One of our cover editorials for issue 03 ‘Cats and Hags’ is hugely inspired by Sia’s music video, ‘Chandelier’. Whilst I cannot share any more information with you on the cover shoot yet, I can revisit one of my all time favourite videos which has helped inspired it. It may not be her hottest release anymore, but I cannot help but become re-obsessed with one of the most groundbreaking videos of our time and sharing what I love about it with you, Tatties! I was so inspired by the video when it first came out and here is a post I wrote about it at the time.
The official music video for ‘Chandelier’ has not long been dropped and it is going to win awards, simple as. The video features a mini Sia complete with an oversized blonde bob wig – very ‘Village of The Damned’. Once you get passed the hypnotism of the amazing wig flicks, you notice who is under it. ‘Chandelier’ stars a tiny version of the ‘I go to sleep’ singer (star is the correct word here). Maddie Ziegler is the 11-year-old child star of American reality show ‘Dance Moms’. This is surely her big breakthrough of recognition for her actual dancing, rather than her pushy mother’s TV show.
The haunting video is set in a shabby apartment or perhaps empty motel room with a neutral colour pallet paired with natural lighting and delicately placed light leaks through tatty curtains. It begins with a strange, uncomfortable electronically buzzing sound to set the tone. By this point we are not sure what to expect, and then suddenly, it kicks us in the face with a small, bare foot. The wigged beauty moves around like a wild and beautiful blonde donkey, kicking and artistically flailing all over the place. If ever there was an interpretive dance that made you feel all kinds of emotions, it would be this, although we’re not quite sure exactly what we are supposed to be feeling, it just works! It helps that the video is accompanied by the amazing song, which is extremely powerful with the almost pain filled tones and delicate falsetto. Sia can sing all she likes, but by the end of the video we are asking ourselves, ‘Who the hell is Sia?’, completely fixated on Maddie’s moves.
Maddie not only replicates Sia herself, but also holds strong similarities to typical horror film characters, leaping into the air into overly flexible positions, dragging her body just by her hands and then throwing her head back and bending her body backwards up a wall. However a gentle humour lightens the mood (slightly) as her face does most of the dancing with some interesting and childish expressions. The video is utterly poignant and powerful, making us all remember the struggle of childhood and the inner battles with growing up (which is enough to make anyone throw themselves beautifully around an empty room…)
The video has some slightly disturbing undertones – perhaps this is Sia (the big version) adding some autobiographical storylines. Maddie is shown wearing a skin tight, flesh coloured leotard. It is fair to say that nothing in music videos happened by accident and some could argue that the child looks almost nude. This could be a reference to nature, nostalgia and the child-like freedom that comes with being naked. However once again the old stained, sheet-less mattress being one of the only props in the room has that dark underlying tone of a sexual nature.
The best thing about the video is perhaps the fact that large clips of it were shot in one go, rather than in short takes. This proves the dancer’s amazing skill and relentless schedule of dancing practise, as well as clever placement of the camera team, which follows her leaps faultlessly as she “flies like a bird through the night”.
The video was co-directed by Sia herself along with Daniel Askill. ‘Chandelier’ is taken from the singer’s latest album ‘1000 Forms of Fear’, which is album number 6 and was released in June 2014.
Words by Loo Loo Rose