aforementioned Some People Have Real Problems is Sia’s fourth studio album, as well as the title that originally piqued my curiosity in this artist. I’m a captive audience for anything that is uniquely named – if I find your band name clever or unique or hilarious, I will listen to you and love you no matter what you sound like. Here’s lookin’ at you, An Horse. And obvs you, TYRA MAIL!
This album doesn’t just have an awesome name, it is awesome. My favourite tracks: “Buttons”, and “The Girl You Lost To Cocaine”. So this record didn’t quite find Sia mainstream commercial success, but if you haven’t yet heard it then it’s worthy of your time. Rolling Stone can stick their two star review. Srsly.
10. Sis is going to become Ruler of the Future
A few weeks ago Sia leaked the track ‘You’ve Changed’ from her upcoming record We Are Born, which is for release in April 2010. It’s far more uptempo than her current record and I love it! You can download the track here.
check out zero7’s first cd simple things…she sings about 4 songs on that album. those songs will for sure lock you in as Sia fans :)
I will! Thanks. I’ve heard some Zero 7 stuff before but I’ve never listened to a complete album, just the occasional track.
As mentioned above, the stuff she did with Zero 7 is pretty spectacular. Obviously.
Also, I just want to say that I ~really want Tyra Mail! to happen.
I have a great deal of faith that Stef will make TYRA MAIL! happen one day.
Juuuust added Sia to my list of bands/artists I have to check out.
I hope you do check her out because next year she’ll be releasing an album and it’ll need reviewing just sayin’ ;)
Let me know what you think.
Holy shite, thanks for finally putting up an article dedicated to the amazingness that is Sia. I’ve been waiting for her to tour in the US, and to tell you honestly, when I bought my Zero 7 tickets for their Nov 27 show (which was amazing, by the way!), I was secretly hoping she’d make a surprise appearance and sing Destiny and Somersault. Of course she’ll see me on the front row, catch my eye, dawn upon herself the epiphany of all epiphanies that I’m THE ONE, fall in love, take a bus to Connecticut after the concert, and get married.
But she was in Australia. Touring. You lucky bastards.
By the way, her song featured in Six Feet Under is “Breathe Me.” :P
Listen to Lady Croissant, if you haven’t! That’s the closest thing I got to actually experiencing a live performance from her.
Ha I’m sorry us Aussies robbed you of any chance Sia might have made a guest appearance at Zero 7’s concert. But I think she’ll tour the US again, many times, so don’t give up hope that one day she’ll realise you’re THE ONE ;)
I bought Sia’s DVD,TV is my Parent a month or so ago and it’s brilliant.
As Crystal says her banter is hilarious, short and to the point but freakin’ hilarious.This is the sort of DVD that makes you want to go out and buy a nice set of loudspeakers it’s that good.Her voice is amazing “lentil” blows me away every time I hear it.
I really want to get ‘TV Is My Parent’! I’ve heard amazing things about it but I’ve been resisting the temptation to buy it ’cause I feel like I’ll get it for Christmas. I’m so glad she won an ARIA for it.
‘Death By Chocolate’ is best enjoyed with wine and feelings.
Sia gives me lots of feelings. She sings me to sleep quite often.
“Buttons” is one of my fave songs of ever. Sia is great, I got to meet her and work with her briefly earlier this year and she was fun and crazy and awesome.
Carly I’m pretty certain you have one of the most awesome jobs ever.
i love the girl you lost to cocaine so much. they always played it in starbucks but that didn’t ruin it for me. i love sia. i should’ve seen her instead of being a crazy UHH stalker. no. no regrets.
I love ‘Academia’ by Sia…It’s like a love song for nerdz
Breathe me was the soundtrack to some of the darkest days in my life.
the girl you lost to cocain is one of my fav songs ever.
Sia is beyond awesome. Really thank you for reminding me, Crystal. (this is no sarcasm, fyi)
wow where do i buy a glowcostume like those? also, jd samson is soooo nice <3 <3
YES! She made a little sneak-peek performance in FL onstage with MEN! Just the little bit of dancing and waving of the signs was enough for me! She’s incredible!
Why am I just not discovering her? I thank my half-girlfriend. Yes, half girlfriend. The usual coocoo lesbian craziness. Anyhow… *wanders off*
I’ve been wondering what you would have to say about Britney’s lip synching show. While I’m sure it won’t convert me to a fan, I bet it will be hilarious. Sia has a fair chance though. I will go listen to a song or two now.
I love her too she is my queen. her voice is amazing I wanna meet her :D