Troye Sivan on his Musical Breakthrough

 Troye Sivan’s music deserves to be taken seriously. With his second EP out and debut album “Blue Neighborhood” on the horizon, the teen Youtube sensation is rapidly maturing both in lyrical content and in sound. After his sold-out show at The Sinclair, in which many avid fans were seen shedding tears over the artist, we spoke on the phone with Troye to discuss his inspirations, fans, and the skepticism surrounding his transition from Youtube fame to musical fame.
We saw you at your show in Boston, and you had the chance to perform a couple of unreleased tracks off your album “Blue Neighborhood” to fans who had never heard them before. After getting the chance to perform them, which are you most excited for the general public to hear now?
I started playing this one song called “Youth,” and it’s now the last song in the set, because everyone really really likes it a lot, well at least from the live version they do. I’m really excited now to release the studio version to the public.
From social media and on your tour, you get a tremendous amount of interaction with your fans. Have any interactions really stuck with you?
I think, for example, in L.A. I did three things. I had a screening of the “Blue Neighborhood” trilogy, and then I played  The Roxy, and then I played the lyrics videos the next night, and to be able to see familiar faces at all three – I saw some people all three nights in a row – and so by then it was literally just like seeing friends. I dunno, it felt like we were just hanging out. It was really nice to finally be feeling this connection in person rather than just online.
That’s awesome. Are you ever afraid to open up to your fans on stage when you sing songs that have personal relevance to you?
I think so, yes. Sometimes, I’m just nervous – my number one nerve thing is that I’m gonna think about what I’m singing about too much and just get emotional on stage. So yes, that’s my only worry while I’m up there. Other than that, no not really. It feels a little bit therapeutic to be sharing these moments with everyone and I’m just really hoping that everyone in the audience feels it – like feels their own moment to that song.

Photo by Wesley Stiles.

Photo by Wesley Stiles

As your lyrical content delves deeper into adult matter, on “Bite” for example, do you feel as though you’re alienating your younger fans?
Maybe it is becoming a little mature. In a little bit of a selfish way, I make all of my music for myself, completely and honestly, without holding back. I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to myself and to the people who are listening to my music if it wasn’t 100% truthful and open, and so I write for those reasons, and don’t really think about it too much while writing. Hopefully, the music will find its audience that it resonates with and people will connect with the music whether what they understand what I’m singing about or not. So I don’t know maybe the younger fans will find something in it, maybe the older fans will completely understand I’m singing about and be like “yup, that’s exactly what I’ve been through, too” and connecting with it on that level. I don’t really mind, as long as people are listening to the music and enjoying it for whatever it is they’re enjoying it for, I’m happy.
And speaking of your audience, since you’ve primarily derived your fame from your YouTube videos have you faced a lot of skepticism as you delve further into your musical career? How do you confront that?
Definitely, yeah. I think that theyre’s a lot of doubt surrounding the way that I’ve come up, and the way that other people like me are coming up right now. I get it, it’s just because it’s really new, and I think people don’t necessarily fully understand it yet. At the same time, it’s not as much self-doubt as it is doubt from other people just because I know that I feel this music in every single part of my body, and I know that I have always loved music, and I know that I have been singing since I was four. My first YouTube video, even, was me singing when I was twelve. I don’t know, this has always been it for me. Sure, I made a lot of YouTube videos, and I make a lot of YouTube videos, and I understand again that because that is such a new phenomenon maybe people get a little nervous about it. At the same time, I make music because I have to, personally. It’s what I need to do. I’m not gonna let anything like that slow me down or stop me.
Yeah, and a lot of people don’t in fact know that you were singing before your YouTube videos, starting when you were four, and becoming something of a child star in your town. Have you always known that this was going to turn into a career for you, and that you had to do this, or was there some sort of moment of epiphany where you realized that this was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
I’ve always been a little bit silly when it comes to how ambitious I am. I’m 100% one of those people who has always wanted to do exactly what I’m doing right now. I’m so thankful that it’s actually working out so far. It’s the perfect combination of right place, right time, and right people and hopefully a certain amount of talent, and all of that stuff working for me. But as far as me actually wanting this, yeah 100% for as long as I can remember.
Photo by Wesley Stiles.
Photo by Wesley Stiles
That’s awesome that it’s working out! The production on a lot of your tracks has a very forward-thinking electronic sound, partially due to the fact that you kept the same production team from your first EP together for the Wild EP and album. Did you originally envision the tracks to have synth accompaniment? How did you originally decide that you wanted to pursue that futuristic R&B sound in your music? 
I think that a lot of it is reflective of what I have been listening to in the last couple of years, and what I’ve been enjoying – everything from “Channel Orange” by Frank Ocean to “Pure Heroine” by Lorde, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye, Flume, Hermitude, or whatever. I think that there’s a lot of interesting production sounds out there that have been out there for a couple of years and that’s what I’ve been listening to. I knew that I wanted to reflect that in my sound, so it was just about finding people who I felt understood it and were also interested in the same thing. Like you said, I’ve been working with a lot of them from the beginning, and I have full faith and trust in them. I’m thankful that they’ve helped me craft the sound in the way that they have.
Also owing to the nature of how you became famous, you attract a very millennial, phone-happy crowd. How do you feel about people glued to their phones for the entire concert? Does it bother you that people are increasingly on their phones during concerts?
I mean it’s interesting, I haven’t really formed an opinion on it yet. Sometimes I see people just on their phones filming it and I’m like, “Okay, cool I guess you can rewatch it later?” It’s probably better to be just watching it with your eyeballs, you know? And then sometimes I’ll look up and I’ll see someone who is on FaceTime with a friend who’s wearing headphones and acting as if they’re in the crowd – like their hands are in the air and stuff like that that. That’s actually really cute, it’s adorable – every now and then I’ll look up and see someone like that. I guess it’s up to each individual person. When I’m at a show, I try to stay as focused on the actual show as I can and maybe I’ll do a little clip at the end for my Snapchat, but most of the time I just watch it myself. As long as you’re not texting, or on Twitter or something like that – as long as you’re not that bored, then I’m okay with it.
Last question. How do you feel about being described as an LGBT artist?
To be honest, it doesn’t make me feel much except pride. I think that for the longest time that was a fear for me, when I was growing up and I think for a lot of LGBT artists before this time that has always been a real fear – that was like a death sentence – whereas, now I don’t feel like it is that anymore and I don’t feel like it should be that. To me, it’s the same as being categorized as a blue-eyed artist, or something like that. It doesn’t make me feel much at all, it’s just the truth.

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