Sia | Dirty Dancing

prof_sia-cd"I'd always fantasized that my songs would be in movies and TV shows, and it was a real treat that that's happened to me, you know?"

 

 

 

 

Until recently, Sia was a relatively unknown musician in the United States, unless you happened to stumble across a Zero 7 song on which her rich, distinctive voice appears. But her presence here changed dramatically when her song "Breathe Me" appeared on an episode of Six Feet Under. Over the phone, Sia explains genially, "I'd always fantasized that my songs would be in movies and TV shows, and it was a real treat that that's happened to me, you know?"

prof_siaWith her share of bad luck and hardships in the past, Sia was ready to call Colour the Small One (her latest album) a flop until Six Feet Under helped revive it. Although she's still modest about her success: "One waiter did say to me, at the Mustard Seed Cafe in L.A. where I sometimes have breakfast, ‘We do have your CD but when you come in the girls won't let me play it,' and I was like, ‘That's so nice, I really appreciate that.'" Just coming off a U.S. tour with her band—and previously a U.K. tour with Zero 7—she explains, "Most of my new friends are waitresses around the world."

Sia (full name Sia Kate Isobel Furler) has a full plate between Zero 7 and her own band. On fitting all together, she comments, "We want to continue a good relationship, so we're very flexible. It's always a pleasure, really. It sounds totally saccharine, but it's so true. I just fucking love them… Any reconvening is always a plus for us." And while a few songs on Colour the Small One sound similar to Zero 7's down-tempo style, her more acoustic sound and aching vocals set her apart.

It's hard to imagine, really, how such a bubbly personality can croon and sigh like she does. "Colour the Small One is quite difficult to do live," she says. "It was sort of just an album I needed to make, 'cause I was having a nervous breakdown. I've got a little bit more experience [now] and I know how difficult it is to convey really quiet, introspective songs live." This coming from a girl who decided she wanted to have a Luau theme for her tour.

"Breathe Me" is by far the most haunting song on Colour the Small One, although others aren't far behind. The intimate "Sweet Potato" waltzes through a narrative of a couple's day-to-day activities and reflects with lyrics such as, "How can he become the psychic that he longs to be to understand you?" The smooth, laid-back single, "Sunday," as well as the soulful "Where I Belong" highlight Sia's powerful voice: one that sometimes sounds like it was picked out of an old jazz standard, and other times from a girl who's humming along to her headphones.

And her creative mind doesn't stop at writing or singing. Her Web site features images of her in nine different outfits (including Superman and Elvis); as visitors click on each one, she does a dance—music provided, of course. "I was thinking, fuck, are there enough dances for the costumes I've got?" she jokes. Somehow, there are. | Kate Estwing

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