Diamonds by Rihanna. Pretty Hurts by Beyonce. Perfume by Britney Spears. Double Rainbow by Katy Perry. The list can go on of all the songs singer/songwriter Sia has written. She mysteriously turns her back to reporters in interviews, doesn’t like media or public attention because of the useless criticism and her social anxiety (she doesn’t even face the crowd when she performs on stage). Yet, she is wildly successful and her music is regarded as creative genius by critics and collaborators alike.
Do you identify your self as an artist? Maybe you know someone that does. Truthfully, we are all artists because we all have the capacity to be creative and have this genius inside us that wants to be unleashed. It’s just a matter of if we tap into it or not. I this learned this a couple of years back in the course, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If my inner artist is blocked or stifled, lets just say having feelings of frustration are putting it lightly. I noticed all areas of my life felt the wrath of minimizing my creative force.
I got intrigued by an interview I saw with Sia, more formally, Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, because I related to her and the end of the interview captivated me. We often talk about the tortured souls of artists, bound to their art, drowning themselves with drugs and alcohol to cope with the emmence creative force that just wants to create regardless of what is happening in the persons life. What choice do they have? When your in it, it feels like none, but as Sia told us choosing a different route changed her life completely.
I think it was “chandelier” by Sia that really caught my attention. The dark undertone was so different than what we’re use to hearing on the radio. Then, “Elastic Heart” was on repeat on my phone. Finally, “Big Girls Cry” rounded out her trilogy that clearly was cathartic in artistic nature. She was using her addiction and pain as a tool to let people into the knowing of what it feels like to be so out of control, all the while going through her own purge.
See the interesting thing is while she was writing all those songs for pop stars she was getting close to them. They became friends. She saw how some of them lived and simply had no interest in any of it, she valued her privacy and anonymity. She tells us a story of how she went into a popular store, heard her song playing on the overhead speakers and people had no idea it was her. She thought ‘I must be doing something right’.
Yet, she continued writing for those mega stars. It took her only 45 minutes sometimes to write tho songs. She tells us another story of a time when Beyonce, Rihanna and Katy Perry were all vying for the same song, ‘Pretty Hurts’. Ultimately, Beyonce got it. At the end all parties involved were happy. But, it was her own creative force and story that pushed her to become a recording artist again because she felt like otherwise, those songs that had depth, darkness and soul just simply would not be heard. To me, it feels like she hit or found something bigger than herself in order to do this.
I relate to her when i think about my spoken word poems and writing. Sometimes I feel like the things that come out of my pen are not meant for just me to read. They are meant to be shared. So, I really appreciated this part of Sia’s story. I mentioned it sounded like she hit a bottom to find something more and in the interview she mentions being extremely depressed at one point drinking heavily and then being addicted syntex and oxytocin for less than 10 months. she contemplated suicide and stayed in her home until one day in 2010 she found her way to a 12 step program and healed herself.
Creative juices flowing nicely, you see her doing her craft as she talks about writing riffs and hooks and chorus’s for pop stars today. She actually shows us a bit of her creative process of coming up with songs, which looks fairly simple and straightforward. She said she pulls some ‘concepts from crap television’ and it’s fun to make. Alluding to the stories and feelings in can induce. It was a rare surprising look at how easily, in fact, pop music is made.
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I said the end of the interview got to me. I guess it was unexpected. She gets emotional when asked if she can believe all her happiness and success right now. She recalls how much her life has changed the moment she decided that she was going to take care of her own “sanity and serenity first”. Sia said her life has improved so much. This is profound to me because we have so much more to offer the world when we take the time and listen to our body. People think it’s a joke and sometimes are made fun of for not going to that party, turning down a drink, changing eating habits, not wanting to engage in certain conversations or actions, for example. Listening to ourselves and valuing our body as a ‘temple’ that houses sacred knowledge and power can go such a long way. I look at Sia as a perfect example. Sia getting emotional about this made me think that something deeply clicked for her and taking care of our mental and physical health unleashes a level of creativity that is not bound by routines and compulsive behaviours can show us our true potential.
I still think about the Artist Way and that time I was “dialled” into my creativity. The truth is tho, it never left me. We are all artists, it’s just sometimes we’re blind or blocked to tapping into it.
For more information on my experience with The Artist Way, message me on Facebook at Rajie Kabli.
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