Like the rest of the world, I’ve recently discovered Sia Furler. Hers is an unusual success story. She has zoomed in, seemingly out of nowhere, and occupied the niche where pure pop lies down with the avant-garde, that sweet spot where weirdness has monumental mass appeal. (Lady Gaga lives there too.) But if it seems that Sia came out of nowhere, in fact, she’s been dominating the pop stratosphere for years. She’s written and sung on some of the biggest hits of the decade; she wrote Rihanna’s Diamonds, and she’s the one who is Titanium. The fact that she wears crazy wigs in public and uses a precocious teenage proxy in her videos and live performances may have less to do with highbrow big ideas and more a practical minded means of navigating the image crazed media world as a woman of 40. Not that those things are mutually exclusive. Sia’s image is a calculated reaction to an industry that prizes nubile sexuality above all else. She has the artistic goods to be a pop icon – her voice is amazing and she knows how to write songs that sell – but no one becomes a pop icon at 40, especially not if they’re a woman who was never a Victoria’s Secret Angel to begin with. Sia has become a pop icon overnight, after years of semi-anonymous success, partly because she’s got an unmatched hand for pop music, and partly because she’s given a firm fuck you to the cult of beauty and youth and replaced it with something more interesting.