"Titanium" is a song by French DJ and music producer David Guetta, featuring vocals by Australian recording artist Sia. Taken from Guetta's fifth studio album, Nothing but the Beat, the song was written by Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort and Afrojack. Production was also handled by Guetta, Tuinfort and Afrojack. "Titanium" was initially released for digital download on August 8, 2011, as the first of four promotional singles from the album. It was later released as the album's fourth single in December 2011. The song originally featured the vocals of American recording artist Mary J. Blige, whose version of the song leaked online in July 2011.
"Titanium" is a pop song which draws from the genres of house and urban-dance. The song's lyrics are about inner strength. Sia's vocals on "Titanium" received comparisons to those by Fergie and the song was also musically compared to Coldplay's work. Critics were positive towards the song and noted it as one of the standout tracks from Nothing but the Beat. "Titanium" attained top 10 positions in several major music markets, including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number one, becoming Guetta's fifth number-one single on the chart and Sia's first.
"Titanium" was co-written and performed by Sia (pictured in 2011)
"Titanium" was written by Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort and Afrojack. Production was also handled by Guetta, Tuinfort and Afrojack. After discovering Sia's music online, Guetta picked her to appear on his fifth studio album, Nothing but the Beat. Guetta told an insider from Los Angeles, "I was totally amazed by Sia ... This has made me more curious to study her music more because I was really impressed. I have the biggest people on the album and she has a different profile, more like an indie kind of artist and it makes her song even more special, it makes it stand out I think."
The song originally featured vocals from American recording artist Mary J. Blige, whose version of the song leaked online in July 2011. In an interview with News.com.au, Guetta spoke about its leak, saying, "You shouldn't even know about that ... I'd rather not speak about it. That was annoying. It wasn't supposed to be out there." Sia recorded a demo of the song, which was then sent to Blige and other artists. Eventually, Guetta decided to stay with her version. He explained, "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." American pop singer Katy Perry was the first person to be offered the track but turned it down because she felt its message was too similar to that of her song "Firework". An insider told Take 40 Australia, "So that 'Titanium' song, Sia wrote it for Katy, but [Katy] didn't want to do a song with Guetta ... " According to Sia's manager, Jonathan Daniel of Crush Management, Sia wrote the song for American R&B singer Alicia Keys. Guetta considered approaching other female singers to record on the song, however Perry advised him to keep Sia on the track. Guetta ultimately followed this suggestion. Sia revealed that Guetta put her vocals on the song without asking for permission:
"And then Mary J. Blige sang it. And then he took her vocal off it, and put my vocal back on, my demo vocal, without asking and released it. And I never even knew it was gonna happen, and I was really upset. Because I had just retired, I was trying to be a pop songwriter, not an artist."
According to Andrew Gregory of The Daily Telegraph, the song's intro features "a hint of 80s flavour". Al Fox of BBC Music wrote that on the song, Sia has "ghostly mandolin-esque vocals". Cameron Adams of Herald Sun called them "square-peg", while Melinda Newman of HitFix compared her vocals to those by Fergie. Genevieve Koski of The A.V. Club wrote that on the song, Sia "manage[s] to keep [her] head above the waves of synths ... by amping up [her] vocals to match the outsized beats." David Jeffries of Allmusic compared the song to the music of Coldplay.
David Byrne and Tony Peregrin of Windy City Times described "Titanium" as "epic and "energizing", writing, "it is Sia who steals the show" on Nothing but the Beat. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy agreed, calling the song one of "the record's standouts". Tom Ewing of The Guardian wrote, "Sia, on 'Titanium', handles the album's best hook well." Rich Lopez of Dallas Voice wrote that the "collaborative lyrics elevate this song to a higher level than any previous track" from the album, and called it "clever writing" from Sia. David Griffiths off 4Music called it "The most intriguing hook-up" on the album, writing that "'Titanium' sees Guetta giving the Australian songstress some long overdue commercial appeal, while Sia's vocals bring a quirky twist." Kerri Mason of Billboard magazine described the song as "Guetta's quirkiest and most epic track to date (in itself an unusual combination)." Jamie Horne of The Border Mail called it a "strong" track. Joe Copplestone of PopMatters noted that songs on the album such as "Titanium" and "Night of Your Life", "recall the power" of Guetta's previous collaborations with Kelly Rowland on "When Love Takes Over" (2009) and "Commander" (2010). "Titanium" was nominated for Dance Work of the Year at the 2012 APRA Music Awards, but lost to "From the Music" by The Potbelleez.
On the French Singles Chart, "Titanium" debuted at number nine on August 13, 2011. After weeks of ascending and descending the chart, the song peaked at number three on January 7, 2012, giving Guetta his thirteenth top 10 hit in France. In Australia, the song debuted at number 31 on the ARIA Singles Chart on August 15, 2011, and peaked at number five on September 5, 2011. It was certified five times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting sales of 350,000 copies. "Titanium" became Sia's second highest charting single as a solo artist in the country as well as Guetta's ninth top 10 hit there. On the New Zealand Singles Chart, it debuted at number 18 on August 15, 2011. The following week, the song fell to number 39 and eventually fell out of the top 40. Upon its release as a single in December 2011, "Titanium" re-entered the chart at number 12 on December 5, 2011, and peaked at number three on January 30, 2012. It was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), denoting sales of 45,000 copies. In Austria, "Titanium" debuted and peaked at number three on August 19, 2011, and remained in the top 10 for ten consecutive weeks. The song was certified platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), denoting sales of 30,000 copies.
"Titanium" also reached the top 10 in the charts of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. On the UK Singles Chart, "Titanium" debuted at number 16 on August 20, 2011, and fell to number 31 the following week. The song descended the UK Singles Chart for three consecutive weeks and eventually fell out of the top 100. Upon its release as a single in December 2011, "Titanium" re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 61 on January 14, 2012, and climbed to number eight the following week. On February 11, 2012, it peaked at number one, and became Guetta's fifth number-one single on the chart and Sia's first. The song also reached number one on the UK Dance Chart. "Titanium" was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), denoting shipments of 600,000 copies. "Titanium" was the fourth best-selling single of 2012 in the UK, and it has sold over one million copies there as of February 2013.
In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 66 on the issue dated August 27, 2011. After it was released to US radio in April 2012, "Titanium" reached a new peak of number seven on the issue dated July 21, 2012, and became Guetta's fourth top-ten single on the Hot 100. It also peaked at number three on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and number three on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. "Titanium" was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of March 2014, the song has sold 3,852,000 copies in the U.S.
Background and reception
The music video for "Titanium" was directed by David Wilson. It was filmed in December 2011 in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac and at Dorval-Jean XXIII High School, in the province of Quebec, Canada. A 14-second preview of the video was uploaded to Guetta's official YouTube account on December 16, 2011. The preview showed a young boy (played by actor Ryan Lee) in the smoky woods running away from a SWAT team of men. The video then closes with the caption, "The Music Video Coming Soon". The full video premiered online on December 20, 2011. Neither Guetta nor Sia appear in the video. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard magazine noted that "the supernatural scene and suburban setting" in the video recall the science fiction film Super 8 (2011), in which Lee stars. Becky Bain of Idolator wrote that, "The video is beautifully shot, and is courageous enough not to answer all its mysteries." A writer for Capital FM called it a "very cinematic video".
The video opens in a deserted, destroyed school hallway with Lee's character shown sitting on the ground. As the first verse begins, he slowly begins to stand up and makes his way through the hallway. The boy then sees a female teacher in a classroom who's stricken with fear and closes the door, realizing that the boy is the cause of the damage. As the boy makes his way outside the school building, a police car arrives and the teacher rushes outside to tell the policeman about the boy, who then quickly rides a bicycle home to pack his things. While at home, he sees a news report about the incident, causing him to quickly gather his things to flee. Several policemen then appear outside the front door of the boy's house, while he tries to escape through the back door. The boy realizes that the door is locked so he uses his telekinetic powers to grab the keys from the kitchen bench. The policemen then enter the house to find that the boy has escaped, but find a teddy bear and a plush frog floating in the air. The final scene shows the boy running away from a SWAT team in the woods. The boy is caught by one of the men who pushes him to the ground. The video ends with the boy using his supernatural powers once again to push the men away in a burst of power; this suggests how the boy destroyed the school in the first place, as he's in the same position he was in at the beginning of the video. The aftermath of the outburst in the end, however, remains unknown.
British pop and soul singer Jahméne Douglas released a cover version of "Titanium" on July 22, 2013 as the lead single from his debut studio album, Love Never Fails (2013). Douglas' version peaked at number 94 on the UK Singles Chart. Talking to Digital Spy, Douglas said: "It's very hard to sing. I was scared to do it because it's a big chart song and I'm quite old school. For me, the song is about strength and the music video is based around domestic violence and how a woman gets out of it. The lyrics are so powerful for that interpretation. Hopefully if someone is in that situation and watches it, they'll think, I can get out." A music video to accompany the release of "Titanium" was first released onto YouTube on June 12, 2013 at a total length of three minutes and fifty-four seconds. The music video shows Douglas next to a piano, while a story of domestic abuse plays out.
^Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort, Nick Van De Wall (Composers and Lyricists) (2011). "It Girl: Jason Derülo Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com(Musicnotes)|format= requires |url= (help). Sony/ATV Music Publishing. MN0097893 (Product Number). Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)