By Lauren Lopez
Troye Sivan, a homeschooled boy from Perth, Australia, started a YouTube channel by the name of troyesivan18 in 2007 when he was only thirteen years old. The first video he recorded was a cover of Declan Gabraith’s “Tell Me Why.” His debut EP, Dare to Dream, was released in February 2008, and consisted of five cover songs.
As his covers became more popular, Sivan started doing live performances. He sang at the Channel Seven Perth Telethon for three consecutive years—2006 to 2008. This event, as described by their website, is “a West Australian-based charity that financially supports the medical and social welfare of children and young people, and funds research into children’s diseases.” Sivan’s 2006 performance was a duet of “Angels Brought Me Here” with Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.
While he continued to gain more exposure, Sivan took part in a number of charitable events. On September 20, 2008, he sang in the opening of “Storm the Stage” at the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Australia. Storm the Stage gives young performers the opportunity to showcase their talents in a professional environment. Though Sivan didn’t release original music until much later, it was clear through his performances that he had talent and dedication when it came to the music industry.
In 2012, Sivan began posting original songs and music videos. He wrote all his own lyrics, and while they weren’t intended to be taken very seriously, they still amassed millions of views per video and showed that he had real musical talent. The first three music videos posted on his channel were also very well received. In December 2012, Sivan produced his own music video through YouTube called “The 2012 Song” telling the story of the year from his perspective. Sivan has since posted other songs on his channel similar to this one, such as “The 2013 Song” and “We’re My OTP.” His “OTP” song gained the most views, with over three million to date.
Even with a larger fanbase and his own music, Sivan was still very involved with charity work. In February 2010, Sivan opened the “We Are the World 25 for Haiti,” the collaborative charity music video produced by Lisa Lavie to raise money for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
On May 5, 2013, Sivan made a song called “The Fault in Our Stars,” inspired by the book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Before posting the official music video on YouTube, he posted the song to Tumblr. Overnight, the post gained more than a hundred thousand notes—many comments expressed the desire for a music video—so Sivan decided he would make one. He filmed the official music video at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Western Australia. All money made from purchases of the song went to the hospital’s foundation.
In the middle of 2013, EMI Australia signed Sivan to their label. In August 2014, he released his second EP, TRXYE, which featured the single “Happy Little Pill” and “The Fault In Our Stars.” The EP made it to number one on the iTunes Charts in several countries on its first day of release. TRXYE features six songs, all of which are based on Sivan’s personal experiences, such as romance, heartbreak, family, and more. Upon releasing this original material, Sivan started to establish a name for himself in mainstream music, as well as establishing his genre of electronic dance-pop.
Sivan announced his next EP, WILD, on July 25 at VidCon, which is an annual convention where YouTube content creators meet with fans and hold panels. After his announcement, he teased his followers on social media. Whenever anyone asked about a release date for the album, he simply responded “soon.” The fans often joked that the EP was never actually going to be released. Finally, a release date was set for September 4. Sivan rallied fans’ excitement by posting pictures and snippets of songs until this date.
The EP has six songs, two of which are collaborations. “EASE” features a collaboration with Broods, an indie pop music duo from New Zealand. “DKLA” features Tkay Maidza, a female Australian hip hop artist. The EP continues the themes brought about in TRXYE as Sivan sings about real life experiences. He elaborated on some of his experiences in interviews; for example, “BITE” was about his first time in a gay club. “FOOLS” features audio from VidCon in which he asked the crowd to shout out the lyrics “only fools” for the chorus.
On September 25, he announced his first tour in which he would be playing in venues in the U.S., Australia, and Europe. All of his U.S. dates sold out within minutes, but Sivan has shown his appreciation for his fans by hiding two tickets in each city for fans to try and find. He posts videos on his social media to give hints as to where the tickets are, and then waits for the lucky ones to find him.
On October 12, Sivan announced his first full-length album, Blue Neighbourhood. Sivan teased the fans in his usual creative fashion by assigning friends, family, and other artists squares of what would become the album artwork. Throughout the day, these people tweeted with the hashtag #BlueNeighbourhood while including their own personal messages. As the album art was revealed, the picture on his website filled up to reveal that the album would be released for pre-order on October 15 and for purchase on December 4. The album comes in a standard and deluxe edition, which includes ten new songs, and all of WILD.
In the midst of preparing for Blue Neighbourhood, Sivan released three music videos as part of his Blue Neighbourhood trilogy. The videos told the story of Sivan and a young boy named Matthew who developed feelings for each other as they grew older. These feelings were frowned upon by Matthew’s father, and the trilogy tells the story of how the two dealt with this inner struggle through “WILD” and “FOOLS,” two songs off of WILD, and “TALK ME DOWN,” the first song released from Blue Neighbourhood. The trilogy dealt with mental health, sexuality, and grief, so after the release of the third installment on October 20, Sivan tweeted a link to multiple services that people can reach if they need help.
Sivan has come a long way since his YouTube channel in 2007, gaining international fame and selling out venues. He’s matured and improved over the years in his music and personal life, but he is still true to his fans and himself. If he keeps going the way he has been, in a few years, it wouldn’t be surprising if many more people knew the name, Troye Sivan.