Breathe Me
by Sia

Album: Colour the Small One (2004)
Charted: 71


  • In the video The making of Colour the Small One, Sia says: "'Breathe Me' is about feeling worried, generally anxious. Being overwhelmed by your own inner dialogue and having some sort of conniption fit and potentially doing yourself some harm, then asking for help."
  • This tale of anxiety and self-harm was very real to Sia. The very night she wrote it, she attempted suicide by taking 22 Valium and downing a bottle of vodka, something she didn't reveal until a series of interviews in 2018. In 2010, she again plotted her death, planning to check into a hotel and take all the pills she had. A phone call from an old friend changed her mind and convinced her to get sober, which she did.
  • This was used on the last episode of the HBO TV series Six Feet Under during a montage where it reveals what happened in the characters' lives and their deaths. This was the first time Sia got significant exposure to an American audience. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Marie - Cumming, GA
  • This was released ten years before Sia started hiding under he famous wig. Even then, she did very little press and often suppressed her image. Her picture doesn't appear on the album cover.
  • In the years after this song was released, Sia continued to battle her demons as her career made steady headway. In 2010, she had some success co-writing Christina Aguilera's "You Lost Me," and the following year she authored David Guetta's hit "Titanium." Her breakout came in 2014 with the release of her album 1000 Forms Of Fear, featuring "Chandelier." That's when she started wearing the wig.
  • The British producer Dan Carey co-wrote this song with Sia. Musically, it started with a groove from her rhythm section: drummer Felix Bloxsom and bass player Sam Dixon. Sia told I Like Music: "It always felt like a good song that one. Sam and Felix had put the drums and bass down, they played it all live together one night after they'd been to dinner, and I was really sick with flu and I walked in the next day and the track was there without me singing on it and it was just so sleek. I don't really listen to my own music. I don't think most people listen to their own music after they've recorded it. Some of my musician friends get really anal and listen to it all the time, analyzing it. But once I've done it, I listen to it once and put it to bed, but with that one I was like, 'yeah! Again! Again!'"
  • This was used in a gripping scene in the 2011 TV movie Cyberbully, which aired on the ABC Family network. It plays as Emily Osment's character - a teenager who is tormented online - attempts suicide. The song was also used in episodes of CSI: Miami ("Innocent" - 2004) and Veronica Mars ("I Am God - 2006").

Comments: 21

  • Jo from Scranton, PaIf you are close to someone who cuts, the clues are plain to see. From “hurt myself again” to “wrap me up” to “ouch.” Cutters resort to self-harm when in their emotion mind and have “lost themselves” during moments of extreme anxiety. In DBT therapy, you are taught to use the word “unsafe” when you fear your emotion mind has taken the wheel away from your wise mind. It’s painful to watch someone experience this level of emotional distress and not know what to do to help.
  • Jacquelyn from Canada Honestly, this is one of my favourite songs. It has such a deep meaning, that a lot of people didn't talk about in the time this song came out. Sia went through so much hardship in her life, and you can hear in the words of her song. She writes what she feels, and people judge her for that. I think the people that judge her are massive a-holes, this woman has been through more pain than you can imagine, and writing and singing helps her cope. Her words are extremely powerful, and I can relate to them. Thank her instead of hating on her.
  • Hailey from Rensselaer, IndianaThis song made a big effect on me because I've felt this way. Now people judge you for it.
  • Carla from IllinoisLove this song. Her voice is so pretty.
  • Josh from Perth, AustraliaI believe she wrote the song after her fiancé was killed it a car accident in Thailand before their engagement party, that's the kinda s--t that takes a long time to get over so a bit of cutting and whatever else is of small concern, anyway I'm sure she has supportive ppl around her and is getting better with each passing day :) x
  • M from Toronto, OnAdele stole the piano from this song for her song "Hometown Glory."
  • Carolyn from Fort Wayne, InTo me the song is more about having the very thing you need to survive and then it is taken away from you. The realization that you have to carry on and find a way back from that pain. That life goes on and the struggle to have help or not. Thinking about walls that are build for your survival and tearing them down and exposing that pain for everyone to see, and seeking the help that is desperately needed.
  • Jason from Toms River, NjThis I kind of consider my theme song... I relate all too well to it and love it more then any other song out there. Its about self destruction... having something good and consistantly screwing it up eventually cause you subconciously just don't consider yourself worthy of having anything good in your life. Its also about the longing after you've screwed things up to want someone there to help you pick up the pieces and tell you its all gonna be okay. You put on this falsefront that you are strong and you can handle the situation but really you just want someone to break down the walls and really see exactly how fragile you are and how much you do in fact need their help after you've made a mistake.
  • Robohobo from Frankfurt, Germanythe song is about co-dependence and to be committed by this illness.
    it's definitely not about god!
    belive me i know what i'm talking that case..
  • Kyle from Goleta, CaThis song is used in a promotional trailer for the game "Prince of Persia" (2008).
  • Lucy from Lethbridge, AbI think this song is about self harm or an eating disorder or overcoming suicide/depression. It could also be about some type of addiction. I think "Breathe me" means walk in my shoes or see it from my view. Ah, and when her voice cracks! Wow. So amazing.
  • Illyngophobia from Atlanta, GaThis is not about God. It is not a Christian song.
    Sia is a lesbian. You guys, seriously.
    This song is about loneliness.
  • Yes from San Diego, CaI discovered SIA about a month ago, and I love her. This song is about loneliness and depression.
  • Hablos from Toronto, CaThe real meaning of this song is hidden in analogies. It's really about a breakdancing chicken who ascends his way up the corporate ladder to one day become the executive CEO. But in doing so he is soon remiss about all the people he's had to leave behind, and the family he never had because he was concentrated on getting to where he is now. The song is actually sung from further past this point, where the chicken is on his death bed and in his final moments remembers all the things he's done and that he's left behind. As the song ends, the chicken encroaches death to the gradually fading tune of the music. There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the true meaning of the song - it's not about African children dying abroad, or love or CSI - just about a break dancing chicken and his eventual realization that he's lost everything he held dear.
  • Lisa from Sydney, United StatesThis song reminds me of my ex who broke up with me after a longterm relationship. When i listen to this song, I think about the pain this person has caused me and how all I want is for him to just talk to, despite the fact that he's caused all the hurt in the first place.
  • Jennifer from Gallup, NmI think she is talking to God in this song, telling him she needs him, is small without him, asking him to wrap her up. Which would fit with the context Six Feet Under played it in. And Ted, who likes Christian music, picked this song for Claire.
  • Ashley from Pgh, PaThis song is so beautiful. I heard this song on youtube a few months ago. It was in Spike Lee's documentary on Hurrican Katrina.
  • Billy from New Providence, NjThis song is so good. For an excellent effect when listening to it, play it while driving in your car alone. And just listen.
  • Murph from Peoria, IlLike DC says ... used in a very chilling montage in Six Feet Under -- also the song used in the season previews for the final round -- the one with everyone driving old cars around in the desert.

    One of those songs that if you've seen the show, you can NOT listen to this song without seeing the scenes played over and over in your head.
  • Dc from Hilo, HiUsed memorably in the series finale of SIX FEET UNDER. It's the song that plays when Claire is headed off to New York and we see a montage of the deaths of each of the main characters.
  • Shae from Vegas, Nvthis is a really good song ppl dont really listen to it but it is really good and i love it
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

The Girl in That Song

The Girl in That SongFact or Fiction

Billie Jean, Delilah, Sara, Laura and Sharona - do you know who the girls in the songs really are?

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Laura Nyro

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Shaun Morgan of Seether

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.