Kenzie Ziegler speaks exclusively to PEOPLE about her collaboration with the Grammy-nominated artist and the TikTok-ready video she created with older sister Maddie

By Topher Gauk-Roger
June 24, 2020 12:00 PM
Advertisement

Kenzie Ziegler is ready to get people dancing again — with a little help from her friend Sia.

The singers teamed up for Kenzie's latest single, "Exhale," an upbeat track that sees the pair trading lines about letting go and having a good time.

"I wanted to make a song that everyone can just have fun to," Ziegler, 16, tells PEOPLE exclusively about her new song. "It's about needing to just breathe and have a party. It's something everyone can get up and dance to, which is what I really love about it. Obviously the world's a little crazy right now, so I feel like this song can definitely make you let everything go and just dance in your room and have fun."

Ziegler's 2018 single "Wonderful" was written by Sia, but she admits she was still nervous the Grammy-nominated singer wouldn't be interested in performing a duet.

"I sent her the demo and she was like, 'Oh my gosh, I love this song so much,'" she explains. "I wrote the song, but I wasn't sure if I was going to release it, and she was like, 'Oh my gosh, if you don't release it by yourself, I'll take it from you or I'll just be on it with you.'"

"I was like, 'Wow, that sounds perfect,'" Ziegler says. "She's always so supportive, but I never thought that she would do a song with me. I'm just so grateful for that because I look up to her so much as a role model and she's my inspiration in music."

Kenzie Ziegler and Sia
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Kenzie and older sister Maddie Ziegler have both worked with Sia for years since Maddie's breakthrough performance in the "Chandelier" music video in 2014. Kenzie says the singer-songwriter couldn't be sweeter.

"She is so encouraging and so humble, and if I am stressing out about something, she's just like, 'Don't stress, just have fun,'" says Ziegler. "Honestly, she's such a great person and I wish everyone knew her. It's amazing to work with her because she's like family."

Sia, 44, has had a busy year of her own. The notoriously private musician confirmed that she welcomed two sons into her family last year during an interview with SiriusXM's The Morning Mash Up in May, sharing that she adopted the teenage boys when they were leaving foster care due to their age.

Ziegler reveals she's met one of Sia's sons, and adds that they couldn't be nicer. "She's a great mom. I mean, she acts like a mom to my sister and I, so I've always thought that about her," Ziegler says. "It's really awesome. She's the sweetest person and she does anything for everyone."

Ziegler also debuted a music video for the track, filmed in quarantine with the help of her sister Maddie and Lauren Einbinder. The clip features home-shot content from Kenzie's friends like Johnny Orlando, Dove Cameron, Dylan Conrique, Abbi Dicenso, Cameron Field, Charlize Glass, Tati McQuay, Gio Pilla, Sage Rosen, Emily Skinner, Lucas Stadvac and Hayden Summerall.

"My sister filmed the whole thing on an iPhone for me and we made up a dance to the song, so I just asked all of my friends to dance to the song and send me videos," says Ziegler. "They all wanted to do it, and it just means the world because I have such great friends and family that always stand by me and are so supportive.

"I was a little nervous about it because obviously I wouldn't expect a video filmed in quarantine to turn out good just because it was filmed by my family," she adds. "But I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. It's such a fun video and I'm so glad that everyone's a part of it."

Kenzie reveals she and her sister created the choreography with TikTok in mind and hopes to see everyone doing it on the social networking app where she currently has 17.9 million followers.

Ziegler has spent the last few months social distancing at home with her family and has enjoyed the abundance of quality time they've received amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am always working, so it's really good that I get to spend time with my family, especially for my birthday," she says. "I have been learning to play piano, I've been bingeing a lot of shows, I've been working out a lot, and I've been FaceTiming my friends because I miss them so much, so we've been keeping ourselves busy."

Ziegler has also been using this time to write new music and is hoping to put out an EP when things get back to normal.

"I have lots of songs that I've done, but I'm still trying to figure out which ones are my favorite," she admits. "So after quarantine is over, I'm definitely going to be back in the studio."