Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (born 18 December 1975), better known as Sia (pron.: /sɪə/or pron.: /ˈsiːə/), is an Australian downtempo, pop, and jazz singer and songwriter. In 2000, her single "Taken for Granted" was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. Her 2008 album Some People Have Real Problems peaked in the top 30 on the Billboard 200. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won the award for 'Best Music DVD' and received six nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 and won 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Pop Release' for We Are Born and 'Best Video' for the song "Clap Your Hands". Furler has also collaborated and performed with Zero 7, Christina Aguilera and more recently Hilltop Hoods, David Guetta, Flo Rida, Afrojack, Shakira and Rihanna. She collaborated on Billboard Hot 100 top ten hits, "Titanium" with DJ David Guetta, and "Wild Ones" with rapper Flo Rida. Both achieved international success.
1975-1995: Early life and career beginnings edit:
Furler was born in Adelaide, South Australia on 18 December 1975. She went to North Adelaide Primary School. Her father, Phil B. Colson, was a musician in various bands including Foreday Riders, Rum Jungle, Fat Time, Jump Back Jack, and Mount Lofty Rangers. Her mother, Loene Furler, is a singer, songwriter, musician, and art lecturer who also provided backing vocals for Mount Lofty Rangers. Her parents were both in an Adelaide rockabilly band, The Soda Jerx. Furler is the niece of U.K. based actor/singer Kevin Colson. Singer/songwriter Colin Hay of Men at Work though not related, is affectionately known as "Uncle Colin". "Philby" Colson played slide guitar on Men at Work's last single, "Everything I Need" from their album Two Hearts, then toured extensively with "The Colin Hay Band" in 1988. In her 2008 NPR Music interview, she said that she had mimicked other singers while growing up and counts Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting as her early influences. She attended Adelaide High School. At fourteen, Furler said, her parents had enough money to pay for her getting her now famous snaggletooth removed, or a chance to attend school in Italy. Furler chose Italy, and she said that she doesn't regret keeping her snaggletooth.
Discovering her voice in a karaoke bar while in Italy, taking a university gap year, Sia explains to Gigwise: "I got up and sang at this karaoke bar in Italy. I didn't like any of the songs they had so I just got them to clap their hands and sang 'Lean On Me' by Bill Withers." Because of her unique singing voice, Furler was offered the chance to record a song by a local DJ who happened to be in the bar. Fourteen years on and it all seems rather distant and amusing, as Sia recounts holding back the laughter: "I was seventeen and writing about racism and homophobia; I had a message and wanted to change the world. Then I went back to university in Adelaide (the University of Adelaide) to finish studying Italian and Politics and I hated it after having spent a year out of school, so I quit straight away."
1996-2000: Crisp and OnlySee edit:
In the early 1990s, Furler started gigging in the Adelaide acid jazz scene and at the age of 17, joined the jazz funk band, Crisp. Crisp included Furler on vocals, Jesse Flavell on guitar, Jeremy Glover on bass guitar, Sam Langley, Ben Timmis on keyboards, Steve Rooney on drums. The group released two albums: Word and the Deal (1996) and Delerium (1997). By 1997, Furler had left Crisp and as a trip hop artist, released her debut solo album OnlySee from an Adelaide garage - which sold 1,200 copies, 1,000 in Adelaide alone. It was produced by former Crisp band mate Flavell, who also wrote most of the tracks, for Flavoured Records. During a November 1997 episode of Home and Away in her OnlySee days, Sia guest starred on the show and she sang a song called "How to Breathe" on a beach after Rebecca and Travis are declared husband and wife. Furler and her boyfriend, Dan, travelled together on a world trip, she stopped off in Thailand. Dan was killed in a traffic accident in London, a week before she arrived. She lived in a London boarding house with Dan's friends. In 2007 Furler recalled the impact of Dan's death, "We were all devastated, so we got shit-faced on drugs and Special Brew. Unfortunately, that bender lasted six years for me."
2000-2007: Healing is Difficult and Colour the Small One edit:
In 2000, Furler signed a recording contract with the Sony Music's sub-label Dance Pool. While living in London, she performed backing vocals for Jamiroquai, a British jazz funk band. On 9 July 2001 she released her second solo album, Healing is Difficult, an eclectic mix of R&B and jazz, that was favourably received by critics. All the tracks were written or co-written by Furler and it was co-produced by Furler and Blair Mackichan. The album included the songs "Drink to Get Drunk" and "Little Man" which became popular in UK nightclubs. The album's single "Taken for Granted", peaked at No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart for one week, 3 June 2000 but was on the chart for five weeks. The album's lyrics dealt with her boyfriend's death, "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." Unhappy with the promotion of the album, Furler fired her manager, left Sony Music and signed with Go! Beat Records, a subsidiary of UMG. At the APRA Awards of 2002, Furler won the 'Breakthrough Songwriter' category alongside Brisbane pop duo Aneiki's Jennifer Waite and Grant Wallis.
In 2003, Furler released an extended play, Don't Bring Me Down, its lead track was used over the closing titles of the French film, 36 Quai des Orfèvres. Her second album, Colour the Small One, was released in Australia on 19 January 2004 and in Europe later that year. This downtempo album had Furler employ a mixture of acoustic instruments and electronic backing to her material, which led to comparisons to artists such as Dido and Sarah McLachlan. It featured "The Bully", which was a collaboration with American musician Beck Hansen. Two further songs were co-written with Beck and recorded, but have yet to be released. Colour the Small One spawned the singles "Breathe Me" and "Where I Belong". The latter was earmarked for the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, its cover depicts Furler dressed in a Spider-Man costume. However, owing to a record label conflict, it was withdrawn. Six tracks on the album had been co-written with her bass guitarist faris, Samuel Dixon.
In early 2005, Furler left Go! Beat Records, disappointed at the company's poor promotion of the album, and the failure of the label's US counterpart to pick up the record. She relocated to New York City. Meanwhile, "Breathe Me" appeared on the series finale of the US HBO television series Six Feet Under and the broadcast of the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It was also used in an episode of the BBC show "Luther" (Season 1, Episode 5). The track had been licensed to Astralwerks - which also produces the Six Feet Under soundtracks - and Colour the Small One was given an American release by that label in early 2006. Furler toured the US throughout that year, promoting the album and cross-promoting the Six Feet Under season five DVD release. The US version of the album features four bonus tracks: "Broken Biscuit" (from the Don't Bring Me Down EP), "Sea Shells" (the B-side to "Breathe Me" in the UK) and two remixes of "Breathe Me" by Four Tet and Ulrich Schnauss.
2008-2009: Zero 7, Lady Croissant and Some People Have Real Problems edit:
Sia Furler has provided vocals for English downtempo group Zero 7 (musical duo of Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker) on their first three studio albums and has toured with the band. She is heard on their hit singles "Destiny" and "Distractions" from their debut album, Simple Things, released in April 2001. Their second album, When It Falls appeared in March 2004 and featured Furler voicing "Somersault" and "Speed Dial No. 2". Their third album, The Garden issued May 2006, found six contributions from Furler, with two ("Throw It All Away" and "You're My Flame") released as singles in the UK and North America. Simple Things reached the UK Albums Chart top 30 and both When It Falls and The Garden peaked in the top 5.
On 3 April 2007, Furler released a live album, Lady Croissant, in the US. It featured eight live songs from her April 2006 performance at New York's Bowery Ballroom. One new studio track - "Pictures" - was included on the album.Allmusic's Marissa Brown felt "The recordings sound good, the band ... tight and lush, and Sia herself is spot-on, her vocals rich and passionate." In November, a four-song EP, Day Too Soon, was issued on iTunes, which included the tracks "Day Too Soon", "Buttons", "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine", and a remix of "Day Too Soon" by Mock & Toof. "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" reached No. 8 and "Day Too Soon" peaked at No. 24 on Billboard's Dance Music Club Play Singles Chart.
Furler's third studio album, Some People Have Real Problems, was released in January 2008, which peaked in the top 30 on the Billboard 200. Its first single, "Day Too Soon", was issued in November 2007. A video for the song "Buttons" was created. The track "Little Black Sandals" was featured on the television show Private Practice in the season one episode, "In Which Addison Finds a Showerhead". Also in January 2008, Furler performed "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It has remix versions by Sander van Doorn, Stonebridge, and Jens O. The Sander van Doorn remix was a hit in the Netherlands, reaching the No. 11 spot on the Dutch Singles Chart and it peaked at No. 12 on the Spanish Singles Chart. Furler and her band members wore glow-in-the-dark costumes on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in January, performing "Buttons" and "Breathe Me". The Mylo remix of "Breathe Me" was used in the nightly segment "Wall Street Crisis: Is Your Money Safe?" during the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Furler's music video, "Soon We'll Be Found", was used on the US front page of the iTunes Music Store. Customers were able to download a high quality version of the video for free. Her cover of Ray Davies' "I Go to Sleep" appeared on the TV shows Dollhouse ("Gray Hour" episode) and Packed to the Rafters ("Perfect Bubble" episode).
In May 2009, Furler released TV Is My Parent on DVD, which includes a live concert at New York's Hiro Ballroom on 12 September 2007, four music videos and behind-the-scenes footage. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won the award for 'Best Music DVD' for TV Is My Parent.Some People Have Real Problems was nominated for 'Best Breakthrough Artist Album'.
2010-present: We Are Born, worldwide recognition and upcoming album edit:
Furler approached Christina Aguilera's manager in 2007 to record "Death by Chocolate" and Aguilera contacted Furler herself. During 2009, Furler and Samuel Dixon collaborated with Aguilera on tracks for the US artist's sixth studio album, Bionic (2010). Three of the songs were included on the standard version and a fourth was included on the deluxe edition. Furler, Aguilera and Dixon also co-wrote "Bound to You" for the soundtrack of Burlesque of the film of the same name, which was performed by Aguilera who co-starred with Cher. "Bound to You" was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In May 2011, Furler appeared on the inaugural season of the U.S. version of a singing competition, The Voice, as an adviser for Aguilera who is a vocal coach and judge.
Furler released her fifth studio album, We Are Born, on 18 June 2010. She had performed some new material from the album ("You've Changed", "The Co-Dependent" and "Clap Your Hands") during her 2009-2010 tours. In 2008, "The Co-Dependent" was expected to be part of an animated pop project, "The H-Crusaders". The album's first single, "Clap Your Hands" was issued in May. The track "You've Changed" was premièred on music blog, Sheena Beaston, on 18 November 2009. It was co-written with Lauren Flax, American DJ and producer, and was originally released in 2008 by Flax, Furler re-recorded it for We Are Born. "You've Changed" peaked at No. 31 on the ARIA Singles Chart. It was played in the television show The Vampire Diaries, while "I'm in Here" (piano vocal version) was used in Gossip Girl, Rookie Blue, a Canadian police drama, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, and Nikita. "You've Changed" placed 72nd in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2009, despite being only available from December, her track "Buttons" (CSS Remix) appeared in 50th place.
She received six nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 and won 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Pop Release' for We Are Born while Kris Moyes won 'Best Video' for "Clap Your Hands". The album was also nominated for 'Album of the Year', and "Clap Your Hands" was nominated for 'Single of the Year'. "Clap Your Hands" peaked at No. 17 on the ARIA Singles Chart. It earned Furler and co-writer Samuel Dixon a nomination for 'Song of the Year' at the 2011 APRA Music Awards. The album received gold album accreditation by the Australian Recording Industry Association in 2011 for shipment of 35000 units.
According to her Twitter site, Furler wanted to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 2010 season. Furler did not appear on the show, although the trailer for Oprah's final season featured "Breathe Me". In June 2010, Furler cancelled her touring commitments and later announced that she had been diagnosed with Graves' disease, after rest and treatment she resumed performing from January 2011. She performed at the Big Day Out concerts in New Zealand and Australia. Further touring of Australia followed in February. According to Furler's website, her tour of North America is due to start in late July. During the 2012 Royal Rumble, a Pay-Per-View produced by the WWE, a promo featured in between matches where the Flo Rida song "Wild Ones" that she features on was used in the background. The song would later feature in the following weeks for various other WWE content and would later be announced as one of the theme songs for WWE's biggest show of the year, WrestleMania XXVIII. Sia also provided vocals for David Guetta's song "Titanium" released on 5 August 2011, which can be found on his album Nothing but the Beat. Sia also performed this song live alongside Guetta at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2012, as well as featuring in Guetta's 2012 single "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)".
On 30 March 2012, Sia released the career retrospective Best Of... in Australia. It peaked at No. 27 on the Australian Albums chart. She recorded "Kill and Run" for the soundtrack of the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby.
Covers and other contributions edit:
In November 2005, Furler recorded, "Sweet One", as a duet with fellow Australian singer Katie Noonan (ex-George). It was expected to be included on each artists' next solo albums but it did not appear on Furler's Some People Have Real Problems nor Noonan's Skin. "Sweet One" appeared on Katie Noonan and the Captain's album, Emperor's Box (2010). In 2006, Furler recorded a cover version of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android", which appeared on the tribute album, Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads. It was used on an episode of teen drama The O.C..
Furler provided backing vocals on The Bird and the Bee's cover version of the Bee Gees's "How Deep Is Your Love", which appears on the soundtrack for the Sex and the City film (2008). The Bird and the Bee's Greg Kurstin produced Furler's 2010 album We Are Born; he also provided keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, drums and xylophone; and co-wrote five tracks. Kurstin's band mate, Inara George provided additional vocals. Furler collaborated with Lior on the song "I'll Forget You" for his album, Corner of an Endless Road (2008). In August, "Breathe Me" was licensed to Coles Supermarkets Australia and appeared in their commercial airing during coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In October, she performed two songs on the BBC2 TV show, Later... with Jools Holland - "Buttons" and "Soon We'll Be Found". Furler's song "Breathe Me" is used as the backing music for the Tokyo Game Show trailer of the video game Prince of Persia, published by Ubisoft in 2008, also for the trailer of the 2005 film Derailed, as well as the final sequence for the TV show Six Feet Under and the film The Ultimate Gift.
In 2009, Furler contributed backing vocals on "Carol Brown" and "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute" for Flight of the Conchords' second album, I Told You I Was Freaky. She appeared on the Swedish singer Peter Jöback's album East Side Stories on the cover song duet "Wicked Game", written by Chris Isaak. She provides guest vocals on the song "Never So Big" on David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's concept album Here Lies Love released in 2010.
Her cover of The Church song "Under the Milky Way" was used in a Lincoln MKT car commercial, and in January 2010, was released to the iTunes Store. She has performed cover versions of Britney Spears's "Gimme More", Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", Grease's "You're the One That I Want" - a duet with Beck, and the Madonna song "Oh Father". Also in 2010, Furler contributed "My Love" to the soundtrack of the third instalment of The Twilight Saga pentalogy. The soundtrack debuted at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart.
In 2011, "Lullaby" was played in the season finale of The Big C and in episode 1 of season 4 of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, while "Breathe Me" can be heard in the ABC film Cyberbully.
Furler co-wrote and sang "Titanium" for David Guetta's 2011 album, Nothing But the Beat by DJ David Guetta. According to Sia's official Twitter, she described "Titanium" in more vivid detail: "It's amazing that 40 minutes of my life and zero promo turned into my most successful song to date." "Titanium" has since reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and is the most successful song of her prolific 15-year career. She collaborated with Guetta again in 2012 for his Nothing But the Beat 2.0 digital re-release on the song "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)", which was released as the albums lead single on 21 August 2012 and peaked at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart.
She also wrote a few songs for Madonna's 2012 album, MDNA. But on 21 December 2011, Furler reported on her Twitter that: "Sadly none of my submissions made the new Madonna record. 'trust' if it exists, was not written by me. Rumor!"
Furler also sings on Flo Rida's song "Wild Ones", which reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart, and also on the Adelaide-based band Hilltop Hoods' song "I Love It" which has reached No. 6 on the ARIA Singles Chart as of 27 February 2012.
Tegan Quin announced via Twitter in March 2012 that Sia had been into the studio and contributed vocals to Tegan and Sara's forthcoming studio album, Heartthrob, due for release in January 2013.
She co-wrote the hit single "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)" by Ne-Yo off his fifth album R.E.D.
In August 2012, songwriter Claude Kelly revealed Sia was one of the many individuals working on Rihanna's seventh studio album Unapologetic. In September 2012, Sia announced via Facebook that she wrote the lyrics and melody for Diamonds, the first single from Rihanna's seventh studio album.
It has also been revealed that Ke$ha collaborated with Sia on the singer's second studio album. Furler worked on Christina Aguilera's fifth studio album Lotus, on a song titled "Blank Page". She also co-wrote the song Radioactive for Rita Ora in 2013.
Personal life edit:
Furler's parents, Phil Colson and Loene Furler, were members of Adelaide-based rockabilly band, The Soda Jerx. Colson is a composer, playwright and band leader, Loene is an art lecturer, musician and songwriter. Furler described her boyfriend, Dan, as her "first true love". As mentioned above, the couple travelled together on a world trip, she stopped off in Thailand while he continued to London. There, Dan was killed in a traffic accident, a week before Furler was due to arrive.
In 2008, Furler discussed her bisexuality in interviews with Scotland on Sunday and AfterEllen.com. She was included on a list of gay entertainers in the June-July 2009 issue of The Advocate. In both 2009 and 2010, Furler was nominated by readers of SameSame.com.au as one of the 25 most influential lesbian and gay Australians, though she is bisexual. According to Furler, "I've always been honest if anyone ever asked me. Before I was actually successful I'd always said I've always dated boys and girls and anything in between. I don't care what gender you are, it's about people. I didn't just recently open up, I just recently got famous! I've always been... well, flexible is the word I would use." In June 2010, Furler expressed a wish to marry her then girlfriend JD Samson of electro-punk band Le Tigre. The couple has since broken up.
In June 2010, Furler's official website announced that all scheduled promotional events and shows had been cancelled due to her poor health. She cited extreme lethargy and panic attacks and considered retiring permanently from performing and touring. According to her Twitter account she was diagnosed with Graves' disease - an autoimmune disorder with an over-active thyroid. Four months later, in an ARIA Awards interview Furler said her health was improving after rest and thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Furler has said she will release an album in the summer of 2012 and will refrain from touring temporarily.
Furler, who is a vegetarian, participated in an advertisement for PETA Asia-Pacific, with her dog, Pantera, to encourage pet neutering. Furler has also joined other publicly known figures for the "Oscar's Law" campaign, in protest against the factory farming of companion animals. Other advocates include Jon Stevens (singer), Paul Dempsey (musician) and Missy Higgins (musician).