Sia: a true artist, but threat to true artistry

By Managing Editor

When I first saw the viral music video for Sia’s “Chandelier” in 2014, I was astounded. The video’s carefully crafted moody visuals and the song’s meticulously written and honest lyrics had me convinced of Sia’s genuine artistry. 

Amid the growing hype surrounding the enigmatic singer underneath the signature platinum blonde wig, I even went as far as to praise her as “the savior of pop music” with my friends.

Soon after, her album 1000 Forms of Fear dropped and only solidified my appreciation for the artist. Tracks like “Fire Meet Gasoline” and “Big Girls Cry” highlighted her songwriting capabilities, justifying her status as pop music’s hottest songwriter.

Sia was the writer behind some of the biggest hit songs at the time, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.”

Her skill at writing hit songs without jeopardizing their originality and ability to hold a deeper meaning convinced me that she was the creative solution to a music industry supersaturated with generic songs lacking individuality as well as emotional and intellectual substance, but I was mistaken.

Rather than saving the pop music industry, Sia is enabling it.

Sia’s seventh studio album (her second since launching into pop superstardom with “Chandelier”), This Is Acting, is scheduled to be released Jan. 29.

While the singer-songwriter’s previous six albums were composed of songs written for herself, This Is Acting includes songs she wrote for other people that were rejected.

Since the album’s promotional campaign began with the Sept. 24 release of its lead single “Alive,” originally intended to be on Adele’s album 25, Sia has been very open about her songwriting process for other artists.

In an interview with Rolling Stone published Dec. 3, Sia admitted that when she goes into the studio to write with another artist, she becomes their “bitch,” admitting that the process feels like the “enemy of creativity.”

“I choose the people [I work with] because they’re so incredibly talented, and they check their egos at the door too and allow me to be the artist,” Sia said.

The problem with this approach is that Sia is allowing major artists to capitalize on talents that are not their own.

The songs Sia writes are creative and meaningful, but some of that meaning is lost when she’s writing for somebody else’s experience. The music loses its authenticity and becomes yet another product of the pop music machine.

Rather than writing songs for major artists, Sia should take full ownership of her music and keep it for herself—not just the rejects. This would give Sia and other true songwriters worthy of recognition the praise that they deserve.