Having written hits for Rihanna and Beyoncé, Sia's turning her own pop project into a feminist statement.We pride ourselves at The FADER on scouring the globe to introduce you to some of the most left-field music around. But in our monthly column Popping Off, Aimee Cliff—taking over from Alex Frank—takes the temperature of mainstream pop music.
“If Amy Winehouse was a beehive, I want to be a blonde bob,” Sia told Howard Stern in a wonderfully frank interview last month. The Australian pop powerhouse, who has written hits for Beyoncé, Rihanna and Britney Spears, has an unlikely camaraderie with the much-missed London singer; if you listen back to some of Sia’s early releases, they’re strikingly Winehouse-esque with their jazz-funk rhythms and lilting, spiralling delivery of lines about dangerous relationships and love lost to addiction. But she wasn’t referring to musical parallels. Sia was saying she wanted to disappear, like so many female pop artists before her, beneath visual signifiers. Amy Winehouse was a beehive. Lana Del Rey is lips pouted around a cigarette. Nicki Minaj, until recently, was a rotating set of cartoonish characters. The difference being, Sia’s taking this to its furthest, most radical point, by attempting to remove her face entirely from the realm of pop culture.