The Stunning Transformation Of Sia

The woman behind the blonde bob, Sia has been both performing and writing music for a long time now. And as fame has continued to grow, her attempts to avoid that Hollywood fame have done the same. Known for her amazing voice and distinct look, Sia continues to impress and gift us with incredible music. 


But what's the story of the woman behind the hair? She hasn't always kept her face behind those blonde locks, and quite a few of her past successes have gone under the radar. So let's take a look at the stunning transformation of Sia. From her looks to her music, her expertise has shown through.

Her childhood was not easy

Sia Furler was born in 1975 to an artist and teacher mother and a musically-talented father. Her childhood in Adelaide, Australia was anything but normal. She opened up during an interview with The Howard Stern Show (via Hollywood Life) about her years growing up and her struggles with her father. She said, "Growing up he had two very unique personalities. One was called Phil and one was called Stan... Phil was like the best dad ever... He was fun but he was eloquent and he was present and interesting and interested. When Stan came around stuff got scary."


But Sia does not blame her issues in childhood on her parents. She admitted during the interview to smoking pot when she was younger, which she believes led to her bipolar diagnosis that exists today. She said, "I don't think it's f****d up childhood [that caused my bi-polar disorder], in my case. I refrain from blaming anything on my parents. What I do think is that I smoked too much pot when I was a kid. I think it f****d my brain up."

Her musical career began in her teen years

According to The New York Times, when Sia was 17 years old in 1993, she discovered a local band, Crisp, and offered to be their singer. As one of the band members, Jesse Flavell, shared with the Times, "She opened her voice and we all kind of stopped in our tracks. And we all felt, O.K., this is going to work."


After a few years with the band, 21-year-old Sia attempted a solo career in 1997, but timing wasn't right, and she did not ultimately find success. Ready for a change in the late '90s, Sia planned to follow her boyfriend, who had moved to London. However, tragedy struck. As reported by The Guardian, her boyfriend was killed by a cab just before Sia planned to make her big move. This was a moment that affected Sia deeply and began a trend of self-destruction for the singer.

Even with success came struggle

Even after the death of her boyfriend, Sia still made the move to England, where she eventually joined British band Zero 7 as their lead singer in the early 2000s. Although Sia was performing music as she wanted, the loss of her boyfriend had a huge effect on her and encouraged her need for drugs and alcohol. 


As she described during an interview with The New York Times about being on the road performing, "I was in the back lounge, high on Xanax and alcohol, watching every episode of E.R. from the beginning." She went on to explain how touring made it all too easy to get away with things one otherwise might not. "When you're in a different place every day, there's this kind of madness that sets in. It's easy to get away with getting high, because everybody's drinking on the road. None of my friends thought I was an alcoholic, and neither did I."

When she decided to make a change

Sia's life continued to go in a downward spiral with drugs. In one instance, as she described to The New York Times, the singer asked a drug dealer for "two of everything," and later thought about committing suicide. It wasn't until 2010 that Sia saw where her life was headed and began to make changes. One of Sia's friends intervened, and the then 34-year-old decided to enter a 12-step program for her addiction.


Although a difficult time, this ended up being a big moment for Sia's music career. Around this time, she gained a new manager, Jonathan Daniel, who encouraged Sia to go on a new path; he advised her to take her emotions and talent and channel that into writing songs for other artists. This created entirely new opportunities for the singer.

How she became a voice for Hollywood

Since 2010, Sia has written songs for many different performers. From Rihanna to Beyonce and Celine Dion, this singer/songwriter has quite the impressive resume of tracks. Some songs are full of pop, while others can be very personal to the singers who are performing them. 


Sia spoke with The Guardian about one instance with Lea Michele, who wanted to write a song about her boyfriend, Cory Monteith, who passed away from a drug overdose. Sia described intense moments like this, saying, "I have so many secrets inside of me which belong to other people."

She continued on to describe the responsibility she feels when it comes to keeping these secrets. "What if I let something slip if I was ever talking to anyone? This stuff would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the gossip magazines. I felt burdened by it, but that passed, and the more I have taken on these secrets the more I realised it was actually good for my self-esteem, to know that I am trustworthy, that I can keep all the right secrets."


How she won with a cheesy sound

As Sia continued to reach success through songwriting, she found it to be a struggle when it came to creating what she considered "cheesy" music. As the 39-year-old described to Rolling Stone in 2015, "For me, 'Titanium' is very cheesy. And 'Wild Ones' is definitely 100 percent cheese. It was quite confronting to start writing in that way. I never intended or wanted either of those songs to be seen because I felt like it diluted my credibility because I found them to be very cheesy. I wanted other people to sing them, and I just wanted to collect the publishing checks at the end of the day."


But she was able to see the benefit of these songs, among others she has written. She said that, "the success of them helped erode my feelings of insecurity around how cheesy they were."

And just because a song is "cheesy," does not mean it can't evoke emotion from its listeners. Sia addressed this, saying, "I think I managed to trick people a little bit into thinking I'm more arty by making creative, artistic, visual work and applying it to commercial music. Maybe. I don't know."

How she came to perform again

While Sia continued to be very successful writing hits for other artists, a thought kept nagging at her, which she described to Interview Magazine. "I kept writing pop songs for other people, but it suddenly felt like I wanted them for my own album." 


Sia had not planned to perform anymore, but she couldn't stop thinking about the music. She continued on to say, "Sometimes after I finish the lyrics and have all the melodies and harmonies and the pop and vocal, I'll be like, 'I have to keep it. I love it too much.'"

What resulted was a spotlight on Sia as she brought her own voice and new sound to the music industry.

The girl behind the bob

In recent years, Sia is most known for her hidden look. While she continues to write songs for other performers, she is also performing again. With hits like "Chandelier" and "Cheap Thrills" Sia has become unstoppable. However, singing her own songs puts her right back in the spotlight — a place that is not her comfort zone.


Sia's solution for this was to remove her face from that spotlight. As the singer shared with NPR in 2014, "I guess a year and a half ago, maybe I was meditating and I thought, 'oh, I'll just be the blonde bob!'" Her thought process went deeper than this. She continued on to say, "I thought it would be a funny joke that I'm getting away with. And it was, partly, I don't wanna go out and sell my soul, my body, my peace of mind."

The look also was something new for the music industry, which Sia recognized. During her Carpool Karaoke session with James Corden in 2016 (via People), she shared, "I was a singer for 10 or 11 years to mediocre success. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I sobered up, and I decided I didn't want to be an artist anymore, because I was starting to get a little bit famous and it was destabilizing in some way. I thought, 'What doesn't exist in pop music at the moment?' And it was mystery."


She got just the opposite of what she wanted

Little did Sia know, this look would become her trademark. It reached a point where many people didn't know what Sia's face looked like. While her goal was to be unnoticed, attention and notice was exactly what she received for her new look. 


She spoke with The Guardian about her personal reason for the distinct look, and her reasoning is anything but superficial. She said, "It was about not having to deal with the unfairness of being a pop star. Not having to worry about camera angles catching your double chin. Everybody in the entertainment industry is insecure. We have been tap-dancing our entire lives for your approval and you won't meet anybody who is in the entertainment industry who isn't a bit f**ked in the head. That's how we got here, so if you can imagine a room full of us, it's pretty hilarious. It's exhausting."

She feels the same insecurities everyone does

Even though Sia has meaningful reasons for performing behind her bob, she's also the first to say that she feels the insecurities that Hollywood places on society. She shared with Interview Magazine, "...anywhere you go now where there's a camera, it's actually work. I was excited because I got invited to these big, fancy parties. And then you realize, 'If I'm going to go, I'm going to need to get a tan. I'm going to need to have my roots done. I'm going to have extensions, probably. I'm going to get a stylist for sure. I'm going to have to work out five times that week with Jennifer Aniston's trainer.'"


Fellow star Lena Dunham shares similar sentiments. Earlier this year, she shared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (via The Hollywood Reporter) her thoughts on Hollywood standards, after being criticized for her weight. She said, "It really was evidenced that as a woman in Hollywood, you just can't win." The expectations and pressure are difficult for women in Hollywood, and role models like Sia and Dunham bring a voice to the issue and speak up when something isn't right.

What does the future hold for Sia?

With all of Sia's success and her unique sound and look, it should be no surprise that many, including myself, anxiously await her next music and projects. And as she shared with Interview Magazine, not all of those projects will be for songwriting. In fact, she's currently writing a screenplay.


She said, "I wrote a short story eight years ago. It's called Sister, and I'm going to direct it. I just want to make a beautiful film. I've had it in my head for so long, so I want to try. Every now and again I get scared. And that's not really how I operate in songwriting or as Sia the artist, the singer. I don't operate from a place of fear. But this is such a new area for me. I still have some insecurity."

I have no doubt that Sia will bring all of her talent and raw energy into any project she takes on, whether that be music-related or into the world of film. She continues to open up and share more of herself, and with that kind of determination and humble attitude, Sia's success should continue to soar.