Troye Sivan is having a pretty great time RN. The initially-YouTube-famous-now-actually-huge music star is in the middle of his Blue Neighbourhood tour, which has already taken on the US and UK, with Europe, New Zealand and his adopted homeland Australia still to go (Troye was born in South Africa, but has lived in Australia since he was two). Earlier this month he picked up a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist, almost three years after he publicly came out in a YouTube video, cementing his status as an LGBT activist and icon. And all this at just 20 years old. Squeezing in a quick visit to ASOS HQ the day after his second London show, we caught up with Troye to talk dream collabs, internet memes and advice for his diehard fanbase.
You’re in the middle of an absolutely massive tour right now, how has it all been going?
It’s been so, so, so, so good. We toured the US for about six weeks, which was 23 shows or something like that, and it was the best time. I was really nervous before the tour though, just because I hadn’t really been on a tour before and the shows were so much bigger than anything I had done, so I was worried about staying healthy. I got really comfortable and used to it, so now Europe feels like we’re right where we left off, with no stress. It’s good.
Do you find it strange coming from Australia, over to Europe, and having all these fans who are obsessed with you?
It’s pretty insane. I think it hits me most when I go to places where English isn’t necessarily the first language of the audience, because you hear your song being sung back to you in like, a German accent, and it’s super humbling.
The current tour is for the Blue Neighbourhood album, which you worked with Jack Antonoff and Grimes on; what was that like?
Funny story – those two were on the same song [Heaven], but I was just with Jack. We were working on the track and he played me a vocal sample, which I loved, but he had pitched it and messed with it so I didn’t know who it was. Jack told me it was actually Grimes, from a song they had done together, and it went in there. She’s a writer on the track, but I’ve never met her. I’m so obsessed with Jack though, because he’s so creative and cool. There was a little box of change sitting in the studio and he used it as an instrument, he really spends a lot of time on his sounds and I appreciate that so much.
Who are you dying to work with next?
I’d love to work with Dev Hynes and I would love to get in with Max Martin, though I’m sure everyone would. I feel like he’s obviously a commercial pop machine, but every time he works with someone, it still sounds like the artists. It’s just the most pop version of the artist, which I think is an amazing thing.
You’ve just confirmed Talk Me Down as your new single, but what is the story behind the song?
I was writing with my friends Brett and Allie. I showed up and I had brought nothing to the studio, as far as ideas go, and I was really stressed and anxious. Brett got on the piano and played the melody and sung, ‘I wanna sit next to you, but that’s all I wanna do right now’. I heard that lyric and within 15 minutes the song was written. It was exactly what I needed that day.
What do you love most about the vlogs and videos you do on YouTube?
I love the control. I upload what I want, when I want, I make it myself, and I’m the only boss of my channel. That’s really nice and liberating as a creative person.
You won a GLAAD Award recently, how important is it to you to be someone your LGBT fans can look up to? My activism work is the most important thing that I get to do. I say this very carefully, with a lot of weight, and I would die to make music, but it feels like the reason why I’ve been given the music opportunity is to provide a platform for the LGBT work that I’m trying to do. To be acknowledged for that was amazing.
We asked your fans to submit their questions, so Amber would like to know what your favourite meme is? I’ve got a folder of GIFs or whatever that I love to send to people.
From Sarah: what’s your favourite sandwich?
I like egg mayo or maybe chicken with some sort of perinaise.
strong>Kiana would like to know what is the last dream you remember having?
I had a dream that I was talking to someone about a guy that I know, and the person said, ‘Ah, him, did you know he used to be homeless?’ I was like, ‘No, I didn’t know that about him,’ so then I confronted him about it and he said he used to be homeless. That was the dream.
An anonymous fan has asked if you have any advice for young people dealing with mental illnesses, feeling lost or trying to find who they are? They’d also like you to know they love you.
Aww, well I love her or him too. I’ve been lucky enough that I personally haven’t struggled with mental illness. I’ve been anxious at times, but I’ve never suffered with a chronic mental illness, though I know a lot of people who have and it’s something we’ve dealt with in my family quite a bit. I think it’s dealt with best when it’s spoken about, in the open, as no good comes from dealing with something like that on your own. I really enjoy therapy, so I would recommend going to see someone, and just talking about it.
Fira has asked what the secret is to long lasting friendship?
I’ve been friends with my two best friends since I was two and we talk about it all the time. It’s pretty crazy that I’m only 20 and I’ve been friends with these people for 18 years. Now it takes a bit more work to keep up the contact, but at the same time I feel so lucky that if anything is ever happening in my life where I need to talk to someone, they’re always there. You need to keep that effort up, especially if you’re working and travelling, or whatever it is.
And finally, Brittany would like you to rate her cat.
His name is Cubby? Good name. He’s got a cute spot on his nose. I’d give him a solid nine out of 10. I’m not a cat person, so if it was a dog I would have said 10, but Cubby’s a cute cat.
Troye’s debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, is out now.