How Sia Rose to the Top by Swimming Against the Tide

For the first time in her career, Sia has hit the top of the Billboard Charts with her party anthem, “Cheap Thrills.” But the song could easily have been credited to, Rihanna, if it was accepted by the management team of the Barbadian pop princess.

For the first time in her career, Sia has hit the top of the Billboard Charts with her party anthem, “Cheap Thrills.” But the song could easily have been credited to, Rihanna, if it was accepted by the management team of the Barbadian pop princess.

The song is just one of several that make up her album of rejects, aptly titled This Is Acting, which she released earlier this year. Basically an experiment to see if the rejected songs had market appeal, the disc also includes tracks that were sent back by other top flight acts, such as Adele and Beyonce. So far, the faceless songwriter-turned-hit-maker has proven herself right, as it relates to the success of her rejected songs.

However, Sia’s rise to the top has been far from predictable. As pointed out in a recent Forbes article written by contributor, Hugh McIntyre, she has broken all the rules of being a pop star. To begin with, she is already in her 40’s, much older than the majority of pop princesses currently frequenting the charts, including ‘RiRi’, Adele, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez. In fact, as the Forbes article also pointed out, it’s been 16 years since a woman younger than 40 hit the top of Billboard, so Sia has broken quite a mold. Plus, she has been around for a long time before breaking out as a solo artist.

Also, Sia is very much out of the spotlight and none of her videos feature the raunchiness and barely legal, sex-laden dance moves found in other popular hit songs. But above all is the fact that she has utilized a different formula for creating her hits. Most Top 40 songs today feature multiple producers, writers (Sia herself has helped to pen many) and collaborators, with the artists having very little rights, if any at all, to their lyrical content and composition. For “Cheap Thrills” and many of her former hits, including “Chandelier,” the credits go to Sia and her co-writer, Greg Kurstin.

With all that said, it’s obvious that Sia’s songwriting talent and a radio-friendly sound are what have helped made her a fan-favorite. Perhaps it’s inspiration for aspiring songwriters to keep honing their craft.

The SongCat Team
About the Author
The SongCat Team

We believe in supporting artists of all levels of their musical journey, from the 40-year music business veteran, to the burgeoning songwriter who are looking to polish their craft. We also believe that creating professional, high quality, and expertly mixed recordings shouldn’t be limited to high budget record deals.

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