Sia has spoken about writing for Kanye West and Rihanna.
When she's not releasing faceless music videos and multi-million selling albums, Sia's one of pop's most reliable songwriters. Penning classics like Rihanna's "Diamonds", Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts" and Britney Spears' "Perfume", more or less no one is more in demand than the 39 year old Australian pop sensation.
As a result, she most likely has an interesting tale or two about the way her contemporaries write, and she spilled to Rolling Stone what it's like to go into the studio with Kanye West and Rihanna, both of whom are currently working on much delayed studio albums.
When pressed on her sessions with Kanye, Sia revealed, quite simply, "he wasn’t there!"
She elaborates, name checking Rihanna too:
They’ll entice me into a session by saying, “Rihanna will definitely be there” or “Kanye will definitely be there,” but it’s hilarious because I turn up and, almost always, they never come. So I went into the studio to write for Rihanna with Kanye and neither of them showed up and we stayed for less than an hour. They had two tracks. They told me what they had wanted. There were notes from Kanye, and I can’t even remember what they were. I remember I just raced in and raced out, and I thought there was something about the chorus that seemed fun about this song, but I never thought it would see the light of day.
And on writing for Rihanna, she went on to say:
Her manager said “We want ‘Diamonds.’ We need soul. We want some music that has feeling. I went to Greg [Kurstin], and that’s what we came up with. I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her. It’s more Icona Pop. We did actually send it to her, but they passed on it, and then I just couldn’t stop listening to it in the car. [So I said] “I’ll put that on there.”
Mostly we’ve been pitching on Rihanna for the last couple years because she’s been looking for a couple years. Well, it feels like a couple years. It might be one year. They’re always looking for that first single.
It's always interesting to get a peak behind the iron curtain that is the recording studio walls, but it's even more interesting to hear that major artists are barely present for writing sessions. Writing credits can be a tricky thing, because even those who have creative input into a song's lyrical content, but don't actually write a single lyric, can be eligible for a mention.
Interestingly, Iggy Azalea shed some light on this earlier in the year whilst discussing Little Mix's involvement in the writing of "Pretty Girls."
Sia also revealed that, bar one, every single song on the record was written for someone else, including Adele and Beyoncé. Check out the whole interview here.