Australian pop singer-songwriter Sia performed The Greatest for the first time in front of attendees of a large-scale event at the Bill Graham Multi-Purpose Arena. In September 2016 in San Francisco there was the presentation of the next model of iPhone 7. The charismatic artist’s new composition, performed alongside the popular Chandelier, was well received by the audience. The single The Greatest was included on the deluxe reissue of the singer’s seventh album titled This Is Acting, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Album.
How the lyrics relate to the video
In interpreting the meaning of The Greatest, the video directed by Sia Furler and her compatriot, director Daniel Askill, plays a significant role. The dancers and choreographer Ryan Haffingon confirmed on their social media accounts that their work is a reference to the events in Orlando, when an armed Omar Martin broke into the Pulse gay club. It’s a scary thing to die at the hands of a man who suddenly, for some reason, decides you’re not worthy to go on living. The 29-year-old Afghan-American thought he was doing justice by brutally shooting people. He was killed in a confrontation with police.
The connection of the music video to the tragedy of June 12, 2016, is easy to see without the explanations of the members of The Greatest project. The number of dancers involved is equal to the number of people who died that fateful night: 49 people. Lead singer Maddie Ziegler’s face, smearing tears on her cheeks, is painted with a 6-color rainbow, a symbol of the LGBT movement. At the end, all the kids are dancing in a room with disco balls and then abruptly drop dead. Bullet holes can be seen in the wall behind them. A 13-year-old girl finds herself among the immobilized bodies (the victims of the terrorist attack) and shouts to them, “Don’t give up.”
Sia herself does not give any comments about the theme of The Greatest music video. It should be noted that the singer has always actively supported the LGBT community, and has openly declared her bisexuality. But it would be wrong to consider this single as a kind of coming-out for the Australian star of emotional jazz and provocative pop. Many music critics advise listening to the track The Greatest without exactly “tying it” to the video made in memory of the Orlando victims. Then the deeper concept of the composition, created by Sia Furler together with rapper Kendrick Lamar, opens up.
The meaning of the song The Greatest.
If you parse the song line by line, it’s life-affirming and motivational. Are you in crisis, depressed, in a depressing mood? Hands down and do not want to live? Listen to positive and sunny Sia. In the world pop industry she is called the “Australian treasure”. Sia is not only the owner of a unique voice, the author and performer of compositions in a bizarre style, where the blend of emotional jazz, folk, soul and pop outrageous. The woman has honorably emerged from life’s trials, overcame the traumas of the past, and freed herself from alcohol and drug addictions. Today the 47-year-old artist leads a healthy lifestyle, does yoga, follows a vegan diet and is active in campaigns for the protection of pets. Sia has adopted two children and married her boyfriend Dan Bernad in Spring 2023. The singer has often said in interviews that her musical references have always been and still are Stevie Wonder, Sting and Aretha Franklin, the classic rhythm and blues performer.
Sia’s life and work inspire people to pull themselves out of the swamp by their pigtails like Munchausen, shake off all the troubles, straighten their shoulders, and raise their heads proudly. Let there be nothing but hope behind your soul. But sometimes that’s all it takes, to believe in yourself and find the strength to move on.
The chorus of The Greatest is a variation of the famous catchphrase “Never give up!” The main thing is not to give up when you’re defeated, not to give up when you encounter difficulties. The inner charge and vitality are important. The lyrics repeatedly say: I’m running, I can survive this, nothing will break me. Sia sings confidently and energetically: “I got stamina”, “I won’t give up”.
Another of the singer’s life-affirming messages: “To be strong, to be brave, to be energetic – it means to be the best! Like a mantra, sounds the phrase “I’m free to be the greatest of all! I want to echo the unique voice: “I can be the greatest here this evening”; “Nothing stops me from being the greatest, the greatest of the living”.
Everything in the song is bright, unspeakably sad, and beautiful at the same time. At the same time, there is no social context. That’s what one of the reviewers of The Atlantic wrote. And the British newspaper The Edge called it an inspiring single. It’s a clear message to everyone: you can change your inner world and the situation around you. But in order to do that you have to be The Greatest, and you have to act decisively and now.
The main theme of the song performed by Sia is the call to go forward, to strive for more. You deserve more and you will get what you want. Work hard, pray earnestly, persevere toward your goal, believe in yourself, and everything will work out.