Known to be somewhat of a recluse, Sia likes to perform with her back to the audience because she’s uncomfortable in the spotlight.
She's also not the most keen on doing interviews, but in a revelatory chat with Howard Stern, the Australian singer and hugely successful songwriter opened up about her bipolar disorder and her less-than-smooth career track.
Despite writing some of the most memorable pop songs of late, the 38-year-old has faced a number of ups and downs and has worked tirelessly through mental illness – though her rocket to fame seemed like an even, upward trajectory ever since her hit “Breathe Me” was featured in the series finale of Six Feet Under.
But Sia doesn’t see her life in this way. She says of the show taking on her single for the finale: “It resuscitated my truly dying career.”
These days, if there's a pop starlet at the top of the charts, there’s a good chance Sia played a part in their success. She has written songs for Rita Ora, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Kesha, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Jessie J, to name a few.
The 38-year-old also told Howard that the Rihanna hit “Diamonds” wasn’t always the polished pop song that dominated airwaves – it started off as a bunch of gibberish set to a beat she created in 20 minutes or so.
As for “Pretty Hurts,” the now infamous Beyoncé track? That wasn’t even meant for the former Destiny’s Child lead – it was first offered to Katy Perry, and then Rihanna, who sat on it for over eight months without locking it down. In the end, Rihanna sacrificed “Pretty Hurts” for “Diamonds” and both pop darlings walked away with massive, chart-topping hits.
“I didn’t want to be famous, but I wanted a way to make my gift work,” said Sia, discussing how she never sought fame and why she finds comfort in writing for other people.
Her powerful performance on Ellen recently, during which Sia stood in the corner with her back to the audience while 11-year-old Maddie Ziegler performed a dance and lip-synced the words to "Chandelier," reinforced her desire to shine through her art, not her self.
Sia added, “The clapping and people being interested in me was not feeding my soul. When I got sober and was diagnosed with bipolar, too, I was just like I need to change everything.”
And it definitely seems to be working.