Australia’s new queen of pop music, Sia, hasn’t only been hitting the musical heights with her massive single ‘Chandelier’ – she’s also written words and music for two songs in Baz Luhrmann’sStrictly BallroomThe Musical, now playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. TheStrictly Ballroomcast got together (pictured) to congratulate Sia for her success, and here’s Sia’s own thoughts on her contributions to the musical.
In approaching you for a song, what did Baz ask for, and how did you tackle that?
I actually sent him a bunch of songs I thought had a good vibe for musical theatre, and lighter pop stuff. He did all the picking himself!
What is the main challenge when writing for a film or, in this case, a stage musical? What do you need to think about? How is it different to pop writing?
Well in this case I delivered the music and melodies and Baz and his team adapted a fair portion of the lyrics, as I was a little snowed under. I can’t take credit for their magic.
When I wrote for Annie the remake [unreleased] I learned to keep it even simpler, lyrically and melodically, but that there is more flexibility in ‘camp’ – I can use words I can’t necessarily get away with in a pop song. Baz threw “heavenly pineapple” in there. I mean, that is a spectacular display of camp that only musical theatre allows for. Unless you’re a YouTube comedian playing guitar in a coffee shop with no trousers on.
What were you aiming for in your songs? A certain feeling or emotion? A particular piece of storytelling?
I am just channelling when it comes to writing, I never write specifically for something, until it gets to the lyrics portion. I just channel, then the melody tells me what area I should keep it in the ‘pitch folder’. I think really Baz and his team took over in the storytelling. I just impart whatever emotion comes to the listener based on the melody I channelled. I always use the first melody I intuit and record on the