Troye did an interview and photoshoot with Love Magazine. the high quality photos have been added to the gallery. Click “Continue Reading” to read the full interview.
How the Virally-acclaimed Singer Troye Sivan Grew Up in Front of the Eyes of the Internet
“We’re having miso fish with roasted vegetables tonight,” shares TROYE SIVAN. It’s the little things that matter these days. He picks up the Zoom call – what feels like the only mode of parlance between us all these days – from a granny-annexe situation at his brother’s home in Melbourne. “We’re on stage 4 lockdown now, which kind of sucks,” he says somewhat placidly; stage 4 meaning that residents can only leave their house for food, essential items, and work with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am, and in a 5km radius of the home. “It’s an interesting time to be in Melbourne for sure,” jokes the 25-year-old singer-songwriter, glancing out of the window at the early evening sunlight before getting ready for his one walk of the day.
Sivan seems well-rested within himself despite the viral inferno. Covid’s proved to be a period of intense grinding for the Australian star, who made the decision to quarantine back home with his brother in Melbourne, having moved from South Africa as a toddler to an orthodox Jewish family in Perth. His cabin fever is at bay due to the chaos of promoting his fifth EP during a worldwide pandemic, his first solo comeback since the release of his studio album ‘Bloom’ back in 2018. But the world and his understanding of it are two entirely different places two years on. A lot has happened. “It’s been a little bit more volatile and emotional than I’m used to. You see I don’t really care about myself. I’m happy to tell people about my life and what I’m feeling, but when it’s about someone I really care about, it’s uncomfortable. I’ve tried to be really respectful of that.”
‘In a Dream’, Sivan’s latest progeny, charters a more intimate terrain than his prior works, despite intimacy being his hallmark. Launching his career back in 2007, Sivan joined the chorus of YouTube vloggers in the late 2000s, that saw the curation of internet personalities speaking rawly and without reserve to the camera. Broadcasting a profound monologue back in 2010, Sivan, despite being known for his stints on film, from 2018’s Boy Erased starring alongside Nicole Kidman, to his musical success, true fans know Sivan for publicly coming out online. “I’m really proud of it. I’m excited to show my kids one day,” he adds. A decade on from sharing his life to strangers and it feels as though Sivan’s latest work is his most outspoken and intimate to date. “It’s been about these two voices on my shoulders,” he gestures, pointing to the shoulders of an unbuttoned khaki shirt, draped over a black-tshirt and a silver chain, in keeping with his signature polished tailoring. “There’s one voice saying you should share that, and the other one’s like, why would you share that, that’s kinda fucked up?” He counterracts his own internal dispute: “But remember ‘Back to Black’ by Amy Winehouse. It came out and you couldn’t believe the specificity in the music and somehow it being so specific made it connect with you even more.”
Finding a middle ground between his Devil and Angel complex, it’s apparent that there was something purgative in Sivan’s latest six-song offering that couldn’t be rushed. “Thank Goddddd,” he stresses emphatically on the deity. “Thank God, that with time, feelings can dull.” He corrects himself. “I mean, I know they don’t go away, they just don’t sting as much as they did.” His melodic voice switches to a more frank timbre, as he confesses “this EP is a weird, chaotic body of work, a sort of time capsule of those moments. It wasn’t a period of years, or months, it was a period of weeks and days. Some of the songs were written like one day after the next. So to have this very succinct, explicit, direct thing that captured that time just felt right to leave it there. I can close that chapter. That initial rollercoaster is over.” Although he never quite stresses what that particular episode entailed, it’s enough to gauge that Sivan’s been navigating the brutal pangs of some kind of heartache through his latest video ‘Easy’, a three-minute tableau of anguish as he sings: ‘I’m still in love and I say that because / I know how it seems between you and me / It hasn’t been easy darlin.’
His first rodeo at directing – “I was absolutely shitting myself” – the video pans a “surreal versus dream versus nightmare versus reality space. It’s about this beautiful place that you’ve built with someone falling apart and it becoming the place where you slowly turn insane.” Navigating this uncanny space, Sivan manifests his state of despair into a sequence of incongruous objects; from a white rabbit watching him at his feet, “it represents my dog Nash in America who was watching me fall apart all the time,” to a charismatic drag-queen character he finds himself watching on TV. “It was me exploring the disconnect I was feeling in my life at the time.”
Yet the camera is Sivan’s playground, warts and all. Its place is a benevolent one; a space to roam unreservedly, without surveillance, evidenced by a sonorous neck-crack he aptly interrupts a question regarding the boundaries between his public and private life. “Sorry, perhaps I probably should have muted myself,” he laughs, unashamed. “But sharing my life, it’s a very real relationship with my fans. Some of these people have been watching me since 2007, which is well over half of my life at this point, so I don’t feel like there’s much that I can hide.” So at what point does his on-camera ease prevail? “Music’s my safe space. I feel like it’s coded enough where no one will know the real meaning. But when it comes to my family time, my best friends or my relationships, those things I’ve always kept really close.”
And even those that are borne from the internet need a moment for respite. “I put restrictions in for myself, so I’ve currently tapped out of Twitter. But I’m very much on INSTAGRAM finding voices that I feel are educating me and stretching my mind where I feel like I’m learning. I want to find a happy medium, you know, like where you’re not going fucking insane?” And perhaps that’s why, despite being a product of social media, Sivan refuses to be swayed by its ruling. He makes managing an online celebrity presence of 11.2 million followers look menial. How? By not giving a fuck. “I think I realised when I was young that fitting in for me wasn’t an option. I could try, but I wasn’t going to be very successful at it because I knew I was gay. I knew I was bad at sport and I had no interest in getting any better. When all of the kids were swimming, or competing, I sang the national anthem and then went home. I’m so thankful my parents didn’t ever push me in a certain direction,” he talks proudly of his Jewish heritage.
Despite only meeting his first non-Jewish friend at 17, raised in an immediately Jewish community, Sivan was able to steer his faith in his own direction. “I’ve never really believed in God, and I’m fine with that. But culturally, if anyone asked me if I’m Jewish, I’d say very. There was a tiny hiccup in the road where I didn’t really want to go to the synagogue because I didn’t feel super comfortable there knowing that I was a gay man. But my Judaism is cool with me being gay, so I don’t care what anyone else says about it.” It’s his authentic mark, this bridge between ancestral and unprecedented, a refreshing novel stance, embracing the orthodox structures of his heritage – “Friday night is always a Shabbat dinner” – matched with his candid Queerness online that have garnered Sivan a vast following.
So what’s the magentism behind the man breaking #TeamTroye hearts? He’s an endearing amalgamation of paradoxes that society suggests shouldn’t fit, but do. A modern traditionalist, humbly taking the spotlight of social media in his stride, all the while punctuating his day with the most pedestrian of acts, from painting his nails to perfecting a salmon dish that he’s been meaning to get down for a while. His coming-of-age tale has been a book on the shelf, open to all, and longing to be read, underscored by a ‘what’s mine is yours’ fever. And somehow, having the avid eyes of all 11 million followers hasn’t conjured an ego, but kept him on his toes. “I don’t know what comes next, and that’s fucking awesome. Maybe one day I’ll quit music professionally and start making candles,” he offers. But no legacy is so rich as honesty, so candlemaker or singer, Troye Sivan is one for the history books.
In a Dream, the six-song concept EP is now available to stream online.