She swings from Chandeliers, she don’t need no cheap thrills and she’s most definitely alive. Sia is everywhere.
But Sia also knows that pretty hurts, she’s got Boy Problems and she’s a bit of a Firecracker because she’s also a hugely popular songwriter, writing for the likes of Beyoncé, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cheryl and Katy Perry.
Although she’s notoriously camera shy, she’s done a few interviews in her time and she’s given us loads of tips on how to become a mega songwriter and pop star just like her. We’ve collected some of her best tips so you too can become titanium just like Sia.
1) Sia discovered the power of saying no: When Sia signed to RCA Records in 2013 to release her ‘1000 Forms of Fear’ album, she had it written into her contract that she would not have to tour or do any press around the album’s release. “It shows the power of saying ‘no,'” – Sia, Billboard; December 2014.
2) Sia probably has more songs rejected than accepted: ‘Pretty Hurts’ by Beyoncé was originally written with Katy Perry in mind. She rejected the track and then sent it to Rihanna who held onto the track for months without paying for it. Beyoncé eventually came along with “the right price”. Sia’s recent album ‘This Is Acting’ is a collection of songs rejected by the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Adele. The New York Times, April 2014
3) Sia loves a metaphor: “The songs that work best are broad lyrically and have one strong concept in the metaphor. You have to sing [the metaphor] a lot of times in a lot of different ways. People like victory, victim to victory, and party time. Songs that have a negative chorus and sad songs without an uplifting chorus are harder to place. I have to keep it a lot simpler.” Sia, Billboard; December 2014
4) Sia wrote ‘Diamonds’ just before she got into a car to the airport: Sia says she wrote the majority of ‘Diamonds’ in just 14 minutes, while a car scheduled to take her to the airport was waiting for her downstairs. The New York Times, April 2014
5) Sia wasn’t supposed to appear on David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ or ‘Flo Rida’s ‘Wild Ones’: ‘Titanium’ was originally recorded by Mary J Blige who passed on it. Katy Perry also turned it down and Sia claims she wrote it for Alicia Keys. David Guetta then put her on the track without her knowing. “… And then he took [Mary J Blige] vocal off it, and put my vocal back on, my demo vocal, without asking and released it. And I never even knew it was gonna happen, and I was really upset. Because I had just retired, I was trying to be a pop songwriter, not an artist.” Sia, NPR; July 2014
6) Sia’s musical concepts come from trashy TV: Sia originally wanted to work with ‘Dance Moms’ star Maddie Ziegler after watching the show at home. “I just lift these concepts from crap television and it’s so fun! I then just apply them to music.” Sia, ABC News; 2014
7) Despite being able to write songs in as little as 14 minutes, Sia is still highly critical of her work: “I love the idea of how fast can we make the song, but I don’t think that I’m necessarily like a super-talented songwriter. I think I’m just really productive. One out of 10 songs is a hit. So where a lot of people will spend three weeks on one song, I will write 10 in three weeks. Maybe the song that they sculpt is going to be as successful as just one of the 10 that I wrote.” Sia, The Guardian: January 2016
Let us know your favourite Sia or Sia-written songs @maximumpop