Sia saw her album 1000 Forms of Fear debut at #1 recently, and she's got a big hit on the charts with "Chandelier." But even though her music's everywhere, the Aussie singer/songwriter's image is not. She won't show her face in interviews, she doesn't appear on the cover of her album, she posed for the cover of Billboard with a bag over her head, and in her publicity photos, she's wearing a bag as well. So what's the deal?
"I don't want to be famous," she tells ABC News. "I don't want to be critiqued about the way that I look [on the Internet]." So far, her strategy appears to be effective.
"I was at Target the other day, buying a hose and nobody recognized me, and my song was on the radio," she recalls. "I thought, 'Okay, this experiment is working!'"
But the next question is, why doesn't she want to be famous? Sia, who's written some huge pop hits for other artists, like Rihanna's "Diamonds," and even scored some herself -- that's her singing on David Guetta's hit "Titanium"-- says she's been close enough to fame to know it isn't for her.
"I've been writing pop songs for pop stars now for a couple years and have become, you know, friends with them and see what their life is like," she tells ABC News. And that's just not something I want."
OK, well then why release an album in the first place? Why not just stay behind the scenes as a songwriter and rake in the cash? It has to do with personal expression, says Sia.
"I didn't think that this music would get heard otherwise," she says of the music on 1000 Forms of Fear.
Besides, being behind the scenes as a songwriter isn't without its own problems. What if you wrote a song and offered it to a bunch of big stars, and they all wanted to record it? Who do you give it to? That very thing happened to Sia recently, with the song "Pretty Hurts," recorded by Beyonce.
"I wrote it on the sofa three years ago for Katy Perry, sent it to Katy Perry, then I sent it to...Rihanna and Beyonce's people," Sia tells ABC News. "Beyonce just slid it into home base and like, threw the money down. It was a really awkward situation."
So what could she do? Telling Rihanna she couldn't have the song because she was giving it to Beyonce would not have been easy. But it all worked out in the end.
"Rihanna's engineer had a great idea," reveals Sia. "He was like, 'Why don't you play her 'Diamonds'?" Rihanna was like, 'I love this song "Diamonds," it's mine!'" That song ended up topping the charts...something "Pretty Hurts" has yet to do.
No matter how popular her own songs become, though, don't expect Sia to change her mind about the whole fame thing. She's not going to announce a tour anytime soon. "It may change but right now that's not on the cards for me," she says of the prospect of touring. We'll just have to listen to her album and watch her videos...which, of course, she doesn't appear in, either.
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