Review The Artist (15)
Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, to use the name her musician parents gave her, already has a staggering track record. If her name itself-pronounced 'See-ah' isn't familiar to millions, her voice undoubtedly is.
In 2000, the Adelaide born singer scored a bolt from the blue Top 10 hit with her debut single, Taken For Granted. Pairing her unique Australian drawl with the strident strings from Prokofiev's 'Romeo & Juliet', the track was championed by Trevor Nelson and had Sia performing live on Jo Whiley's Radio 1 show. Her debut album, 'Healing Is Difficult', arrived to similar cries of ´the next big R&B thing'. Then, to cap it all, she added her jazzy slurs to two tracks on Zero 7's Simple Things album and became the unmistakable voice of the year's coolest down-tempo soundtrack. All the pieces for a phenomenal career seemed to be in place.
And then nothing.
"I went a bit mental after that," she explains, before letting out a laugh that would stop traffic. "No seriously, I needed therapy and everything." She recovers her composure only long enough to explain that going from hero to zero left her confused and frustrated and that it was a really enjoyable time, those moments of feeling like a 'Coolio'! But sadly they've passed now.
Brandishing both wicked humour and brutal honesty, it's sometimes hard to know exactly when Sia's joking. What is certain is that, with fragile beauty, a collaboration with Beck, and swathes of sensual soul-searching, 'Healing Is Difficult's long overdue follow-up, ‘Colour The Small One, rekindles thoughts of an all conquering phenomenon and will surely make her a 'coolio' once again.
From the lilting pianos and claustrophobic beats of 'Breathe Me', to 'Sunday's' enchanting harmonium and breathless chant, it's a mesmerising album, undercut by the hope and despair of a little girl lost. Guilt, and how to deal with it, is the recurring theme with Sia's vulnerable voice as a beacon guiding through the pain and fear. "I call it easy Listening," snorts Sia trying to keep a straight face. "That's what I've been telling everyone." A mix of horror and hilarity dawns on her face. "Do you think it's depressing? It's not too depressing is it? It's meant to be nice, easy, music. Songy and lush."
Whatever it is, it certainly isn't the album anyone was expecting. The muffled rhythm track and sensual cinematic strings of 'Don't Bring Me Down' are a stratosphere away from 'Taken For Granted's' dogmatic march. ‘Colour The Small One’ would never be mistaken for R&B. "I hated that," she cringes at the thought of the jazzy beats and soulful grooves of her first album being tagged 'urban'. But that's not why this album's different. "I just wanted to make an album that was more song driven, and I've changed as a person. After the first album I lost it, and this album reflects how I was feeling. The vocals are small and needy, because that's how I felt." She looks momentarily troubled before adding, "Plus, I'd tried to have a pop career and it didn't work, so I thought I'd try something else." More strangulated giggling. "If this doesn't work I'll fuck off back to Australia."
Sia's vocal talents extend all the way back to her earliest memory. But unlike most singers, she isn't exactly the product of her childhood influences. Born in Adelaide, she was raised on the hippiest street in Australia. "Everyone was a musician or worked for Circus Oz." Her parents played in a rockabilly band called The Soda Jerks, and her dad, "a real nut nut", briefly played guitar in uncle Colin's band Men At Work- yes, they of 'I Come From A Land Down Under' fame- but "they kicked him out for being too in yer face." Early appearances singing Shangri-Las songs aside, Sia's musical leanings didn't get serious until she joined jazz-funk bar band Crisp at 17. "We thought we were really cutting edge," she sniggers with a roll of her eyes, "but we were trying way too hard."
In fact, Sia credits the biggest influence on both her and ‘Colour The Small One’ as touring with Zero 7. "That's when I actually started listening to music," she says with a grimace of embarrassment. "All the other music I'd listened to in my life had been incidental; in clubs, cars, lifts. I only owned 2 CDs: a Jackson 5 anthology and Jeff Buckley's Grace. While we were on tour, the Zero 7 guys were always talking about artists I'd never heard of, so I bought a Discman and started listening to their James Taylor, Nick Drake, Harry Neilson, Randy Newman and Django Bates CDs. And it all just really blew me away."
‘Colour The Small One’s’ lyrical roots, however, run much deeper. After three years fronting Crisp, Sia packed her bags and headed off with an open ended ticket on a round the World trip. After enjoying colourful times in some unusual places, she agreed to meet up in London with the man she describes as her 'first true love'. A week before she arrived, he was run down and killed by a black cab on Kensington High Street.
"Nearly everything on the first album was about that," she says, her chirpy facade slipping. "I was pretty fucked up after Dan died. I couldn't really feel anything. I could intellectualise a lot of stuff; that I had a purpose, that I was loved, but I couldn't actually feel anything. The last album was very deflective. This one's very exposing. I think that's the difference between the two albums, the first was intellectualising, this one is feeling." Catching herself being uncharacteristically serious, she quickly deflects with a half chuckle of, "and I'd quit drinking. That was probably what it was."
Bully, the track she wrote with Beck has similarly serious roots. "There was this kid at school who I used to be really cruel to, and I've felt bad about it ever since. It got to the point where I was having nightmares about it. So I wanted to write a sorry song." Thankfully, the collaboration itself had happier origins. "The last date of the Zero 7 tour was a festival at the Universal Amphitheatre in LA and Beck was on the same bill. Next thing he's ringing Zero 7's management asking if I'd like to duet with him." Understandably she said yes, and found herself on stage singing 'You're The One That I Want' from Grease. "I suggested it as a joke; but we changed the major to a minor, made it really slow and turned it into a bit of a country stalker anthem."
The Beck and Zero 7 connections- Sia's already recorded two more tracks to their next album - give the biggest clues to ‘Untitled’ and the giggling Australian's current intentions. "I don't want to be a superstar, doing all that wibbly-wobbly stuff. It's too emotionally stressful; photo shoots always make me want to have plastic surgery. I just wanted to write an album that was me: a small, weird, needy freak. It's a slow burner, but it's honest."
‘Colour The Small One’ is released in the UK on 12th January 2004.
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sia is gifted. | Reviewer: siafan | 10/13/12
I love siaaaaa! There is no other singer like her who has so much creativity. I wish she had a concert in the USA:( I hope she will have one in the near future. My favorite singer.
Found ! | Reviewer: ho | 10/12/12
I was looking for some music files for my video. Found Sia in my computer left behind by my son for me. Used soon well be found for my short video and later got hooked on day too soon. Her music just played on endlessly without me getting sick of it . It hangs around me and goes on and on,,,
isolated but cheered me up | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/15/12
I have always been an outsider and even though I had to see the movie Cyberbully to hear this song in which it extremely got to me, the lyrics drifted me away. I am a loner in eigth grade more then ever with two friends by my side at least that's all ill ever need. With 9th grade on its way I hope I am not lost.
TRUE TALENT | Reviewer: Denise | 2/3/12
I think she is totally AWESOME!!
She has a Voice like no other in the world of ordinary dribbled tones, mixes and vocals generated by a computers. She has a true love of music that motivates her voice/vocals to become a Talent and Entertainment. The world of music only has room for a few of these special people! Her lyrics are as sensitive as she seems to be as well as playful and innocent with natural worldly education.
You are a true Gem Sia!
Not bad | Reviewer: Nora | 3/8/11
She does have a few upbeat songs. She's up and coming again. You have to have a different taste to like her songs, i think. She's nothing like the stuff that's gone mainstream now, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
A Bit Sappy | Reviewer: Katie | 2/22/11
I didn't like the songs or the artist, she is way to sappy and so sad that its unbelievable to hear the way she drags on and on about how life is so depressing. Not at all fun to listen to and not in the least interesting to sit down to have a great time listening to good music. Wouldn't recommend her to anyone really, not if you enjoy upbeat good music cause this is so far from it it will make your day depressing and a real drag.
Be good to me | Reviewer: Melissa | 12/9/10
The first time I herd this song was at work. I looked into the artist and was pleased to find out that she has more to love. I think that Sia has one of the most unique voices of her time. I will remain a fan of hers forever. This song gives me chill bumps.
Just Discovered Her | Reviewer: Mike C | 11/21/10
I heard "Lullaby" last week for the first time. I did not have a clue who sung the song. After a little research with the help of the net, bingo! Sia. A handful of music and songs hit me hard - Lullaby is one of them. Simply over the top and around again.
:)<333 | Reviewer: Venesia | 3/5/10
I Can't even begin to Explain how I feel towards this artist.
When I say artist I mean it in every way;
She has such an artistic soul,
Such an exquisite way to do her job.
I loooooooooooooove Sia Furler!
She's so amazing & Her music makes me want to get lost, Lost with myself.
Or that one person<3
Her Music is just all around touching & makes you feel like you are in your own world full of peace rememberring your problems,
But yet escaping from them; Because with her music you feel like with even all the problems in the world; Everything is going to be alright<3
I love you Sia!
Keep on making music that makes my soul float:)
Music has always been my muse | Reviewer: Michael | 12/14/09
I heard a snippet of a song highlighting a Lincoln Car commercial. I fell in love with the voice, and had to find out who sang it. Of course I found out--- It's what I do! Sia, you have totally won me over. Your video of "Buttons" had me smile for hours after the song ended. My Grand-Daughter is a big fan as well. She like "Little Black Sandals." All I ask is to please rush my membership through to your official site.
Keep up the fantastic music, and I love ya...
Jazz and Soul at it's best | Reviewer: Jennifer | 1/27/09
She just makes me sing along with her even if you can't understand all of the words since she kind mumbles but I LOVE it.
I first saw her by accident on Direct TV 101 concert Ch. and fell in love right away. There are a few songs that are not my fav but most I like. Day Too Soon and Academia are some of my favs. All makes for good background music as well.
Sia keep up the great work!!
*sigh* =) | Reviewer: Hailey | 10/21/08
The first time that I heard Sia I was on my way to a jazz band show in LA. My friend Jon had introduced me and said I would love it. He was right. But i more than loved her music. It shook me to my soul, my core. I was literally crying in the backseat. It brought me back to memories of the love I had lost. It seems as if she was singing my feelings to me. She is so very talented. I can't wait to go to one of her concerts
Don't stop amazing me!<3
Raw soulful musical empathy. | Reviewer: Echo | 2/1/08
I saw Sia's new Cd at Starbucks and I thought this girl is awesome; Crayola markers drawn on her face singing into a handful of markers!
I went home and downloaded some of her music off one of the file-shares and a day later I went out and purchase two of her cd's because I was so touched. The first song I heard was Don't bring me down.
I don't have the best words to describe how it touched me, but it's raw soulful nature and passion had me back in my chair with my breath taken away and I was crying. Somehow her voice found the narrow path to my core, and just kept resonating.
Sia's has special poetic gift of being able to translate some of the most intimate feelings into musical empathy.
I know nothing really of Sia, but what is evident is that she has the ability to communicate the raw deeply hidden feelings that usually never make it to the surface; the feelings so intense, that you can't usually find the words.
To put it another way: If you understand the raw, blissful, passionate feeling of being in new relationship that just consumes you in mind, body, and spirit... and if additionally you know the "what if's" and hesitations associated in the beginnings of a relationship like this while you are dumbed and speechless to find the words to express how you feel... then you'll just have a glimpse of the poetry that she enunciates.
Not everyone will understand this but additionally there is a theme that I see here and I am not sure if it is implied or if my own association. But there is also a childlike spirit in the sense that is portrayed on her cd cover (with marker pens and all)... and after listening to her music and hearing the raw soulful poetry; it made me think of a biblical verse where Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
unsure? | Reviewer: anonymousness lol | 1/16/08
i'm actually not sure if i like this artist yet. i usually go for songs/artists with more descriptive, original lyrics...(i'm not saying that this isn't original,though) are the beautiful piano accompaniments and soulful voice enough to win my heart? i'm still not sure. D: i guess i'll just have to hear more...
Hi Sia Furler | Reviewer: Christoph Furler | 11/10/05
I searched in the internet peoples with the surname Furler. Then the surname Furler is very rare in the europe and the world. I found your name in the web.
My name's Christoph Furler and I am Swiss. I am 21 years old and I am a metalworker.
Are you song in the switzerland? In a Concert. In Zürich or Basel. The surname Furler came from Elsass, Near to Basel.
Here is my email-adress firstname.lastname@example.org
When you will write a letter.
The following area is only for review,
Recommend the artist to your friends.