Who is Sia?
Australian chanteuse Sia Furler was mostly unknown before August of 2005, when her song "Breathe Me" was the soundtrack to the stunning montage that concluded the HBO series Six Feet Under. "That really saved my bacon!" laughs Furler from Los Angeles. The show's music supervisors (who both host programs on radio station KCRW) used her song in a rough cut of the scene. "But then they edited the scene to it," she continues. "And as they were looking for the right track, everyone started to believe that it was the right track, and they didn't bother replacing it!"
Due to this new exposure, Astralwerks is reissuing her album Colour the Small One, originally released in 2004 in Australia and England. Colour is a mellow collection, placing the lushness of Mazzy Star against Furler's textured vocals, often reminiscent of Nelly Furtado. Furler pairs her music's understated elegance with introspective lyrics that hint of darker times: She was hospitalized for depression several years ago. "I did a lot of hard work to get back to being a whole person," she confesses. "I wrote songs to myself, just to get through the day." The frustration in "The Church of What's Happening Now" was a reaction to that time, while the morose "The Bully" (cowritten with Beck) suggests a troubled childhood.
In addition to her solo work, Furler sings with UK electronica outfit Zero 7, and she has contributed several tracks to their new album, due for release this spring. Her performance with Zero 7 is a stark contrast to her solo work: "[Colour] is all about holding back rather than letting go," she says. "With the Zero 7 stuff, I get to really sing out."
Furler is working on a new solo album, which she hopes to record with an orchestra. She is also working with Greg Kurstin on an animated music project, similar to the multimedia work of the band Gorillaz. The project centers around a humanitarian superhero called the H-Crusader. Looking back at the opportunities granted to her through Six Feet Under, Furler puts it bluntly: "It definitely changed my life!"
- Catherine P. Lewis
.: Originally published: Harp Magazine: January/February 2006