Why You’ve Never Seen The Pop Artist Who Has Written For Rhianna, Beyonce, Katy Perry & More

“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, however, and doesn’t like media or public attention because of her social anxiety (she doesn’t even face the crowd when she performs on stage) and dislike of irrelevant criticism. Yet she is wildly successful and her music is regarded as creative genius by critics and collaborators alike.

Do you identify yourself as an artist? Or maybe you know someone that does? Truthfully, we are all artists, because we all have the capacity to be creative and have some genius inside us that wants to be unleashed — it’s just a matter of whether we actually tap into it or not.

I learned this a couple of years back while reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. And speaking from personal experience, if my inner artist is blocked or stifled, to say I become frustrated would be putting it mildly. I’ve noticed all areas of my life feel 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 in drugs and alcohol to cope with the immense creative force within them that just wants to create regardless of what is happening in the person’s life. What choice do they have? When you’re in it, it feels like there are no options, 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. Its dark undertones are so unlike what we’re used 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.

The interesting thing is, while she was writing all those songs for pop stars she was getting close to them, too. 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 realized people had no idea it was her. She thought, ‘I must be doing something right.’

Yet she continued writing for those mega stars, sometimes needing only 45 minutes to compose a song. She tells us another story of a time when Beyonce, Rihanna, and Katy Perry were all vying for the song “Pretty Hurts.” Ultimately, Beyonce got it, and all parties involved were happy in the end. 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 discovered 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 someonething more and in the interview she mentions being extremely depressed at one point, drinking heavily and then being addicted to Xanax and OxyContin for several months. She contemplated suicide and stayed in her home until one day in 2010 when she found her way into 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 choruses that make pop stars today. She actually shows us a bit of her creative process in 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. It was a rare and surprising look at how easily, in fact, pop music can be made.

I said the end of the interview got to me. I guess it was unexpected. She gets emotional when asked if she can believe how happy and successful she has become, and recalls how much her life changed after 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 to listen to our bodies. People think it’s a joke and sometimes are teased for not going to that party, for turning down a drink, or for changing their eating habits, among other personal life choices. 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 that taking care of our mental and physical health unleashes a level of creativity that is not bound by routines or compulsive behaviours. Self care can show us our true potential.

I still think about the Artist’s Way and that time I was “dialled in” to my creativity. The truth is, though, it never left me. We are all artists. Sometimes we’re just blind or blocked to tapping into it.

For more information on my experience with The Artist’s Way, message me on Facebook at Rajie Kabli or visit my website @ HouseofRajie.com

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