Ed Sheeran released his new album ÷, and I can’t tell you how difficult it was for me to actually get. I prefer physical CDs – there’s just something about holding the actual CD in my hands, and looking through the booklet and case that I prefer. If it’s digital, you don’t have that same experience.
Anywho, when I finally got the album, I started listening to some of the songs and I was struck by the similarities of “Shape of You” with Sia’s “Cheap Thrills.” Now, they’re not identical – I’m not going to sit here an claim Sheeran stole from Sia (because he didn’t) – but they employ a similar bouncy effect. But it got me thinking: someone should create a mashup…and someone did:
Personally, I would’ve done the mashup up a little differently – I think they put a weird effect on the chorus. I will say that I liked they kept Sean Paul in the intro. But then I found this mashup that added in Sia’s “The Greatest” to the “Cheap Thrills” and “Shape of You” mash up. Again, I would’ve done it slightly differently, but I think it’s a fun listen.
Almost two years ago, I wrote about how Sia wrote the song “Perfume” for Britney Spears. At the time, I knew Sia wrote Rihanna’s song “Diamonds,” but I couldn’t find the demo of it. I looked high and low for it because I think Sia has such a unique voice and songwriting style, so I’d love to hear her sing “Diamonds.”
Welp, I found it. Or a version of it. It’s not all flashy like Rihanna’s version, but here it is.
I feel like Sia should release an album of “covers” of songs she wrote and sold to other people.
Sia has become on of the most in demand songwriters in the music industry. She writes all her own songs, but she also has written a lot for other artists. She’s written for Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Eminem, Maroon 5, and so many more (for more, look here). I read she made her last album, 1000 Forms of Fear, to release her from her publishing contract so she could focus on writing for other artists. Then when “Chandelier” blew up and 1000 Forms of Fear landed on top of the Billboard 200 it was only time before Sia would deliver another album. She has done so when This Is Acting was released just last week.
The album has been described as a collection of songs that Sia wrote with the intention of selling them to other artists. I was thoroughly excited when reading this because I think Sia’s performance of her songs are often better than the artist’s performance. For instance, I found the demo of “Perfume,” a song she wrote for Britney Spears, and it’s stunning, whereas Spears’ version, well…it doesn’t compare.
Overall, Sia’s vocals on This Is Acting are absolutely phenomenal. Right from the start, we hear heartache and her voice reaching new heights with “Bird Set Free” and “Alive” (cowritten with Adele) then we get into more dance and sass focused with “Move Your Body,” “Unstoppable,” and “Cheap Thrills.” But at the same time, she can be smooth and soulful with “One Million Bullets” and “Reaper.”
Releasing an album like This Is Acting certainly is a risk because it quickly could’ve been a random hot mess. But because Sia is Sia, she has a natural way of having great depth and range and can string it all together to keep you hooked in.
Sia just dropped her new single “Alive” off her upcoming album, and it’s phenomenal! It rings of freedom and determination, and has such a great beat to blare and play on repeat. I also need to note that Sia’s vocals are top notch and showcase her incredible voice.
She must have lungs of steel or something, because the way she hits the notes when she sings the lyric “I’m alive” during the chorus is amazing. Especially with the emotion. The cracks in her voice she adds during her vocalizations emits the pain and rawness. It’s Sia at her best.
An interesting thing about this song is that it is cowritten by Adele. I read online (and I don’t know how true it is, so bear with me) that Sia wrote it with Adele for Adele’s album, but then they decided Sia should record it. Personally, I think the song fits Sia’s voice better, but I’d love to hear Adele sing it. Can you imagine? Adele should release a version…then we can compare and contrast and have our minds blown by both these incredible artists.
Sia has become one of my favorite songwriters and I greatly admire her bold style. I read an article a while back that stated that she only released her latest album 1000 Forms of Fear to release her from her publishing contract so that she focus on writing songs for other artists (I’m not sure how accurate that article is, so take it with a grain of salt), probably because she has become really in demand. Indeed, I saw an ad for Kelly Clarkson’s album Piece By Piece state “Songs written by Sia!” which is the first time I ever saw a songwriter be advertised for an album.
Anyway, the magical thing about Sia’s songs is that even if she’s not performing the song, it sounds like she wrote it, she just has that powerful style. I found this long list of her songwriting credits (you can peruse here) and was not surprised that some of the songs were on there. For instance, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, “Cannonball” by Lea Michele, and “Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson, are among the many songs that just sounded like Sia wrote them. I must admit I have two Sia-related wishes: 1. She releases an album of the demos she recorded of these songs (I’m dying to hear her sing “Diamonds”) and 2. She write a song with Taylor Swift.
I’ve included a Spotify playlist of songs Sia wrote but others performed.
I also just want to clarify when I refer to her "writing a song," I'm referring to her being part of the writing process, which includes writing songs by herself or co-writing them with a talented team of people. After I wrote this, I realized that I hadn't given credit to the other songwriters and producers she worked with, so the above are a list of songs she either wrote or co-wrote.
I apologize for the lack of updates over the week, it’s finally warm and beautiful here in New England and I’ve been using any excuse to stay outside in the sun. Soaking it up while I can. Therefore, I’ve decided to post a playlist of songs I think embody this beautiful weather.
How Sia didn’t win the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Vocal Performance for this song is beyond me. Her voice is perfection in this song, especially in this piano version. You can just hear the pain radiating out of her.
In other news, Sia apparently has a new album coming out entitled This is Acting, and she said it will be more pop than 1000 Forms of Fear. I read that she only released 1000 Forms of Fear because she wanted to be released from her publishing deal so she could focus on writing songs for other people, but with it’s success she’s moving forward with releasing new music. I just read that she’s going to title the album This is Acting because the songs on the album are songs she wrote for other artists, not for herself…so she’s “acting” on it…I’m overly excited right now…
2014 was a big year for Meghan Trainor. Her debut single, “All About That Bass,” spent eight weeks on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for two Grammys, and her second single “Lips Are Movin'” is currently sitting at number 4 on the Hot 100. However, Meghan Trainor has had a few songwriting credits for other artists in 2014, most notably her co-writing credit for Fifth Harmony’s song “Sledgehammer.” Personally, I think the song has a good beat to it, and a killer chorus (0:49):
If you add a ukelele and slow the song down a bit, it totally could be a song from Title, Trainor’s upcoming album. I’m not suggesting that Fifth Harmony and Meghan Trainor sound the same, but I do think Trainor has been able to keep her songwriting style consistent, which I think may be a hard thing to do.
Personally, I like when singer-songwriters write songs for other artists, and you still feel as though the song is being performed by the writer. For example, I remember the first time I heard “Cannonball” by Lea Michele I was struck by the boldness and thought “huh, it sounds like Sia wrote that song.” Sure enough, a quick Google search revealed that Sia Furler was in fact one of the writers of the song.
This is not to suggest that the performing artists are doing a bad job. I’m trying to say that songwriters have a style, and when that style shines through regardless of who is performing the song, then that’s when magic is created. That’s what Sia did with “Cannonball” and her other songs that she has written. And that’s exactly what Meghan Trainor did with “Sledgehammer.”
I have a final tomorrow. So naturally I’m spending my time surfing the web, googling random things, instead of actually studying…but I did manage to stumble across this video of Sara Bareilles covering Sia’s song “Chandelier,” which I thought was fantastic. She says in the video that it is “fucking hard” to sing the song (which it is, I’ve tried multiple times), but I think she did a spectacular job. Regardless, this is one of the few times I’ve watched a cover video from start to finish, so you know it’s good (that, or I’m just trying to procrastinate more).
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." – JK Rowling