Sia has revealed in a new interview that she has been diagnosed with autism and is on the spectrum.
- READ MORE: Sia – ‘Music – Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture’ review: better than the movie
Speaking to Rob Cesternino and Carolyn Wiger on a recent Rob Has A Podcast episode, the singer-songwriter said she is “on the spectrum, and I’m in recovery and whatever. There’s a lot of things.”
While Sia did not share explicitly when she was diagnosed, she alluded that it was a recent development over the past two years: “For 45 years, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go put my human suit on,’ and only in the last two years have I become fully, fully myself.”
Carolyn Wiger, a drug counsellor and former contestant on Survivor 44, thanked Sia for being candid and open about her situation, to which the singer replied: “Being in recovery and also knowing about which kind of neurologicality you might have, or might not have, well, I think one of the greatest things is that nobody can ever know you and love you when you’re filled with secrets and living in shame.”
Sia also opened up about receiving treatment for substance abuse, saying: “When we finally sit in a room full of strangers and tell them our deepest darkest most shameful secrets and everybody laughs along with us, and we don’t feel like pieces of trash for the first time, we feel seen for the first time in our lives for who we actually are and then we can start going out into the world as operators just operating as humans.”
Sia came under fire in 2021 for her directorial debut with the movie Music, in which Maddie Ziegler stars as the titular nonverbal autistic teenager. Sia courted controversy over her decision to cast Ziegler, who is not on the autism spectrum. An online petition was launched, aiming to cancel the premiere due to the film’s “inaccurate and hurtful betrayal of the [autistic] community” and the inclusion of scenes in which the titular character is restrained.
Addressing the widespread criticism, Sia apologised to the community and said that a disclaimer would appear before future screenings of Music. “I promise, have been listening,” she wrote, adding that her research “was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough”.
In a one-star review of the film, NME said: “This is all cut with pastel-toned dream-like dance routines which hit the midpoint between sugary Katy Perry pop confection and 1930s Busby Berkeley showstopper.
“The Sia-penned soundtrack is sung largely by Hudson, whose decent vocals are perhaps the film’s saving grace, but it’s still not nearly enough to make Music a sound proposition.”