There’s no denying that Sia is one of the most fascinating artists of present day. Throughout the span of her career, the Australian native (née Sia Furler) has bounced from being a band member and acclaimed “indie darling” to a bona fide solo sensation and hit-making songwriter for chart-topping stars, all while redefining the means of catchy pop anthems through indelible dance presentations and emotionally earnest lyrics.
Sia is a pro at crafting dance-tinged radio hits that can make anyone want to sing along, but behind her songs are painful stories of internal struggles, whether they’re her own or other’s that she helps tap into.
The singer just wrapped up her Nostalgic for the Present Tour, her first arena tour and North American one in five years, with Miguel and AlunaGeorge in Austin, and she continues to prove that she’s a must-see live act. While Sia’s catalog is filled with melancholy sentiments, she also has plenty of songs that center on inspirational themes to help overcome personal obstacles. There’s a story of survival behind every ounce of pain.
Here are the eight most inspirational Sia songs, to help get you through a bad day or reinforce your daily positivity.
Although Sia hasn’t confirmed it herself, many have interpreted the music video for “The Greatest” as a tribute to the victims of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting, as it features Maddie Ziegler and 48 other dancers in a stark routine. Whether or not it was the singer’s intentional vision, the song still brings comfort and a powerful unifying message for some, and the lyrics themselves provide relentless encouragement to never give up.
“Burn the Pages”
“Place your past into a book/ Burn the pages, let ‘em cook”: the best metaphor and advice you could need for finally letting go of your past. Are you still stressing over your ex? Still letting those mistakes from last year haunt you? Let Sia’s voice guide you to self-redemption as you light up those regrettable pages. You can always write new ones.
Speaking of letting go of an ex, “Elastic Heart” is another Sia song to aid your broken heart. Featuring one of the most infectious drumbeats and vocal loops, the singer soars over the lush production as she finds the strength in repairing internal damages. We all have our moments of vulnerability, especially after a breakup, but through every shove and tear we can still remain whole.
How could we not include this Billboard Hot 100 smash? Appearing as a featured guest, Sia also wrote the melody and lyrics for this David Guetta song, which in 2012 became the longest-charting dance hit since Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” “Titanium” prompted a huge unexpected crossover for Sia into Top 40 exposure, and everyone took notice of her belting vocals and roaring chorus – singing along to it makes you feel like an unbreakable shield.
“It has to end to begin” — sometimes the memories of our darkest times are our reminders to move forward. “Numb,” off Sia’s 2004 sophomore album Colour the Small One, is a beautifully stripped-down single about dealing with depression and walking away from numbing vices. Sia has opened up about her battles with depression and addiction, and “Numb” very much feels like an honest diary entry from one of these difficult times. However sad the song may be, there are still trickles of motivation. The live version off 2007’s Lady Croissant is even more riveting.
The title alone says it all. One of Sia’s most unabashedly confident ballads, “Unstoppable” has all the fuel you need for your morning playlist. It’s one of those songs that gets you feeling like you can conquer the world. It’s no surprise that the song was remixed as an Olympic anthem for the 2016 Rio games.
“Soon We’ll Be Found”
Long before Sia became known for her expressive dance videos, she made a visual impact with a different kind of performance. “Soon We’ll Be Found,” a single from her 2008 album Some People Have Real Problems, was accompanied by a stunning music video that featured the singer signing the lyrics in American Sign Language, featuring effects of illuminating neon colors. The approach made this Sia song’s lyrics that more meaningful and human, as her voice was literally brought to moving life: “Well, it’s been rough, but we’ll be just fine.”
“We made it through the darkness of the light,” Sia joyfully proclaims on this lively opening track to her 2010 album We Are Born. “The Fight” perfectly sets the tone for the album, which was one of Sia’s most explicitly positive records. While she’s still overwhelmingly emotional, she takes a more optimistic approach as she sings of overcoming human failings. We all have our weak moments, but that doesn’t mean we lose our fight.