Not only can Sia create a visually captivating music video, but she also manages to translate her vision and imagination into mesmerizing live performances. The noted songwriter and vocalist, 39, has chosen to keep her face hidden from view, often singing with her back to the audience.
The Australian native has no desire to be famous, telling The New York Times in April 2014, “It’s horrible. I just wanted to have a private life. Once, as my friend was telling me they had cancer, someone came up and asked, in the middle of the conversation, if they could take a photograph with me. You get me? That’s enough, right?”
Sia has also struggled with drug use and sobriety, even writing a suicide note at one point. Her painful journey inspired her to write pop songs for some of the greatest artists currently on the radio like Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and Rihanna, and to purposefully separate herself from her onstage persona.
But this past year has been all about her new music, including hits “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart,” which became instant successes thanks to viral videos and live performances featuring the choreography of Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler and other guest dancers.
Coming off her impressive 2015 Grammys performance, Us Weekly rounded up Sia’s best recent live moments:
5. Saturday Night Live, “Elastic Heart”
Covering her face with a lace mask, Sia stood in the middle of the stage as Ziegler and a female adult dancer leapt and fought around her in January 2015. Just months before, guest host Jim Carrey and cast member Kate McKinnon had spoofed the highly viewed “Chandelier” music video, but Sia got the final word with her breathtakingly creative spot on the live show.
4. Dancing With the Stars, “Chandelier”
Take that, Derek Hough! As Sia stood with her back to the audience in September 2014, Ziegler and DWTS pro Allison Holker recreated the praised “Chandelier” music video. Though only Ziegler appeared in the original clip, the dueling dancers perfectly mirrored one another in the live performance, proving they deserved the Mirrorball Trophy more than any of the show’s contestants.
3. Jimmy Kimmel Live, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
Departing from the nude leotards in July 2014, Sia performed for an outdoor crowd at Jimmy Kimmel Live. Once again, Ziegler took the stage along with a group of dancers in colorful clown makeup. As she sang, Sia drew a picture of herself in the corner, and the dancers twirled around the stage. Talk about multitasking!
2. The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “Elastic Heart”
Trapped inside giant white boxes, eight young girls passionately lip synced the lyrics as Sia sang “Elastic Heart” from underneath a face-covering wig in January 2015. Ziegler remained locked at the front, managing to convey aggressive movements from within the confines of a box.
1. 2015 Grammys, “Chandelier”
For the Grammys, Sia debuted her most intricate set yet, showcasing Ziegler and actress Kristen Wiig’s choreography within a trashed room and hallway. The Aussie songstress stood in a corner with her back to the star-filled crowd as her onstage personas pranced around the junk-filled room.
Bonus Clip: Lena Dunham’s performance of “Chandelier” on Late Night With Seth Meyers in June 2014 read more like an SNL spoof than a work of art, but we’d be remiss to not feature it. You’ll never look at Hannah Horvath the same way again.