The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox, with respect to art, culture, and society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer. – Wikipedia
When I think of singers/songwriters who use an avant-garde aesthetic in their work, my mind always races to Sia.
Sia is the definition of avant-garde in everything from her eccentric personal style to her ways of presenting herself to especially musical works and their representations. As so many female artists today are critiqued for their looks rather than their authentic talents, Sia began hiding her appearance in creative and unconventional ways arguing that she wanted to be known for her music rather than her looks. While Sia has been publicly ridiculed for this very act on countless occasions, I find it to be a very strong act of courage and provision of a strong message as both an artist and as a woman.
“I’m so powerful, I don’t need batteries to play. I’m so confident, yeah I’m unstoppable today.”
“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall. I am titanium.”
“Sun is up, I’m a mess. Gotta get out now, gotta run from this. Here comes the shame, here comes the shame.”
“I know what I wanted; I went out and got it. Did all the things that you said I wouldn’t.”
We all know that Sia is a bit of a mystery but what screams volumes over her uniqueness is the lyrics of her songs. So many of her words are honest representations of feminist issues; be it her intention or not, it is clearly her experience. These lyrics range from heartbreaking to empowering and back again in the form of relatable feelings and situations and arguably, I believe that this is why so many are pulled towards her music.