Still breathing

Chris Azzopardi
By | 2009-07-30T09:00:00-04:00 July 30th, 2009|Entertainment|

Sia is the friend you never knew. Lexapro, butt sex, compulsively lying – she doesn’t even know us, and we heard it all, oftentimes laced with thunderous bursts of shrill laughter. It’s way cute.
Best known for “Breathe Me,” the send-off song to the “Six Feet Under” series finale, the queer prog-pop Aussie’s dropped three solo albums and a DVD – “TV is my Parent,” released in May. One of her biggest fans happens to be one of the world’s biggest stars: Christina Aguilera, who tapped Sia for a handful of collaborations on the “Dirrty” singer’s upcoming album.
Sia’s also wrapping up work on her own LP – “the best thing I’ve ever done,” she gushes. Between recording sessions, the human energy drink told us about her take on being a “womyn,” having game night with Aguilera and how the hardest years of her life produced the happiest album of her career.

Hello, Sia. It’s good to speak with you.
Yes, likewise. I would say I look forward to meeting you, but I won’t because it sounds like you have a dong.

(Laughs) I was just gonna say that, ‘Unfortunately, I won’t see you at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival because – “
You were born with a penis – yeah. Wouldn’t it have been awkward if, actually, you just had an incredibly deep voice (laughs)? That kind of thing happens to me all the time – awkward moments where I make an assumption and it’s wrong, like, “I guess we won’t be seeing you at the Womyn’s Festival, ol’ deep voice.”

And it’s actually a woman?
Yeah.

So you’re recording a new record. How’s it coming along?
I’m really excited! I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

Whoa, cool. Yeah, I’m really psyched, too. I loved the last couple records.
Well, it’s very different. I hope you’ll still like – I mean, it’s still me. If you know the last record at all, there was a track on it called “Buttons,” which was a more uptempo one. It’s going in that direction.

Will it be equally split between depressing “Breathe Me” Sia and sunny/cute “Day Too Soon” Sia?
Actually there’s not much depressing shit on here this time. I’m scared. I hope I’m not alienating a whole demographic, like the majority of my miserable fans (laughs).

You’ve been taking too much Paxil?
I know. I’m really high on the Lexapro (laughs). Lexi! Lexi! Basically, I don’t know what happened, but it’s weird. I’ve had the hardest two years of my life; it’s just been a bit of a struggle the last couple of years, but I’ve written the happiest album of my career, so it’s really weird. It’s sort of like there’s some sort of contrary thing going on, because most of my life I’ve been pretty cheery and my music’s been misery, and then the last couple of years were the hardest probably of my life, and I’m putting out a cheery, cheery album.

Well, I’m glad that you sound happy now.
Thank you!

But, actually, I first knew you when you were sad (laughs). Like a lot of your fans, I was sold after hearing “Breathe Me” during the “Six Feet Under” series finale.
I know, wasn’t that painful?

It was very painful. What was it like hearing your song as a bunch of people just dropped dead?
I felt awkward and masturbatory in a way, because I was a big fan of the show, and I was watching it and I was crying and I was like, “This is weird.”

A little part of me, if I were you, would’ve felt responsible.
Yeah – I’m a killer (laughs).

I know you’ve been super busy with the recording of this album, but also you were working with Christina Aguilera for a bit.
Yeah, hello!

A huge gay icon.
She’s really fun. You would love her.

Yeah? I read a blog post that you wrote regarding what went on behind the scenes, like drinking milkshakes, grammar lessons –
And how I wanted to eat her child like corn on the cob (laughs). I still do.

Sounds like it must’ve been a fun recording experience.
It really was. It was so fun. She’s a really nice person. I’m going over their house to have game night some time. It’s gotta be an odd day, because now I’m trying to get fit so I’ve got a personal trainer. I’m in Hollywood now, recording the album with a personal trainer. It’s hilarious.

You’ve hit the big time.
I’m really, really moving up in the world. So I’m going over (to Aguilera’s) one night next week when I don’t have to get up early with the personal trainer the next day, because she’s a bit of a night owl, so I know it’ll probably end up being a late one. She has Super Mario in her house. She has a game room that has arcade games in it and a pool table and stuff. I think when you’re that famous, it becomes sort of a necessity. If you were gonna go on a fun excursion, if you’re as famous as her, it’s sort of impossible without the paparazzi or fans wanting your attention. In her case, it was a smart move to build a room in the house for that sort of thing (laughs).

I would totally have the same if I were famous.
Yeah, if I was that famous, and if I could afford it, I would build several restaurants in my house with different themes, and probably a dog park and a Pinkberry (Frozen Yogurt). Maybe a board game haven, with Taboo, Scrabble –

I love word games.
Are you on Facebook? Do you play Word Twist or Scrabblicious?

No, but I am on Facebook. I’ll have to check those out.
Oh, it’s so good. You should. You should challenge your friends to a game of Twirl or Scramble. You can play yourself – or you can play random people you don’t know, but I think that’s kind of like sleeping around.

I’d still do it.
I totally do it. I don’t know why, but I do (laughs).

So the material that you wrote for her, is it happy or depressing?
It’s a bit of both. It’s kind of more ballad-y. There’s one really beautiful kind of mid-tempo; I guess that’s the one they’re thinking might be a single. I have a couple of favorites, but my favorite is kind of like a lullaby. I don’t remember what we’re calling it now, but we wrote it for her son, and it’s really beautiful.

Aw! Cute.
So beautiful. It’s like classical music beautiful. And another one that’s called “You Lost Me,” which is very sad and awesome. It’s my favorite thing to hear her sing since “Beautiful,” just the way her voice is. It suits her voice so beautifully, and it’s very simple in a way.

A lot of gay people, including myself, love “Beautiful.”
Me too. That was why I nearly shat my pants when they called and said she wanted to work with me. I was like, “Ahhhhhh!” That’s one of my favorite songs that anybody has ever wrote in the whole universe.

What does being a “womyn” mean to you?
Oh, wow – I just think that’s some snazzy spelling. As a wordsmith, I’m gonna say I’m a little bit conflicted about it (laughs). But, actually, I think it’s about owning something.

Do you see it as a feminist approach to the word “woman”?
Yeah, I do, and I only know that because J.D. (Samson of Le Tigre), my girlfriend, has been trying to teach me about that stuff. I mean, she says that I am a feminist, that I’m clearly a feminist, and I know that my mom is a feminist – my mom is a studied feminist. I’ve never studied feminism, but I have an approach to life that is – well, my belief (regarding) feminism is simply that women should be kind to other women, and that’s what feminism is to me. So I don’t know. I’ve never read any Gloria Steinem or Germaine Greer; I am clueless when it comes to that. All I know is that I’m nice to my female friends, and I support women in my industry, and I support women and equal rights. And now I’ve kind of moved on to gay rights ’cause it’s the fashion right now (laughs).

Yeah, it’s definitely “in” right now.
I also am kind of into Iran (laughs). And elephants, obviously.

I’ve watched (your) DVD, and I loved it. Every second of it. You are hilarious.
Thank you. I have not seen it. Have they put in all the banter between the songs?

Yeah.
Oh, no (laughs).

Which brings me to my last question: Have you really seen most of your band members’ dicks like you say?
Well, let me think. I’m trying to remember who was in the band at the time, and I think the answer is no. I’ve only seen one of their dicks because about 11 years – no, must be 15 years ago, oh my god. Oh, no, no, it’d have to be 11 or 12 years ago. I boofed my bass player (laughs).

Our readers will appreciate knowing that.
We’ve talked about that on stage before; it’s been a hilarious kind of a running joke. He gets really embarrassed about it. I obviously have no shame about any of my past, but I’ve seen his dong. I’ve not seen anyone else’s in the band – that’s a lie (laughs). I’m a liar.

That makes me feel better. I was way jealous – especially when you said they were enormous.
(Laughs) I’m a total liar. I’ll lie for a laugh, but I generally come clean. But on stage, I’ll lie and obviously there’s not really an opportunity for me to say, “That was a lie.” But this has been a great opportunity for me to really clear that up.

Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Aug. 4-9
Sia: Night stage, Aug. 7
Oceana County, between Hart and Ludington
For directions, ticket information and the complete line-up, visit http://www.michfest.com

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.