Sia Alive

The mythology of Sia is well-known at this point, but let’s rehash it for emphasis: Before she broke hearts with tempestuous, range-shattering tunes like “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart,” she made her living as a behind-the-scenes songwriter. Now, she’s marrying her songwriting past with her powerhouse pop present with This Is Acting, an album completely comprised of songs she originally wrote for other people. Her first single, “Alive,” is out, and it’s a rapturous, explosive song with an interesting back story.

Though it’s hard to imagine anyone else being able to hit the eardrum-testing highs at the end of the song, there were not one, but two candidates in line for the song before Sia finally claimed it for herself: None other than island queen Rihanna and Our Lady of Emotions, Adele. In an interview on Beats 1 this morning, Sia shared, “What’s funny is that I wrote [‘Alive’] and gave it to Rihanna and I had seller’s remorse because I was attached to it, I regretted it. Then she gave it back to me and I was relieved. Then Adele heard it and asked if she could have it. I thought ‘Do I like it, or do I like a million dollars?’ She cut it and it was so amazing. I’m a huge fan of her voice.”

Yet ultimately, the song fell back into Sia’s hands, and she brought it to life in her own inimitable way: A full chorus which takes her to the top of her extensive range; electronic production which plays off the bombastic, desperate pull of the lyrics; and the lyrics themselves, which reiterate common Sia themes of perseverance and gratitude.

If “Alive” is a taste of what’s to come on the rest of This Is Acting, we couldn’t be more excited for another round of gorgeous, interpretative dance videos, screaming along to choruses in our cars, and more Sia interviews. Take a listen below; we’re not gonna lie, it would’ve been incredible to hear other singers take this on, but that’s what covers are for, right?

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Image courtesy of RCA.