By Manta Klangboonkrong
The name Troye Sivan might not seem familiar, but his single “Happy Little Pill” has been buzzing in millions of people’s ears since August. It topped the iTunes chart in 55 countries and was heard a million times via SoundCloud streams within 24 hours of release.
Now, who’s this kid again?
Troye Sivan is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Perth, Australia, who released two Eps before Universal Music Australia grabbed him.
His big break was “The Fault in Our Stars”, named for the novel that inspired it. It was soon followed by the critically and commercially successful EP “TRXYE” – five tracks of rich, atmospheric pop mashed in with beats, ballads and strains of influences from Lana Del Rey to Frank Ocean to Grimes.
We got Sivan on the phone earlier this month.
“Happy Little Pill” was a huge hit when it came out. How did that feel?
It’s so amazing and I’m so excited. I’m very happy about the response. It’s really unexpected.
What exactly is the “pill”?
There are a lot of different meanings, and the best thing is when people interpret it themselves. When I wrote it, it was about someone really close to me who was on anti-depressants, but it kind of changed as I wrote it because I was writing in LA and I was very, very lonely. Basically it’s a song about the loneliness that I see around me all the time.
The music video featured a stunning white owl. What was it like working with the big bird?
It was crazy. I was very, very scared of it at first and I finally managed to overcome my fear and started to hold it. And only after I held it did the caretaker tell me that owls are super-dangerous animals and they can rip people’s faces off and do that all the time!
But it was a really cool experience. The director and I collaborated in deciding what animal to use, and we picked an owl because it’s very beautiful – the white owl against the white background. There’s much larger meaning behind it.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is also a big hit. Are you disappointed that it wasn’t included in the soundtrack of the movie made from the book?
No – I wrote the song before the movie was being made. We tried, actually, to get it in the movie, but I guess the timing wasn’t right. Anyway I’m a big fan of the movie and the book, and I’m very thankful that people are connecting to the song. Also, ultimately it was that song that got me signed, so, regardless of whether it made it into the film or not, I’m happy about how things went.
But your fans were upset about it being left out. You must be very close to them.
I’m very close to them and they’re very important to me. We talk about important and not-so-important things, and it’s a relationship I treasure. Hit me up on the social media and we’ll talk!
You did a “coming out” video on your YouTube blog to let your fans know you’re gay. Why did you decide to do that?
I just think it was really important for me to do it. I did the video after I told my parents, actually. When I was still in the closet I used to watch coming-out videos on YouTube all the time, and they were the only thing that gave me strength. I was the only one in the world who knew this secret and it gave me such comfort to know that a lot of other people had been through this exact same thing.
It just felt like my responsibility and something I really wanted to do, to carry on and be there for other 14-year-old Troyes out there. I want to be the voice that says, “Everything’s gonna be okay” to these people. That’s the most important video I’ve ever made and probably the most important thing I’ve ever done.
What was the reaction?
I put my email address in the video to reach out, in case anyone had questions or wanted advice, and I got thousands of emails that night. It’s amazing that I didn’t see a single negative comment for a very long time. It’s so tiny – the number of people who took negative approach to the video – while the positive, the love and support was overwhelming. It changed my life in a big, big way.
We’ve had three EPs from you so far. Will we be hearing a full album soon?
Two of the EPs were released independently before I was signed, and one of those came out when I was nine or something.
They’re the best representation of where my music is going, for sure. I pull inspiration from things that I’ve gone through in life. I’ve dealt with different things every month, so those are going to be in the new songs. We can expect an album next year for sure. I’m just not sure when.