Sia in 2011
|Birth name||Sia Kate Isobelle Furler|
18 December 1975 |
|Labels||RCA Records, Dance Pool, Go! Beat, Hear, Astralwerks|
|Associated acts||Zero 7, David Guetta, Flo Rida, Eminem, Christina Aguilera|
Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (born 18 December 1975), better known simply as Sia (//or //), is an Australian downtempo, pop, trip-hop, and jazz singer-songwriter. As a writer, she has collaborated with many artists including Zero 7, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, David Guetta, Flo Rida, Afrojack, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Lea Michele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Leona Lewis, Hilltop Hoods, Katy Perry, Kesha, Rita Ora, Britney Spears, Jessie J, Oh Land, Angel Haze, Celine Dion, and Maroon 5. In 2000, her single "Taken for Granted" was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. Her 2008 album Some People Have Real Problems peaked in the low 50s on the Billboard 200.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, Sia won the award for Best Music DVD and received six nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 and won Best Independent Release and Best Pop Release for We Are Born and Best Video for the song "Clap Your Hands". She co-wrote and featured on Billboard Hot 100 top ten hits "Titanium" with David Guetta—with whom she also produced the single "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)"—and "Wild Ones" with rapper Flo Rida. All three songs achieved international success. In 2014, her single "Chandelier" became an international success, and her highest ranked solo song to date at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. In 2014, she was ranked the 97th richest person under the age of 40 by BRW magazine, with a reported net worth of $20 million AUD.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 1975–1995: Early life and career beginnings
- 1.2 1996–2000: Crisp and OnlySee
- 1.3 2000–07: Zero 7, Healing is Difficult and Colour the Small One
- 1.4 2008–09: Lady Croissant and Some People Have Real Problems
- 1.5 2010–13: We Are Born and worldwide recognition
- 1.6 2013–present: 1000 Forms of Fear
- 1.7 Covers and other contributions
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Activism
- 4 Discography
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
1975–1995: Early life and career beginnings
Sia Furler was born in Adelaide, South Australia on 18 December 1975. She attended Olivet Nazarene University and Adelaide High School, graduating in 1994. Her father, Phil B. Colson, was a musician in various bands including Foreday Riders, Rum Jungle, Fat Time, Jump Back Jack, and Mount Lofty Rangers. Her mother, Loene Furler, is a singer, songwriter, musician, and art lecturer who also provided backing vocals for Mount Lofty Rangers. Her parents were both in an Adelaide rockabilly band, The Soda Jerx. Furler is the niece of UK-based actor/singer Kevin Colson. Singer/songwriter Colin Hay of Men at Work, though not related, is affectionately known as "Uncle Colin". "Philby" Colson played slide guitar on Men at Work's last single, "Everything I Need" from their album Two Hearts, then toured extensively with "The Colin Hay Band" in 1988. In her 2008 NPR Music interview, she said that she had mimicked other singers while growing up and counts Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sting as her early influences.
1996–2000: Crisp and OnlySee
In the early 1990s, Furler started gigging in the Adelaide acid jazz scene and at the age of 17, joined the jazz-funk band, Crisp. Crisp included Furler on vocals, Jesse Flavell on guitar, Jeremy Glover on bass guitar, Sam Langley, Ben Timmis on keyboards, Steve Rooney on drums. The group released two albums: Word and the Deal (1996) and Delerium (1997). By 1997, Furler had left Crisp and as a trip hop artist, released her debut solo album OnlySee from an Adelaide garage – which sold 1,200 copies, 1,000 in Adelaide alone. It was produced by former Crisp bandmate Flavell, who also wrote most of the tracks, for Flavoured Records. During a November 1997 episode of Home and Away in her OnlySee days, Sia guest-starred on the show and sang a song called "How to Breathe" on a beach after Rebecca and Travis are declared husband and wife. Furler and her boyfriend, Dan, planned to travel together on a world trip. On her way to meet him in London, she stopped off in Thailand. Dan was killed in a traffic accident in London a week before she arrived. She lived in a London boarding house with Dan's friends. In 2007, Furler recalled the impact of Dan's death, "We were all devastated, so we got shit-faced on drugs and Special Brew. Unfortunately, that bender lasted six years for me."
2000–07: Zero 7, Healing is Difficult and Colour the Small One
In 2000, Furler signed a recording contract with Sony Music's sub-label Dance Pool. While living in London, she performed backing vocals for British jazz funk band Jamiroquai. Furler also provided vocals for English downtempo group Zero 7 (musical duo of Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker) on their first three studio albums and has toured with the band. She is heard on their hit singles "Destiny" and "Distractions" from their debut album, Simple Things, released in April 2001. Their second album, When It Falls appeared in March 2004 and featured Furler voicing "Somersault" and "Speed Dial No. 2". Their third album, The Garden issued May 2006, found six contributions from Furler, with two ("Throw It All Away" and "You're My Flame") released as singles in the UK and North America. Simple Things reached the UK Albums Chart top 30 and both When It Falls and The Garden peaked in the top 5.
On 9 July 2001, she released her second solo album Healing Is Difficult, an eclectic mix of R&B and jazz, that was favourably received by critics. All the tracks were written or co-written by Furler and it was co-produced by Furler and Blair Mackichan. The album included the songs "Drink to Get Drunk" and "Little Man" which both received remixes that became popular in UK nightclubs. The album's single "Taken for Granted", peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart for one week, 3 June 2000, and was on the chart for five weeks. She even performed the song on Top of the Pops. The album's lyrics dealt with her boyfriend's death, "I was pretty fucked up after Dan died. I couldn't really feel anything. I could intellectualise a lot of stuff; that I had a purpose, that I was loved, but I couldn't actually feel anything." Unhappy with the promotion of the album, Furler fired her manager, left Sony Music and signed with Go! Beat Records, a subsidiary of UMG. At the APRA Awards of 2002, Furler won the 'Breakthrough Songwriter' category alongside Brisbane pop duo Aneiki's Jennifer Waite and Grant Wallis.
In 2003, Furler released the EP Don't Bring Me Down, its lead track was used over the closing titles of the French film, 36 Quai des Orfèvres. Her second album, Colour the Small One, was released in Australia on 19 January 2004 and in Europe later that year. This downtempo album had Furler employ a mixture of acoustic instruments and electronic backing to her material, which led to comparisons to artists such as Dido and Sarah McLachlan. It featured "The Bully", which was a collaboration with American musician Beck Hansen. Two further songs were co-written with Beck and recorded, but have yet to be released. Colour the Small One spawned the singles "Breathe Me" and "Where I Belong". The latter was earmarked for the Spider-Man-2 soundtrack, its cover depicts Furler dressed in a Spider-Man costume. However, owing to a record label conflict, it was withdrawn. Six tracks on the album had been co-written with her bass guitarist, Samuel Dixon.
In early 2005, Furler left Go! Beat Records, disappointed at the company's poor promotion of the album, and the failure of the label's U.S. counterpart to pick up the record. She relocated to New York City. Meanwhile, "Breathe Me" appeared on the series finale of the U.S. HBO television series Six Feet Under and the broadcast of the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It also was used in an episode of the BBC show Luther (Season 1, Episode 5). The track had been licensed to Astralwerks – which also produces the Six Feet Under soundtracks – and Colour the Small One was given an American release by that label in early 2006.
Furler toured the U.S. throughout that year, promoting the album and cross-promoting the Six Feet Under season five DVD release. The U.S version of the album features four bonus tracks: "Broken Biscuit" (from the Don't Bring Me Down EP), "Sea Shells" (the B-side to "Breathe Me" in the UK) and two remixes of "Breathe Me" by Four Tet and Ulrich Schnauss.
2008–09: Lady Croissant and Some People Have Real Problems
On 3 April 2007, Furler released a live album, Lady Croissant, in the U.S. It featured eight live songs from her April 2006 performance at New York's Bowery Ballroom. One new studio track – "Pictures" – was included on the album. Allmusic's Marissa Brown felt "The recordings sound good, the band... tight and lush, and Sia herself is spot-on, her vocals rich and passionate." In November, a four-song EP, Day Too Soon, was issued on iTunes, which included the tracks "Day Too Soon", "Buttons", "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine", and a remix of "Day Too Soon" by Mock & Toof. "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" reached number 8 and "Day Too Soon" peaked at number 24 on Billboard's Dance Music Club Play Singles Chart.
Furler's fourth studio album, Some People Have Real Problems, was released in January 2008, and peaked in the top 30 on the Billboard 200. Its first single, "Day Too Soon", was issued in November 2007. A video for the song "Buttons" was created. The track "Little Black Sandals" was featured on the television show Private Practice in the season one episode, "In Which Addison Finds a Showerhead". Also in January 2008, Furler performed "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It has remix versions by Sander van Doorn, Stonebridge, and Jens O. The Sander van Doorn remix was a hit in the Netherlands, reaching the number 11 spot on the Dutch Singles Chart and it peaked at number 12 on the Spanish Singles Chart. Furler and her bandmates wore glow-in-the-dark costumes on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in January, performing "Buttons" and "Breathe Me". The Mylo remix of "Breathe Me" was used in the nightly segment "Wall Street Crisis: Is Your Money Safe?" during the economic crisis of 2008–2009. Furler's music video, "Soon We'll Be Found", was used on the US front page of the iTunes Music Store. Customers were able to download a high-quality version of the video for free. Her cover of Ray Davies' "I Go to Sleep" appeared on the TV shows Dollhouse ("Gray Hour" episode) and Packed to the Rafters ("Perfect Bubble" episode).
In May 2009, Furler released TV Is My Parent on DVD, which includes a 12 September live concert at New York's Hiro Ballroom, four music videos and behind-the-scenes footage. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won the award for 'Best Music DVD' for TV Is My Parent. Some People Have Real Problems was nominated for 'Best Breakthrough Artist Album'.
2010–13: We Are Born and worldwide recognition
Furler approached Christina Aguilera's manager in 2007 to record "Death by Chocolate" and Aguilera contacted Furler herself. During 2009, Furler and Samuel Dixon collaborated with Aguilera on tracks for the U.S. artist's sixth studio album, Bionic (2010). Three of the songs were included on the standard version and a fourth was included on the deluxe edition. Furler, Aguilera and Dixon also co-wrote "Bound to You" for the soundtrack of Burlesque of the film of the same name, which was performed by Aguilera who co-starred with Cher. "Bound to You" was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. In May 2011, Furler appeared on the inaugural season of the U.S. version of a singing competition The Voice, as an adviser for Aguilera, who was a vocal coach and judge.
Furler released her fifth studio album, We Are Born, on 18 June 2010. She had performed some new material from the album ("You've Changed", "The Co-Dependent" and "Clap Your Hands") during her 2009–2010 tours. In 2008, "The Co-Dependent" was expected to be part of an animated pop project, "The H-Crusaders". The album's first single, "Clap Your Hands" was issued in May. The track "You've Changed" was premiered on music blog, Sheena Beaston, on 18 November 2009. It was co-written with Lauren Flax, American DJ and producer, and was originally released in 2008 by Flax. Furler re-recorded it for We Are Born. "You've Changed" peaked at number 31 on the ARIA Singles Chart. It was played in the television show The Vampire Diaries, while "I'm in Here" (piano vocal version) was used in Gossip Girl, Rookie Blue, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, and Nikita. "You've Changed" placed 72nd in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2009; despite being only available from December, her track "Buttons" (CSS Remix) appeared in 50th place.
She received six nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 and won 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Pop Release' for We Are Born, while Kris Moyes won 'Best Video of the Year' for "Clap Your Hands". The album was also nominated for 'Album of the Year', and "Clap Your Hands" was nominated for 'Single of the Year'. "Clap Your Hands" peaked at number 17 on the ARIA Singles Chart. It earned Furler and co-writer Samuel Dixon a nomination for 'Song of the Year' at the 2011 APRA Music Awards. The album received gold album accreditation by the Australian Recording Industry Association in 2011 for shipment of 35000 units.
In June 2010, Furler cancelled her touring commitments and later announced that she had been diagnosed with Graves' disease. After rest and treatment, she resumed performing from January 2011. She performed at the Big Day Out concerts in New Zealand and Australia. Further touring of Australia followed in February. According to Furler's website, her tour of North America is due to start in late July. During the 2012 Royal Rumble, a Pay-Per-View produced by WWE, a promo featured in between matches where the Flo Rida song "Wild Ones" that she features on, was used in the background. The song would later feature in the following weeks for various other WWE content and would later be announced as one of the theme songs for WWE's biggest show of the year, WrestleMania XXVIII. Sia also provided vocals for David Guetta's song "Titanium" released on 5 August 2011, which can be found on his album Nothing but the Beat. Sia also performed this song live alongside Guetta at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2012, as well as featuring in Guetta's 2012 single "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)".
On 30 March 2012, Sia released the career retrospective Best Of... in Australia. It peaked at number 27 on the Australian Albums chart. She recorded "Kill and Run" for the soundtrack of the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby. On 17 June 2013, Furler won both Urban Work of The Year for the single "I Love It" with Hilltop Hoods and Songwriter of the Year at the 2013 APRA Awards.
2013–present: 1000 Forms of Fear
On 13 September 2013, Sia announced that she was finishing up her sixth album with Greg Kurstin. The album was preceded by the lead single, "Chandelier", released on 17 March 2014. The song was co-written by Jesse Shatkin and produced by Greg Kurstin. The single was Sia's first number one on the US Dance Club Play chart. On 18 April 2014, it was revealed that the album was to be titled 1000 Forms of Fear. On 14 May 2014, Sia revealed the album's artwork and tracklisting and also stated that it would be released on 8 July 2014.
A music video for "Chandelier" was released on 6 May 2014, and features child dancer Maddie Ziegler of the TV show Dance Moms. On 19 May 2014, Sia performed "Chandelier" live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, recreating the video with Ziegler dancing live on the set. Sia avoided the media spotlight, her back facing the audience and cameras during her entire appearance on the show. She also did this on ABC's Dancing with the Stars results show for Week 2. Likewise 1 November 2014 on the tray of the French version of Dancing with the Stars, but with other dancers, Denna Thomsen and Fauve Hautot (professional dancer from the TV show).
Sia featured on the deluxe version of Eminem's eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, on "Beautiful Pain". Furler also co-wrote Maroon 5's song "My Heart Is Open", on the band's fifth studio album V. On 8 July 2014, 1000 Forms of Fear was released worldwide. It has since topped the US Billboard 200, the Canadian Albums Chart, and the Australian Albums Chart. On 25 August 2014, she again collaborated with Eminem and was featured on his single called "Guts Over Fear", which is the first single from Shady Records' compilation album Shady XV, which was released on 24 November 2014. The song is also featured in the film The Equalizer. On 22 October 2014, she released a music video of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" from the 2014 feature film Annie.
Covers and other contributions
In November 2005, Furler recorded, "Sweet One", as a duet with fellow Australian singer Katie Noonan (ex-George). It was expected to be included on each artist's next solo albums but it did not appear on Furler's Some People Have Real Problems nor Noonan's Skin. "Sweet One" appeared on Katie Noonan and the Captain's album, Emperor's Box (2010). In 2006, Furler recorded a cover version of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android", which appeared on the tribute album, Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads. It was used in an episode of teen drama The O.C..
Furler provided backing vocals on The Bird and the Bee's cover version of the Bee Gees's "How Deep Is Your Love", which appears on the soundtrack for the Sex and the City film (2008). The Bird and the Bee's Greg Kurstin produced Furler's 2010 album We Are Born; he also provided keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, drums and xylophone; and co-wrote five tracks. Kurstin's bandmate, Inara George provided additional vocals. Furler collaborated with Lior on the song "I'll Forget You" for his album, Corner of an Endless Road (2008). In August, "Breathe Me" was licensed to Coles Supermarkets Australia and appeared in their commercial airing during coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In October, she performed two songs on the BBC2 TV show, Later... with Jools Holland – "Buttons" and "Soon We'll Be Found". Furler's song "Breathe Me" is used as the backing music for the Tokyo Game Show trailer of the video game Prince of Persia, published by Ubisoft in 2008, also for the trailer of the 2005 film Derailed, as well as the final sequence for the TV show Six Feet Under and the film The Ultimate Gift.
In 2009, Furler contributed backing vocals on "Carol Brown" and "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute" for Flight of the Conchords' second album, I Told You I Was Freaky. She appeared on Swedish singer Peter Jöback's album East Side Stories on the cover song duet "Wicked Game", written by Chris Isaak. She provides guest vocals on the song "Never So Big" on David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's concept album Here Lies Love released in 2010.
Her cover of The Church song "Under the Milky Way" was used in a Lincoln MKT car commercial, and in January 2010, was released to the iTunes Store. She has performed cover versions of Britney Spears's "Gimme More", Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", Grease's "You're the One That I Want" – a duet with Beck, and the Madonna song "Oh Father". Also in 2010, Furler contributed "My Love" to the soundtrack of the third instalment of The Twilight Saga pentalogy. The soundtrack debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart.
In 2010, "Lullaby" was featured heavily in the trailers for the Clint Eastwood film Hereafter. The next year, it was played in the season finale of The Big C and in episode 1 of season 4 of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, while "Breathe Me" can be heard in the ABC film Cyberbully.
Furler co-wrote and sang "Titanium" for David Guetta's 2011 album, Nothing but the Beat by DJ David Guetta. According to Sia's official Twitter, she described "Titanium" in more vivid detail: "It's amazing that 40 minutes of my life and zero promo turned into my most successful song to date." "Titanium" has since reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart and is the most successful song of her prolific 15-year career. She collaborated with Guetta again in 2012 for his Nothing But the Beat 2.0 digital re-release of the song "She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)", which was released as the album's lead single on 21 August 2012 and peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart.
She also wrote a few songs for Madonna's 2012 album, MDNA. But on 21 December 2011, Furler reported on her Twitter that: "Sadly none of my submissions made the new Madonna record. 'trust' if it exists, was not written by me. Rumor!"
Furler also sings on Flo Rida's song "Wild Ones", which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart, and also on the Adelaide-based band Hilltop Hoods' song "I Love It" which has reached number 6 on the ARIA Singles Chart as of 27 February 2012.
She co-wrote the hit single "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)" by Ne-Yo off his fifth album RED.
In August 2012, songwriter Claude Kelly revealed Sia was one of the many individuals working on Rihanna's seventh studio album Unapologetic. In September 2012, Sia announced via Facebook that she wrote the lyrics and melody for Diamonds, the first single from Rihanna's seventh studio album.
It also has been revealed that Ke$ha collaborated with Sia on the singer's second studio album. Furler worked on Christina Aguilera's seventh studio album Lotus, on a song titled "Blank Page". She also co-wrote the song "Radioactive" for Rita Ora in 2013, in addition to two songs from Jessie J's second studio album Alive called "Breathe" and "Unite".
In 2013, Sia co-wrote the songs "Perfume", "Passenger" and "Brightest Morning Star" with Britney Spears for her eighth studio album, Britney Jean. In the same year, Sia also co-wrote and featured on the Eminem track "Beautiful Pain". Additionally, Sia is featured in the song "Battle Cry" by Angel Haze, which is in Angel Haze's new album Dirty Gold.
Furler co-wrote "Loved Me Back to Life", the lead single from Celine Dion's eleventh English-language album. The song was released on 3 September 2013. Furler co-wrote the track "Double Rainbow" with singer Katy Perry. The track is included on Perry's 2013 album, Prism. In August 2013, it was announced that Sia co-wrote a song with Jennifer Lopez to be included on Lopez's eighth studio album A.K.A.. The song, "Expertease (Ready Set Go)", was included on the deluxe edition of A.K.A..
Sia also contributed to Beyoncé's self-titled album as writer for "Pretty Hurts". Sia also wrote the summer release "Standing on the Sun" and features in the song providing ad-libs for Beyoncé in the track.
In 2014, Sia contributed to Kylie Minogue's twelfth studio album, "Kiss Me Once" as co-executive producer and was confirmed as a writer on the album tracks "Kiss Me Once" and "Sexercize". Furler has also collaborated with Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira on her eponymous fifth studio album, co-writing the song "Chasing Shadows".
Furler's parents, Phil Colson and Loene Furler, were members of Adelaide-based rockabilly band, The Soda Jerx. Colson is a composer, playwright and band leader, Loene is an art lecturer, musician and songwriter. Furler described her boyfriend, Dan, as her "first true love". As mentioned above, the couple planned to travel together on a world trip; she stopped off in Thailand while he continued to London. There, Dan was killed in a traffic accident, a week before Furler was due to arrive.
In 2008, Furler discussed her sexual orientation in interviews with Scotland on Sunday and AfterEllen.com. She was included on a list of gay entertainers in the June–July 2009 issue of The Advocate. In both 2009 and 2010, Furler was nominated by readers of SameSame.com.au as one of the 25 most influential lesbian and gay Australians. Furler said of herself "I've always been honest if anyone ever asked me. Before I was actually successful I'd always said I've always dated boys and girls and anything in between. I don't care what gender you are, it's about people. I didn't just recently open up, I just recently got famous! I've always been… well, flexible is the word I would use.". In June 2010, Furler expressed a wish to marry her then girlfriend JD Samson of electro-punk band Le Tigre. The couple has since broken up.
In June 2010, Furler's official website announced that all scheduled promotional events and shows had been cancelled due to her poor health. She cited extreme lethargy and panic attacks and considered retiring permanently from performing and touring. According to her Twitter account, she was diagnosed with Graves' disease – an autoimmune disorder with an over-active thyroid. Four months later, in an ARIA Awards interview, Furler said her health was improving after rest and thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Furler, who is a vegetarian, participated in an advertisement for PETA Asia-Pacific, with her dog, Pantera, to encourage pet neutering. Furler has also joined other publicly known figures for the "Oscar's Law" campaign, in protest against the factory farming of companion animals. Other advocates include singers Jon Stevens, Paul Dempsey, Rachael Leahcar, and Missy Higgins.
- OnlySee (1997)
- Healing Is Difficult (2001)
- Colour the Small One (2004)
- Some People Have Real Problems (2008)
- We Are Born (2010)
- 1000 Forms of Fear (2014)
Awards and nominations
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- Cohen, Alex (15 February 2008). "Sia Learns to Sound Like Herself". Day to Day. NPR (National Public Radio). Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Word and the Deal[sound recording] / Crisp". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 8 January 1998. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Delerium[sound recording] / Crisp". Trove. National Library of Australia. 8 January 1998. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
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- "Tame Impala Sia Win Big at APRA Awards ♫ theMusic.com.au | Australia's Premier Music News & Reviews Website". Themusic.com.au. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
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- Lipshutz, Jason (14 May 2014). "Sia Announces '1000 Forms of Fear' Release Date & Track List". Billboard. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Gallo, Phil (25 August 2014). "Eminem Announces 'Shady XV' With New Track 'Guts Over Fear' and New Compilation". Billboard.com. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- Music video for Sia's "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" at YouTube
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