22 Things You Never Knew About Sia

Photo: BFA/REX/Shutterstock.
She’s been called “inscrutable,” “enigmatic,” and “grandly idiosyncratic.” Sia Kate Isobelle Furler doesn’t really see herself as any of those grandiose synonyms, all of which basically equate to “unknowable by the general public in the intimate way we want to think we know celebrities." The singer-songwriter has a very good reason for being fame-averse and “socially phobic.”

Being in the public eye and going on tour pushed her to the brink of suicide in 2010. For Sia, having a private life is an absolute necessity for her mental health. It’s what allows her to continue to write megahit pop songs for herself and other artists.

In the past, Sia’s unwillingness to tour earned her the reputation of being difficult. (She’ll throw out a series of “ludicrous” demands to avoid a tour even coming to fruition, swearing it’s for her emotional well-being.) Now that she’s opened up about her personal struggles with addiction and mental illness — and proven she’s one of the most talented singer-songwriters of the past decade — Sia has more than earned the ability to hide her face in whatever cheeky manner she wants. She’s also entitled to shun publicity. Really: It’s in her record contract.

On January 29, Sia will release her seventh LP, This Is Acting. The album is composed of songs she originally wrote with other artists in mind, but they passed on. The first two tracks, “Bird Set Free” and “Alive,” were written for Adele’s 25. “Cheap Thrills,” track six, was intended for Rihanna. “Footprints,” track nine, was meant for Beyoncé. The intended recipient of “Unstoppable,” which Sia released on January 20, hasn’t been specified, but the powerful lyrics will surely earn it a spot on your pump-up playlist.

Since Sia is so inscrutable, though, you might not know that much about the woman underneath the blonde bob. In honor of This Is Acting’s release, we rounded up some lesser-known facts about the extremely talented star from down under.
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Photo: Via @siathisisacting.
Sia was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1975, and lived there through high school. The Capri Theatre in Adelaide (pictured here) revealed the name of the first track from her new album in January 2016.
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Sia’s uncle, Colin Hay (not her uncle by blood, but she refers to him as “Uncle Collie”) fronted the '80s band, Men at Work, whose songs, “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now?” were hits.
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Sia’s singing career began in Australia, where she was part of the acid-jazz band Crisp. She also released her first solo studio album in Australia. OnlySee, which sold 1,200 copies, came out in 1997 on Flavoured Records. When Crisp broke up in 1997, Sia moved to London.
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After moving to London in 1997, Sia met British trip-hop duo Zero 7. She sang on three of their albums and went on tour with them.
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She has said that Six Feet Under “resuscitated my truly dying career.” Her song “Breathe Me” plays over a montage showing how all of the main characters die in the show’s 2005 series finale, and it exploded from there.
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Photo: Via @sia.
She’s extremely open about her health issues, which include mental illness (“I’m medicated for bipolar to the hilt,” she told Howard Stern in 2014) and Graves’ disease, “an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones.”
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Photo: Courtesy of PETA.
In 2010, she appeared with her dog Pantera in a PETA campaign encouraging people to spay or neuter their pets to help end animal homelessness. In 2015, Sia contributed the song "Free the Animal" to a PETA PSA encouraging people to stop using animals for their skin.
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Photo: Mikael Buck/REX Shutterstock.
Sia believes in a higher power called “Whatever Dude… He’s a queer, surfing Santa that’s a bit like my Grandpa…It’s a dude, weirdly. I’m a feminist, but it turned out to be a dude.”
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Sia wrote or co-wrote many of your favorite pop hits, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts,” Britney Spears’ “Perfume,” Kylie Minogue’s “Sexercize,” Christina Aguilera’s “All I Need,” and Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You.” There was actually a lot of behind-the-scenes drama when it came to “Pretty Hurts.” Sia originally wrote it for Katy Perry, but Perry never saw the email with the song attached. Sia then sent the song to both Rihanna and Beyoncé. Rihanna’s team had the song on hold for several months, but her management forgot to pay the fee to keep the track secured. “Beyoncé just slid into home base and threw the money down, and it was a really awkward situation,” Sia explained on Nightline in July 2014.
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She’s featured on David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones,” even though she initially “found them to be very cheesy” and worried they would dilute her credibility.
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She writes songs ridiculously fast. Sia says she wroteDiamonds” in 14 minutes, and “Titanium” in 40.
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Sia wrote Lea Michele’s ode to Cory Monteith, “If You Say So,” based on a conversation with Michele about Monteith’s death. She could sympathize with Michele better than most: Her own boyfriend Dan Pontifex died in an accident in London in 1997.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock.
She believes in aliens and mermaids. “I think that it would be unwise of us not to believe that there is life outside of us, intelligent life. And so I do believe in aliens. I have seen the [former] Canadian minister of defense discuss the fact that he knows that the American government is working with five different species of aliens presently. Which is a real fucking mind-blower. I want to believe in a way that makes me feel a little bit scared. So then I like to think about dogs because it makes me feel safe. And mermaids. I believe in Daryl Hannah.”
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Sia wanted Katy Perry to sing “Elastic Heart.” “I think I tried to give her ‘Chandelier’ as well,” she told Rolling Stone in December 2015. Perry passed on both, so Sia recorded them herself.
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She’s a recovering addict. “I got seriously addicted to Vicodin and oxycodone, and I was always a drinker, but I didn't know I was an alcoholic. I was really unhappy being an artist, and I was getting sicker and sicker,” she said in this Billboard interview. “Chandelier” is about alcoholism.
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Photo: REX Shutterstock.
Sia has absolutely no desire to be famous. She wrote an anti-fame manifesto for Billboard in October 2013 in which she compared fame to a sharp-tongued mother-in-law who’s terrible for your self-esteem.
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Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com/REX Shutterstock.
As part of her anti-fame manifesto, Sia has it in her contract that she doesn’t have to show her face. “A lot of people wanted to do record deals with me. And RCA was the only one that was really willing to come to my party in the way that I wanted to work in the future. I had in my contract: no promo, no touring, no appearances in any music videos,” Sia told Kristen Wiig in Interview. “People say, ‘Enough of this shit where she doesn't show her face,’ and ‘It's a gimmick.’ For sure. I'm trying to do this differently, for serenity. And it's a fun game for me as well. I have nothing to lose. But of course I want to be loved. So when people say, ‘Show your face, you're not ugly,’ I want to say, ‘I know. I'm not doing it because I think I'm ugly; I'm trying to have some control over my image. And I'm allowed to maintain some modicum of privacy.’”
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Photo: MediaPunch/REX Shutterstock.
She calls Demi Moore “Mama Bear,” and the two go to meditation workshops together.
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She reached out to Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler about appearing in the “Chandelier” video, on Twitter. Ziegler didn’t think it was real. She thought someone was trying to prank her.
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Photo: Picture Perfect/REX Shutterstock.
She’s branching out from music. While speaking with Kristen Wiig for Interview, Sia told her that she has plans to direct a script she was working on. “I’m on page 65 now of the screenplay. I wrote a short story eight years ago. It’s called Sister, and I’m going to direct it. I just want to make a beautiful film. I’ve had it in my head for so long, so I want to try.” The movie will star Maddie Ziegler.
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Photo: Via @sia.
She’s vegan.
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Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/REX Shutterstock.
Sia married director and producer Erik Anders Lang in August 2014. In September 2015, the two announced that they’re co-directing the Untitled Sia Documentary Project, a behind-the-scenes look at Sia’s life. The documentary is being produced by Pictures, the Los Angeles-based company Lang owns with Ryland Aldrich. As for how this might contradict her whole fame-is-bad philosophy, we don't know, but we're sure she's got a plan.
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