In a recent episode of Rob Has a Podcast, which also featured “Survivor” finalist Carolyn Wiger, singer-songwriter Sia revealed for the first time that she is on the autism spectrum. The revealed diagnosis, which came well into the Grammy winner’s adulthood and two years after receiving backlash from the autism community for casting neurotypical actress Maddie Ziegler as a character with autism in her film “Music.”
“I’m on the spectrum and I’m in recovery and whatever — there’s a lot of things,” said the musician, speaking both about her diagnosis and her sobriety with Wiger, who’s also a recovered addict.
Sia, who is 47, said, “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.”
Like former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, she received a late autism diagnosis well into adulthood. She said she is now feeling “seen for the first time” for “who [I] actually am.”
As she told host Rob Cesternino, “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 in our lives, and we feel seen for the first time in our lives for who we actually are, then we can start going out into the world and just operating as humans and human beings with hearts and not pretending to be anything.”
In 2021, Sia responded to criticism for what was widely perceived as an inauthentic portrayal of autism in “Music,” writing on Twitter: “I spent three f–king years researching. I think that’s why I’m so f–king bummed. Cast 13 neuro-atypical people, three trans folk, and not as f–king prostitutes or drug addicts but as doctors, nurses and singers. f–king sad nobody’s even seen the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place.”
On Rotten Tomatoes, “Music” currently has a 7% approval rating from critics and a slightly better 14% audience rating. Reviewers called the movie “misguided” and “pitiful.”