Sunday 24 September 2017

Now you Sia, now you don't

Sia's got a laugh more infectious than swine flu. It begins as an impromptu chortle, which escalates into a chuckle, then a whinny before ending finally in a ratatat fire of "hahahahahahahaHAHA!" We've only been speaking for five minutes, and she's spent at least three of them giggling. And so have I.

A hyperactive, eccentric blonde, Sia Furler first found fame as a vocalist with Zero 7 (Destiny, In the Waiting Line). Aside from that work, you might recognise Sia from her smash-hit single Breathe Me, a haunting, floating track, which also featured on Six Feet Under. "For people who haven't ever heard of me, I'd describe myself as 'easy listening', hahahahahahahaHAHAHAH." There's that laugh again. "Erm, 'nasal'? I'm doing well here."

She is doing well here, though. The extra promotion brought on by Breathe Me meant that she could leave Zero 7 to one side, and focus entirely on her solo career. She grins and explains: "I totally enjoyed my time in Zero 7. It was six years.

"We toured three albums together, and then I started to get a bit successful with my own solo career. It was simple at the start, as my solo career was so unsuccessful that the scheduling was really easy. And then when I started to get successful, I couldn't do both.

"I really miss them now. I have my own band that I've been playing with for 10 years, but Zero 7 were my family and I don't see them as much as I'd like. But I am glad I get to be the boss of my own direction."

Her new album We Are Born is a step away from her earlier introspective work, and is in her own words "just fucking fun pop music". It's a record that most accurately describes where she is now. Bubbly, fun and asking to be danced with, all We Are Born needs is a laugh of its own and it would be Sia in a CD case.

A roamer by nature, Sia finds it hard to stay in one place for too long. Born in Australia, she moved to London, had her heart broken, recovered and then went to America. "I'm not entirely sure why I move so often," she admits. "Probably, whenever things get uncomfortable, I leave. That's probably my modus operandi. Like, I broke up with someone, so I moved to LA, where I found myself in the same sort of spin and it became a bit awkward. So I left LA for NY. I'm still there, and I haven't fucked anything up yet, so hopefully I won't."

She certainly doesn't mince her words. As such, over the years, she's gained a reputation for having verbal diarrhoea -- a willingness to talk about anyone -- which has landed her in trouble with her friends before. Indeed, as we chat, she launches into a lengthy anecdote, only to stop halfway and cry: "Oh, sorry -- that's a private story." She pauses (cue a volley of giggles) and continues: "I've gotten much better at private stories. I'm really good now at not saying oopsie daisy things. I don't share secrets that aren't mine to share.

That doesn't mean she's reticent -- far from it. More than happy to talk about her love-life, Sia gushes over her new girlfriend, JD Samson, of Le Tigre. The couple met on MySpace, after Sia noticed Samson's profile, and in typically forthright fashion, decided she wanted a piece of the action. "We were embarrassed to tell people where we met," she laughs. "There was a stigma attached to meeting on MySpace. The thing is that I really was creepier than most people. I saw her picture, and I was like 'cute boy'. Oh, click. And then I was like 'oh, cute girl'. And then I asked my friends 'do any of you know her, I've got a crush on her'.

"And then, I couldn't find her. So I booked her to DJ at my after-party. And then I told her I fancied her. But she had a girlfriend, and I said 'if you break up with her, give me a call' -- and she did".

Now happily settled ("we never go to anything, not separately or together; we don't go to events, we go to our friends' house") the couple has discussed having children and, last year, collaborated on I'm Raising You to Be Average, a ditty in homage to their unborn offspring.

Although they're a hot topic in the celebrity dating world, you won't see them at any premieres any time soon. "Red carpets are terrifying," guffaws Sia. "Imagine this. You just walked in the room when you got here, and then 50 people are shouting either your name or a name that sounds like yours -- some are shouting 'Sia, Sia'. Some are shouting 'Sarah' and some are shouting 'Celia'. And they're shouting louder than anyone has ever shouted at anyone.

"If you can imagine, and they're all shouting and you're supposed to look like this (she walks around the room and mimics a typical red carpet pose). But like, what the fuck? Next time you look in Hello magazine, imagine that's what's going on, and the fact that they can remain so composed. In the three that I've been to, any photos of me, I look so scared. Like a dog in a bath. It's so boring as well."

A tech aficionado (she tweets regularly), Sia has made an uneasy ally in gossip blogger Perez Hilton. She feels uncomfortable about his endorsement (as Hilton has a reputation for maliciousness), but is in the unenviable position of needing his support at the same time.

Sighing, she attempts to explain her stance: "I've met Perez Hilton three times, and he really likes me. I'm lucky like that, and I'd like it to stay that way -- a happy distance. Obviously, it's scary because I don't really know him, but he's been very nice to me, the three times that we've met. And he's been supportive of my career.

"But I think that the things that he says can be really awful. And he said something really mean about someone recently, and I told him 'you're crazy'. He wrote back, but he didn't take it back, he just said something like 'hahaha, just kidding'.

"People on Twitter write to me, and say 'why do you respond to Perez, when he's mean to a lot of his friends'. I mean, come on -- it's basic survival."

For the first time in the half hour we've been speaking, Sia is at a loss for words. Shrugging, she continues: "I don't know him well enough to like him or to not like him. I just know that I'm not really into being mean to people. And I don't really know how to deal with that because of the position that he's in, and of the fact that I need his support. It's uncomfortable."

Our girl isn't glum for long though. Cracking a smile and a joke, we part ways. With a new album under her belt, a solid relationship behind her, and a fresh episode of Rock of Love waiting for her at home, Sia isn't going anywhere but up.

Day & Night has an exlusive download of Clap Your Hands on www.dayandnightmag.ie

Irish Independent

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