Titanium
by David Guetta (featuring Sia)

Album: Nothing But The Beat (2011)
Charted: 1 7

Songfacts®:

  • This is a promotional single off David Guetta's fifth studio album Nothing But The Beat. The single features Australian pop singer-songwriter Sia Furler and was released on August 8, 2011.
  • This song marks a nexus in Sia's career. She had modest success as an artist, but was looking to transition into songwriting for other artists so she would have to deal with unpleasantries like promotion and scrutiny. A very introspective songwriter, her manager, Jonathan Daniel, told her to focus on a single concept when writing pop songs. Sia tried it with "Titanium," building the whole song around the metaphor of a study metal resistant to harm. It didn't reflect how she really felt, but was very easy for her, so she followed the formula on "Diamonds," which became a #1 hit for Rihanna.

    Sia's plan was to fulfill her contract by making one last solo album, then crank out more pop songs for other artists. But when she released the video for the first single, "Chandelier," it was stratospherically successful, so she diverted her efforts into her own work, hiding under a huge wig to keep restrained.
  • Guetta told Artist Direct about this track: "That song is interesting because it's different from anything else on the album. All of the guests on the album are from pop and R&B, and 'Titanium' is a little bit like a UFO flying over it all because Sia is a more of an indie artist. I think she's the only white girl on the record [Laughs]. I fell in love with the song. At first, she wrote that song and demoed it. She wanted to give it to another artist, but I felt her voice is so incredible and the song is so emotional that I really wanted her to stay on it. The song also uses some acoustic elements which is very different from what I usually do. I think it makes it very interesting."
  • Titanium is a strong, light and corrosion-resistant metallic element. Titanium alloys are used in aircraft, armor plating, missiles, naval ships and spacecraft.
  • Sia recorded a demo guide vocal, which she sent first of all to Katy Perry, but the California Gurls singer turned it down because it was too similar in theme to her hit "Firework." After trying several other artists, Mary J. Blige finally recorded the song, but her version leaked online in July 2011, so Guetta decided to stick with Sia's original. He explained in an interview with News.com.au: "The first time I heard what Sia did, because she was not in the studio with me, I fell in love with it... I didn't even want to give it to anyone else; it was perfect the way it was. It's not only about how big you are in America, it's about the song and the voice."
  • The music video stars Super 8 actor Ryan Lee as the schoolboy with supernatural powers.
  • The song was Guetta's fifth #1 single in the UK, his fourth as lead artist. However, it was Sia's first ever visit to the top spot, 12 years after she first made her British chart debut with the #10 peaking "Taken For Granted."
  • Others UK #1 singles with metals referenced in the title include Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" and David Soul's "Silver Lady." However, "Titanium" is the strongest chart-topping metal to date.
  • Sia wrote the lyric in 40 minutes. She tweeted: "It's amazing that 40 minutes of my life and zero promo turned into my most successful song to date."
  • It was Katy Perry who suggested to Guetta that he should retain Sia's demo vocal. Perry told The New York Times magazine: "I had just come off 'Firework' and didn't want to repeat myself. I have to balance out my anthems, or else I'll just be a motivational speaker. I was like, 'I think you're crazy not to just keep Sia.'"
  • This was the song that Anna Kendrick's character, Beca, sang in the shower during the Pitch Perfect movie, which leads to her getting a spot in the a cappella group.
  • This song was also recorded in Spanish, featuring the Argentine singer Mey, instead of Sia. It is called "Titanio." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brenden - Wales, United Kingdom
  • Sia didn't set out to be a pop songwriter - her early solo work had a niche audience. She ended up having a golden touch when it comes to mass appeal, which is something that both baffles and amuses her. In a 2015 talk with Rolling Stone, she said, "'Titanium' is very cheesy," and explained why the song, along with "Wild Ones," are tracks she's glad someone else recorded. "I never intended or wanted either of those songs to be seen because I felt like it diluted my credibility because I found them to be very cheesy," she said. "I just wanted to collect the publishing checks at the end of the day."
  • In 2012, the P22 Chorus, which is comprised of fifth grade students at a public school in Staten Island, New York, did a rendition of this song that became a hit on YouTube.

    When she saw interviews with some of the children explaining how the song helped them gain confidence and overcome bullies, Sia reconsidered the song. "I felt like I was jaded and cynical, and I felt like a bit of an a--hole," she said. "I thought, 'Why don't you loosen up, you prick! This stuff that you think is cheesy is really impacting these kids around the world. Why don't you stop being so judgmental?'"

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