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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeCreativity in many colors is the name of the game for Australian-born, UK-based singer/songwriter Sia Furler-- she began her musical career with an acid jazz band at 17, released her first solo album in 1997, signed to a major label in 2000 as an R&B/Jazz artist, had a remix of her "Little Man" become a UK club favorite, was hailed as the next Nelly Furtado, released an electronica-backed album drawing comparisons to Dido, had her cover of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" appear on the TV series The O.C. , has collaborated with the Australian band George (who found considerable success with their 2003 release Polyserna) and the likes of Beck and Four Tet, and, most recently, gained the dubious distinction of being the only non-established artist to be picked up by Starbucks' in-store distribution for her third proper studio album Some People Have Real Problems.
Amidst her North American tour which has been selling out venue after venue, Sia's stop at Turner Hall wasn't a sold out affair, but the quality of her performance with her five-piece backing band was worthy of a full house. With the stage adorned by a host of Care Bears, Raggedy Anns and Andys, stuffed animals and child-like drawings as a backdrop, Sia and company took the stage under blacklights wearing outfits that made them appear as cartoon stick figures for the rousing "Buttons" from her new release. With a voice that is both powerful and dynamic, Sia's musical stylings fit somewhere between the light-hearted, quirkiness of Cyndi Lauper and the emotive expressiveness of Tori Amos. The song "Little Black Sandals" represented the best pop radio offering of the evening, while "Breathe Me," from the 2003 release Colour the Small One, provided some of the quietest and most intimate moments. Whether emerging from a splendid sea of cello, keys, guitars and drums in the shuffling "Academia" or commanding the sparse musical surroundings in "Soon We'll Be Found," Sia's songwriting proved to be just as impressive and range-spanning as her voice.
Also proving to be quite personal with her fans (calling a few out by name during the show and dedicating a song to them), the singer is primed to become one of the most popular female artists around with uniquely creative offerings that appeal to (and, perhaps most surprisingly, are appropriate for) fans of all ages.
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