Troye Sivan is a name the world is gradually getting more familiar with and after completing two sold-out London shows, with fans queuing from 6am, you can see why. Before heading back to the other side of the world for his Australia and New Zealand leg of the tour we were lucky enough to catch up with Troye to chat about everything from musical inspiration to his ‘extremely personal’ debut album, and also how his amazing fans make everything worthwhile.
At his London show last week (Tuesday 19th April) Troye performed a spine-tingling rendition of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Love Is A Losing Game’, very fitting with the venue being in her old stomping ground. When asked about how the late star influenced him, he revealed that she was the reason he started writing music, saying: “I’d say she’s probably the single most influential artist on me. I heard her music and thought that this wasn’t someone who was writing music to be an artist, or to be famous, or to try and write a radio hit, she was writing because she absolutely had to write.”
He continued: “Her music was so literal and raw, and snarky and hilarious, and I was just so incredibly inspired by her as a writer. She’s probably the person that made me want to start writing music.”
The 20-year-old’s debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, was released in December last year and was very well received by fans and critics alike, something many songwriters who started out on YouTube struggle to achieve. Troye has successfully broken the cutesy early-Justin-Bieber-esque mould and has an incredibly powerful debut record to prove it.
Speaking about the writing and recording process, that lasted around a year and a half, Troye revealed he wasn’t rushed by a timeline, saying: “I wrote it fairly casually in that I didn’t put a sixth month timeline on myself where I was going in every day trying to write this album. There would be two weeks at a time where I wouldn’t write at all and then I’d go and do a session every day for a little while. I would just write when anything significant would happen in my life.”
The album’s themes are personal and with this Troye confirmed to us that it is all about his life and his experiences, saying: “Yeah, the album is all autobiographical and extremely personal.”
Choosing a favourite track on any record is hard enough, but for Troye, his favourite has changed since seeing the reaction at live shows, he said: “It’s weird because when I first put out the album I liked this song, and it was obviously very personal to me, but it wasn’t necessarily my favourite on the album by any means. But now, having played it live, my song ‘HEAVEN’, that I wrote about my coming out experience, has started to mean so much more than just me. Getting to see the crowd embracing that song and embracing themselves to that song is really, really amazing for me.”
Troye Sivan fans are pretty intense. They’re very dedicated, and for some his music means so much more. When asked whether he feels any pressure to be a good role model, the ‘YOUTH’ hit maker didn’t seem too phased, he said: “Not really. I feel the pressure to just be human and be myself, and I think a lot of who I am, and where I am, has been because I’ve been super honest and open about everything so far.”
He added: “I think everyone’s kind of expecting me to make mistakes which is a good thing. I think the most powerful thing you can do is just try your very best to be a good person – to use your voice and privilege to empower others who don’t have that.”
For some fans, Troye’s music has helped them come to terms with their own sexuality, an element he reckons is one of the best parts about being in the spotlight. He told us this: “I’d say it’s the coolest part of everything that I get to do, I get to hear stories like that on a daily basis. I’ve had some really amazing moments at my shows as well – one girl in the front row opened up this poster and it said: ‘I’m a lesbian and you’re the first person in the world to know’ and then started crying her eyes out. I was like, I’m singing in front of all these people, why are you trying to make me cry right now! Having moments like that makes everything worth it.”
With these heartwarmingly awesome moments come some slightly weirder and actually much scarier ones. Experiences with fans change the more famous you get, but for Troye, he’s already had his fair share, one of which he told us about in detail. He began: “One time there was some kids waiting outside my house in Perth. They had seen me as I drove in so they knew I was in the house, and they started knocking on the door. For me, my house in Perth is where I draw the line. I just sat inside my house super quietly listening to them knock, and then I go up and listen at the door, the one girl’s on the phone to her mum, and she’s like ‘no mum, I’m at the shops!’ and I was like, okay, so she’s lying to her mum, whatever.”
He continued: “I now need to go to the studio and it’s been like two hours of them knocking and me not doing anything. I get into my mum’s car with the garage closed, and I know that as I open the garage they’re going to see me so I’m getting all anxious. I open the garage, turn on the car and I was so stressed that I reversed my mum’s car into the garage. Then they chased me for like 15 minutes. It was just a very overwhelming experience for me, it was pretty scary, plus my mum wasn’t happy about her car.”
When asked about his musical inspirations, Troye admitted that so many people inspire him, citing Kanye, Frank Ocean and Lorde, as well as Swedish pop musicians such as Nicki and the Dove. Taylor Swift also came up as one of his biggest song-writing influences, he even said he wants to “get in and write with Taylor Swift, for Taylor Swift,” and THAT we would like to see, come on Tay Tay, make it happen. As well as this he admitted that doing a duet with New Zealand songstress Lorde would be “really, really cool.”
Dedicated fans out there are going to want to know when the world can expect new music, so we asked, and we’re sorry to say, it’s not that clear at the moment. “I don’t really know yet. I don’t want my next, whatever, whether it’s an EP or an album, to be about touring,” he said, “I don’t think that’s really relatable. I’ll obviously write whatever I feel like I need to write at the time, but I want to take some time to go out and live a little bit and come back with something to write about.” To be honest, we think that’s fair enough, and we’ll be waiting here patiently.