Sia

If you're looking for the ideal business model of how to achieve pop success in a marketplace where radio play lists keep shrinking and album sales are no longer a financial surety, 32-year-old Australian singer Sia Furler is as good a candidate as anyone. Ethereal in every regard — her feathery voice, her music's down-tempo electronica, her songs' tales of lost love and general melancholy — Sia is too delicate a flower to survive against mainstream female performers who are breathtaking pinups belting and moaning their emotions in capital letters. So, in a career that came to prominence as a hired vocalist for Zero 7, Sia has worked the margins — or, more precisely, the background — as her songs have proved to be supple fill music for shows like Six Feet Under. Her latest record, Some People Have Real Problems, is another reliably polite collection that offers pretty choruses without demanding too much of your concentration. Perhaps more importantly, Real Problems has been released through Hear Music, guaranteeing that it'll be easily accessible to the nation's middlebrow Starbucks crowd. She may be a marketing gimmick, but she sure beats Fergie.

 
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