Australian singer Sia is promoting her sixth album, 1000 Forms of Fear, and she’s been doing plenty of interviews. The NYT recently interviewed Sia in a lengthy profile, and she refused to be photographed for the feature. That piece is really long, but it digs deep into Sia’s troubled past and is worth a read. Sia is notoriously reclusive and has taken to performing with a bag (or backwards wig) on her head or only after donning heavy face makeup (as shown above for Jimmy Kimmel last week). Sia and Shia both wear bags on their heads. Ha.
In recent years, Sia has made her living by writing songs for other pop stars like Beyonce, Flo Rida Rihanna, and Britney Spears. She’s a songwriting genius. She wrote Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 20 minutes. Sia told NPR that she wrote and recorded her current single, “Chandelier,” in under an hour. I’ve cobbled together a few of Sia’s recent interviews. She started smoking pot at age 13, and she says it caused her bipolar disorder:
Her bipolar origins? “I don’t think it’s f—ed up childhood [that caused my bipolar disorder], in my case. I refrain from blaming anything on my parents. I think that everyone does their best and if they didnt do their best they’re just sick too. What I do think is that I smoked too much pot when I was a kid. I think it f—ed my brain up.”
She loves label makers: “I’m getting labels to put of the back of my sofa like, ‘The Couch That Flo Rida Bought,’ and, ‘The House That David Guetta Bought,’ ‘Thanks, Britney, For This Window Treatment.’”
On music & fashion: “I understand that music is fashion, and I’m fashionable right now. You get, maybe, two, three good years running, so I’m just exploiting it right now.”
On Chandelier: “I wrote this one, and I was like, ‘Oh, this would be great for Rihanna,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think I can give it away. I think I might have just written a pop song for myself.’ I was attached to it. [It] is a song about the demoralization of alcoholism”
Who is she as an artist? “It’s very subjective; I have no idea. As a person, I’m a good person who shows up for my friends. I do my best to be good. As an artist, I have no idea. I just sort of show up for the process. It’s just channeling, really. I feel like it has nothing to do with me.”
On the title 1000 Forms of Fear: “I just heard someone say it once. One of my friends was having a baby and I asked her how she was doing and she said, ‘Oh you know, the usual: a thousand forms of fear.’ And I said, ‘Can I call my album that?’”
Can smoking pot really cause bipolar disorder? That’s a pretty controversial assertion. I’m no mental health expert (of course), but genetic vulnerability must exist before someone can develop such a disease, right? Stress and substance abuse can be triggers, but they don’t cause the bipolar disease all by themselves. Help me out here, folks.
Sia hasn’t always refused to be photographed. Here she is with Alan Cumming at NYC fashion week 2011. She also stepped out for the Trevor Project last month.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN