The singer and the British songstress wrote the songs together for her upcoming album, but when she stopped by Ryan Seacrest's radio show, where she had a mannequin do the explaining -- seriously, a mannequin head sat in the interview chair with a half-blonde, half-dark wig pretending to talk while Sia sat off camera speaking, she said that Adele later rejected the track because it "sounded like a Sia song."
"We wrote three songs in two days and none of them made the cut, and [‘Alive’] was one of them,” she reveals. “I said to her, ‘Do you mind if I pitch it to, let’s say, Rihanna?’ She said, ‘Yeah, but can you take my vocal off it because I don’t want my vocal floating around out there on a demo.’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’ So I went and recut the vocal and everybody in my life was like, ‘You can’t give this away to anybody.'”
Rihanna later passed, so Sia kept it for herself along with several other rejected songs, which ultimately make up the track list for her upcoming seventh album, This Is Acting.
“Most of the songs, if not all of them, I wrote for other people and they were rejected,” she explained. “Generally, they’re songs that aren’t from my perspective, so it feels like acting. I have rejects from Rihanna, Shakira, Beyoncé, Demi Lovato, all the good girls, [and] Katy [Perry].”
Sia said that she decides who she will send her tracks to by how it turns out. “Usually the song will tell me who it belongs to. It seems clear to me who would do a good job with it, who it suits,” she said. But sometimes it isn't the artist that inspires her, it's actually a little reality television.
Sia revealed that she wrote the "I'm still breathing" line after watching an episode of "America's Next Top Model."
"This beautiful young man on the last cycle had said that he had had a tough life, but he said, 'I am still breathing,' and I felt emotional, and so I wrote it down," she said. "I have so much to thank reality TV for.