Sia is bringing her talents behind the camera to direct her first feature film. The former Zero 7 singer made the announcement via Twitter and said she’d been inspired to make the move after taking charge of the cameras on her acclaimed 2014 music video for Chandelier. The video starred 12-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler, who will also reprise her role in the new movie.
The soaring serenade about a party girl’s life became one of the biggest hits of 2014. It also catapulted its creator, Australian singer-songwriter Sia, from cult favourite to bona fide pop star overnight thanks to its instantly iconic interpretive-dance music video and its larger-than-life story.
Billboard is celebrating the decade that was by looking back at some of the songs that shaped and reflected the music and culture of the 2010s. We asked some of the artists, behind-the-scenes collaborators and industry insiders to share their stories of how these tracks came together.
Sia co-wrote “Chandelier” with Jesse Shatkin in 2013. They recorded the song at her home studio, working off cell phone recordings and with just two microphones. She didn’t expect the song to become a hit, but it did. In just a few weeks, it had reached No. 1 on the US charts, launching her first album, 1000 Forms of Fear, to the top spot as well.
In the video for the song, Sia remained obscured by her trademark wig throughout most of the shoot. She wanted to emphasize the dancer’s importance and the idea that she was embodying a genderless state of being. Sia also used the opportunity to showcase her own dance skills, demonstrating everything from front aerials and splits to playing in curtains.
She performed the song on TV and at concerts, including a 2014 performance on The Ellen Show where she sang with her back to the audience and was accompanied by Ziegler. She even appeared on Saturday Night Live in January 2015, veiled and accompanied by a sad-looking mime who signed the lyrics of the song in American sign language.
Sia has also worn the wig when appearing in public, preferring to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. She’s credited with paving the way for a generation of songwriters-turned-stars, such as Charli XCX, Tove Lo and Julia Michaels.
The movie Chandelier will be released on Nov. 17. Watch the trailer below.
How to Sing Chandelier: Sia’s trademark vocals are layered and full of emotion. Sing with your head voice and belt mix, concentrating on opening up the «i» sound in the high notes. Drop the «r» to make it more of a yawn sound, which will help kick the note into head voice.
For the high G, sing in a sibilant sound and keep your jaw relaxed. This will help you avoid hitting the note flat and putting stress on your neck. You’ll also want to pay close attention to your pitch. Try to hit the highest note of the chorus in perfect tune, and aim for a consistent tone throughout the entire phrase.