We Ship worldwide using trusted couriers with next day delivery options available


Your Cart is Empty

July 14, 2023 14 min read

“I really just wanted to step my pussy up as far as the pop game goes [with this album]”: Troye Sivan talks upcoming third LP, Something To Give Each Other.


The star’s upcoming record comes five years after sophomore album Bloom solidified his place as one of the definitive queer voices of his generation. Now readying himself for a return to pop’s epicentre, the 28-year-old’s also just entered its fictional counterpart in Sam Levinson and The Weeknd’s internet-transfixing HBO music industry drama, The Idol. As he surpasses a decade at the forefront of youth culture, the summer of Troye Sivan’s career is well and truly underway.


Full look VERSACE


“I’m on absolute struggle street,” Troye Sivan confesses. The week before we chat, the 27-year-old purchased yarn and a crochet needle from an arts and crafts store. “I kind of want an analogue habit that I can pick up so I'm not just defaulting to watching Love Is Blind on Netflix,” he explains. For the reality TV aficionado, the end goal is to be able to do both activities simultaneously. “But I’m getting to this one spot in the crocheting tutorial on YouTube that I'm watching that I cannot get past. I don't understand what [the demonstrator] is doing, her fingers are in the way. I’m trying my absolute fucking hardest and it's so hard.” 

Thankfully, a wide-screen framing of Sivan’s current reality reveals a man in much less of a predicament. “You’re actually finding me in a really good place,” he tells me. It’s five years since the singer, songwriter, actor and 2010s YouTube phenomenon shared his last album Bloom a tour-de-force narrating coming-of-age as a gay man, from bottoming, underage forays onto Grindr and dextrously-unpacked accounts of romance and its rollercoasters. The project, which also featured a collaboration with Sivan’s friend and ardent fan Ariana Grande on single “Dance To This”, bagged commercial, critical and awards success for the then-22-year-old.

However, notwithstanding intervening collaborations with the likes of Charli XCX, Mark Ronson and PNAU, as well as 2020 EP “In A Dream”, Sivan’s upcoming album Something To Give Each Other promises the most significant musical encounter the world has had with the star in half a decade. “[My last album’s release] in 2018 doesn’t sound like that long ago but then I remember that it’s 2023,” he smiles. “I’m like, ‘Who the hell do I think I am?”

At the outset of his new record’s creation, he recalls outlining to best friend and collaborator Leland: “‘The biggest rule of this whole thing is that the process just has to be the most fun.’” Sivan describes previously feeling, when he first started out in music, like, “‘I have no idea what I'm doing, whatsoever.’" Incidentally, “I still don't know what I'm doing,” he says, “but I'm much more comfortable with the idea of not knowing what I'm doing [now].” 

Full look CELINE

When he made Bloom, Sivan was in a long-term, high-profile relationship, and his music’s never been coy in its portrayal of love, its ecstasy and accompanying stumbling blocks. “I’ve always said that honesty is the number one most important thing with my writing,” he says. “My approach has always been, 'Hold nothing back and deal with the ramifications of that afterwards.'” However, the Troye Sivan of recent times is untied, jubilant and carefree. “I love partying. I love going out and I love my friends. I’m writing songs about strangers that I meet and spend one night with, so that feels pretty chill to talk about.” 

“This album is all about very real human experiences, ones that I had a hard time having when I was working 24/7.” He wanted events and his documentation of them to unravel more or less concurrently. “Part of the approach was like, ‘Okay, well I'm going to be in the studio every day but let me go and do that somewhere that I can also go out at night and meet a million new people.’” Cross-continental hops between his native Australia, LA, as well as to London and Stockholm, saw such zest lived out and written down in real-time. 

“I feel like we're going to listen back on this album, myself and the people that I was lucky enough to make it with, and it will be like a diary or a photo album,” he says. Such vignettes were themselves soundtracked by a set of listening habits that hint at the sonic picture fans can expect from the release, from the luminous, kinetic pop of Janet Jackson and fellow Australian Kylie Minogue, to trailblazing French house duo Daft Punk, and in quieter moments, the ambling indie-folk of Sufjan Stevens. “I really just wanted to step my pussy up as far as the pop game goes [with this album]” he says. “Sometimes there would be a little melody or something and I’d be like, ‘Oh, my God, I can't sing that.’ It would just feel like a pop thing, and now listening back, it makes me really excited. And then there are also moments of true vulnerability. Those ones are often kind of surprising because you just never know if you’re really going to be able to break down your boundaries.”

In the event emotional limits are confounded, the challenge is then to convey such intensity via the pen. “Holistically, you're trying to communicate a feeling and I think that's a combination of everything. It's like, ‘The lyric – is that right? The melody – is that right? The production – is that right? The context of it within the album – is that right?’ And when you do get all of those things and you feel like, ‘Okay, this song actually makes me feel the way that the situation felt,’ that's a really, really satisfying feeling. I think that's only happened to me a few times in my life and it happened quite a bit on this album.” 


A collaboration with New Zealand duo Broods, “Ease”, from Sivan’s 2015 debut LP Blue Neighbourhood is an example, he says, of those elements coalescing. And on “My, My, My”, a dizzying exclaim of infatuation and the lead single from Bloom,“I think it happened too. Just the lyric matching up with this really electric release and how queer it felt. It was the same thing with “The Good Side” on that album. It tells this whole narrative story but it just feels the way that I felt, sonically.” 

Assessment of whether such sweet spots have been hit on this record can be imparted with authority by Sivan who, due to the protracted nature of its creation, has been able to orbit the tracks in his daily life. “The ones that I forgot about and never pulled up on my phone, I'm like, ‘Alright, they should probably just chill on my laptop,’” he says. “Whereas the ones that are making it are those songs that when I get in the car and it’s rainy, foggy and cold and I’m kind of sad, they scratch that itch. And then there are songs that I've found myself putting on when I'm getting ready to go out that my friends really love. I’m almost at the point now where I’m hearing them as a listener.” 

One of the perils of sitting on material for so long, however, is the temptation to leak it to fans on a whim. In 2020, from pandemic-induced self-isolation, Sivan did just that on Instagram Live. “Were fucking doing this, are we?” he said before sharing then-unreleased tracks from EP “In A Dream” with his followers. “I’m always tempted to [leak songs]. Always,” he tells me. Would he again? “Maybe I will.” However, in actual fact, the wait for this album campaign to get underway has made him less inclined to repeat his 2020 ways before it finally begins. “At this point, I feel like I've been working on the release for so long that we may as well do it properly.” 

Whilst impromptu track releases might have vexed some at his record label, the move was an emblem of the connectivity with his supporters that’s always proved the alpha and omega of Sivan’s success. Not unlike several of his pop peers, aside from a piecemeal run of musical TV appearances that gained him initial childhood exposure, a young Sivan capitalised on the opportunity the noughties first presented to cultivate an audience within the walls of a humble MySpace or YouTube channel. The latter platform would become his domain and after first posting song covers from his bedroom in 2007, by 2012 a 17-year-old Sivan had accumulated over 25,000 subscribers. From there, in a left turn from the de rigueur path that by then saw internet stardom regularly parlayed into pop success, he pivoted to vlogging, sharing not just his talent with viewers but his life as well. Alongside the likes of fellow creators Caspar Lee, Zoe “Zoella” Sugg and notable collaborator Tyler Oakley, Sivan became a linchpin of the first generation of online stars to gain international youth culture ubiquity almost exclusively from the confines of the internet. 



The unassuming Sivan, brimming with benevolence and boasting boyband-worthy bone structure soon had millions of young fans febrile at his every move. Frivolous larks with his online contemporaries would often typify his output. A 2013 video saw him and Zoella spoon cotton wool balls into a bowl balanced atop their heads while blindfolded, for example. However, sometimes all it took was a sit-down chat, straight down the camera lens, not least in his “Coming Out” video, released in the same year, in which Sivan disclosed to the world that he was gay. Immortalised not only in internet folklore and his own coming of age, but that of LGBTQIA+ viewers the world over, the video accumulated 800k views in just one week and, at the time of writing, sits just shy of nine million hits. The following year, Sivan was named by Time as one of The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014, placing him in the company of youth activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai. 

What the “Coming Out” video omitted was that, at the time, Sivan was firming up a deal with record label EMI Australia, whom he hadn’t yet discussed his sexuality with. His desire to share the news with fans first was in part, at least, an attempt to get in front of the classic pop saga of label suits dissuading queer artists from coming out to their audiences.

However, as it happened, EMI were supportive and the deal went through. In 2014 came debut EP “TRXYE” and the following year Blue Neighbourhood, the latter housing platinum-selling single, “Youth”.Zip-up hoodies and the rough and ready hairstyles of his vlogs were swapped for runway-worthy ensembles and a forensically-coiffed quiff. Less Topman and more Yves Saint Laurent, the latter he would walk for in Paris before taking up an ambassadorship for the brand’s cosmetics line, YSL Beauty. However, aside from the medium and veneer applied, fundamentally little had changed. Sivan was still diarising his life as a young gay man with his millions of fans, only through a lexicon of deftly-crafted synth-heavy, Lorde-esque sonics and the superstar packaging of the market’s pre-eminent hitmakers, such as Grande, Shawn Mendes and Taylor Swift. Whilst at the time gay artists were far from unheard of, even in the industry’s highest ranks, Sivan brought the sinuous path of queer youth into a lane of the industry then dominated by heteronormative parables and lyrical tropes. Becoming the protagonist in nuanced tales of desire, love, pleasure and pain, he reflected the lives of LGBTQ+ young listeners who, in comparison to today, pre-the strides of Pose, Call Me By Your Name, Heartstopper etc., were still underserved by the mainstream. 

His impact on the community was far from fashioned by Sivan, however. “I think if you try to get in front of it, that's not the way to go,” he tells me. “I think the solution that I have is to just make stuff that I actually really like and then hope that naturally people are going through things at the same time as you, or maybe it's interesting to a new group of people.” By simply translating his life into songs, he’s inevitably reflected the realities of people living out similar ones to himself. 


And today, as a 28-year-old, he grapples with another familiar to many in the community – the ephemerality of twink-hood. Whilst far from the impetus of Sivan’s success, his archetypal twink features – a slim build and pale, youthful features – are inevitably tied to his profile as a queer star. The subsection of gay and bisexual men, positioned often as chiefly desirable – not in a vacuum of toxic age and race politics – generally discharges its members in their mid-twenties. Not dissimilar from the riff-raff narrative once ascribed to The X-Factor’s Over-25s category, the age often spells the end of this micro-period of one’s corporeal heyday within the community. The premature cultural ageing they subsequently undergo, colloquially termed ‘twink-death’, while their heterosexual counterparts are considered in their prime, isn’t a pressure Sivan’s felt immune to. 

“Pre-COVID, I was just kind of going, going, going and any sort of growing up or changes in my appearance felt fine because I was too busy thinking about what I had to do that day or whatever. And then it really hit me during COVID. I think it was just like being 25. I feel like a lot of twinks can probably relate. It’s like, ‘What happens afterwards? Do I try and start going to the gym? Do I go for a muscle vibe?’ I just didn't know what to do and it did kind of freak me out.” And, I want to say, it's not the biggest plight in the world and I'm so aware of how annoying it is to hear a white twink talk about the transition into white twunk,” he stresses. “Like, ‘Shut up!’”

However, in part through therapy, Sivan is accepting the notion that his outward appearance thrives when his internal self is doing well. “I’ve just realised that I do look my best when I feel my best and when I just go with the flow. And I'm such a proponent of everyone else loving their bodies because I really do love everyone's bodies. So why can't I just grant myself that same kind of luxury?” But the process of meeting the world again when his new album launches is inevitably daunting. “Once I start putting out music videos and stuff from this album that sort of re-establish me to everyone as where I am now, I think I'll feel a lot more relaxed. And I'm just not 21 anymore, you know? I also don't really read what people say about me or my body anymore, whereas I used to. But to be completely honest, it’s an interesting struggle, and I don’t think I have it figured out.” 

Arguably, the nucleus of toxic body image standards is The City of Angels itself, LA, where Sivan resides for part of the year. “It’s a tough city,” he says. “It’s big, sprawling and you have to drive everywhere.There are not a lot of public green spaces and you have to be really intentional about everything and know where you’re going. It’s not a very spontaneous city, looking at it purely from an urban planning point of view. You can make it work for yourself if you're lucky enough to find a good group of friends and be financially comfortable. It's sunny most of the time and a lot of people have pools at their houses that are nice to go chill at or whatever, but it’s not handed to you by any means.” 


The entertainment industry’s capital plays host to an interesting array of neighbours for Sivan. “It’s a super, super intoxicating thing, the hunger and passion and the idea that there's a lot of people who are willing to do pretty much anything to achieve this dream," he says. However, Sivan feels he’s avoided the toxicity’s clutch, in part, due to the life he still enjoys for half of the year in Melbourne. “I’ve always known that if everything was to go to shit or it didn't work, I could go back to my family in Australia and everything would be okay. That, as a trying artist, is such a privilege that can't be overstated, having that kind of comfort and security.” Spending time Down Under offsets the delirium LA could foster. “It just makes it super clear to me what I consider real or not real. I’m still well aware of the fact that [LA] is all kind of a big fantasy and, in my head, real life is still not here.” 

However, it’s this very essence of the city and its defining industry that is at the heart of HBO’s The Idol,a show Sivan stepped into this summer. The Weeknd and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s long-anticipated collaboration documented the salacious, hedonistic underbelly of the industry, centred around a fictional pop star, played by Lily-Rose Depp. 

Sivan was in LA, on a date, when he received notice of the show’s interest in him for the role. “I got an email being like, ‘Yeah, they’re really seriously considering you for this gig,’” he tells me. “I just kind of zoned out of the date a little bit because I was like, ‘I have no idea what is going on right now, but this sounds really exciting and like a big challenge.’” With a cast including The Weeknd himself, Bodies Bodies Bodies star Rachel Sennott, Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy and Blackpink’s Jennie Kim, on-set dynamics were somewhat surreal. 

Part school lunch hall, part multi-million-dollar HBO drama, Sivan says he, Depp and Sennott spent a lot of their downtime gossiping about boys. “It was like being at high school because we were seeing each other every single day,” he laughs. However, most school days aren’t also spliced with conversations with acting veterans. “Getting to hang out with someone like Hank Azaria was just so cool to me," he says. 

Full look CELINE

Whilst acting’s been a secondary facet of his artistry since childhood, most notably with a 2009 role in X-Men Origins: Wolverineand last year, coming-of-age comedy-drama Three Months in which he played a 17-year-old navigating the aftermath of exposure to HIV, The Idol marked Sivan’s first experience as a series regular, and watching the likes of Depp in action proved captivating. “The way that she thinks about acting and falls asleep and wakes up thinking about acting, that sort of reminds me of how I feel about music. And so, being around that was really infectious and inspiring.” 

“If somebody said to me, ‘What do you do?’ I don't know why but I'm just not programmed yet to be like, ‘I’m a singer and an actor,’” he tells me. The immediacy and tangibility of performing as a musician are in part responsible for his identification more with the art form. “There’s people literally standing right in front of you showing you, ‘yes, we like this thing and we consumed this thing.’ So just purely from an ego point of view, I don't feel like I've ever had the validation of being like, ‘Yes, you are good at [acting], this is your thing,’” he admits. “So I genuinely don't know if I am any good at it.” 

However, his casting in itself is a testament to his abilities. As well as another upcoming major role, albeit of a very different nature, in the third instalment of DreamWorks jukebox musical film series, Trolls: Band Together. For Sivan, entering a period where several of his friends are having children, “I really just like the idea that they can watch or get amongst it,” he smiles. “I’m really excited to be like, ‘That's me!’ I don’t expect them to understand that, but one day they will.” 

With a CV diversifying by the minute, as he surpasses a decade since inking that record deal in 2013, one might ponder – what is Troye Sivan in 2023? “I think the first thing I would say is that I’m a songwriter,” he says. “’Probably because that's the thing that I think I'm most passionate about and also feel the best at maybe.” The rest of his endeavours are united by one goal. “I think I just want people to trust me creatively. I’ve always wanted people to be like, ‘Oh, wait, what? Troye made another album, that should be cool,’ or ‘Troye is in a TV show. I'm excited to watch that.'” And crucially, “I just love the work so much,” he says. “I think I’m the most happy and chill I’ve ever been.” 


Interview taken from Man About Town Spring/Summer 2023.

Photography by Bartek Szmigulski
Fashion by Hunter Clem
Editorial Director Charlotte Morton
Editor Andrew Wright
Entertainment Director Erica Cornwall
Hair by Daniel Moon
Makeup by Kirsten Coleman
Art Directors Harry Fitzgerald, Livia Vourlakidou, Michael Morton
Cover Design Harry Fitzgerald
Production Director Ben Crank
Producer Isabella Coleman
Producer Mar Indiveri
Production Intern Frankie Baumer
Fashion Assistant Cam Garcia

Get the latest Issue here