Pillbox

Troye Sivan

It was October 2012, and with the steadfast approach of my first Halloween in New Delhi I frantically searched the internet for some stupid costume ideas. After surfing for a good twenty minutes, a video titled “FUNNY HALLOWEEN COSTUME IDEAS” caught my attention. With a click, a blue-eyed Australian boy was staring back at me, and so started my encounter with “So yesterday I got a haircut, and managed to get the perfect quiff.”

Friday night, just over four years later, the blue-eyed boy captivated a room full of crying, screaming, and enchanted fans of all ages, sexes and sexual orientations at Stage AE. “Thank you all for coming,” he smiled after opening with the chart-topper, Wild, “you have no idea how much this means to me.”

Troye Sivan started out as a child star, starring in the 2009 South African film Spud, based off of the novel of the same name. The movie went on to become a part of a trilogy, with Sivan keeping his role. Fans were also able to see Troye as the young version of Logan in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.

With the weight of his entertainment background hanging on his shoulders, Sivan took to YouTube to better introduce himself to the world. Week after week we saw videos ranging from song covers to quirky vlogs, and the YouTuber sky-rocketed to become one of the most popular people on the internet.

December 2012, Troye sang a comical original song titled We’re my OTP, with OTP of course meaning “one true pair.” Staying true to his YouTuber persona, this song delved into the themes of internet culture and made heads nod in agreement around the world.

May 2013, Troye released a video of his original song The Fault in our Stars inspired by the heartbreaking novel by John Green. This is where I personally saw an edge of heaviness creeping onto Troye’s channel. Something was changing.

August 2013, Troye releases “Coming Out.” The incredibly candid video fulfilled what its title suggested. Sivan, on a pedestal of internet fame, poured his heart out to his fans about his sexual orientation, and went on to release a second part to the video. Through his video he addressed everything from talking to parents, and finding support through the resources and community that exist out there. Hearts melted, and if anything his fan base grew.

July 2014, Troye releases Happy Little Pill. The dark record explored themes of addiction, emptiness, and escape, placing Sivan’s music into the genre of “Dream Pop.”

August 2014, the EP TRXYE is released, which features three songs in addition to The Fault in our Stars and Happy Little Pill.

When Troye released his EP, as someone who knew him for his comedic antics more than his musical inclination, I was critical. I found myself going back, and listening to his covers both from his very early YouTube uploads to around the time where I had started following his videos. He was good, no doubt, but I was hesitant in seeing where this was going.

July 2015, Troye posts a video titled “Announcing My Album” and starts by thanking his fans for their incredible love for his EP, that eventually sent it to the top of 66 charts, all around the world. He gushes about the work he’s put into “doing it again, and doing it better,” and announces that “this is happening.”

In December 2015, Blue Neighbourhood, Sivan’s first studio album, is released, after Wild, Talk Me Down, and Youth had teased fans for the months building up to the release.

May 2016, it is announced that on his world tour, Troye will be coming to Pittsburgh. I got up from my family gathering, ran to my room, grabbed my laptop, and frantically looked for presale tickets. And that was that. I was going to see him.

The scene was surreal. Rainbow flags, sparkles on cheeks and bodies swaying in unison. Troye’s face went serious as he sang with heart, and softened to the goofy smile that I so clearly remember seeing for the first time all those years ago. He had everyone sing happy birthday to a fan, and brought a group of devout fans onstage to take a selfie with him.

As fans pelted gifts onstage he announced, “I usually don’t like when people throw things on stage, but I also like free stuff, so thank you, you guys!” As everyone screamed in unison, he picked up a pair of broken sunglasses and put them on, and proceeded to inspect what he called a “nice t-shirt” that someone had thrown for him.

Concerts are always cathartic. Aside from seeing a being that you only know from behind a screen, in person, the sheer atmosphere of people singing together and base vibrating in your bones, it's enough to rock your emotional capacity. Friday night, however, I didn’t feel like I was going to see a star. I felt I was seeing a friend after a long time. Someone who grew up with me, and found themselves in their own twisted way while I found mine. I found myself looking for his humanizing moments more than his larger-than-life presence, and was relieved and delighted to see it again and again throughout the night, from when he took off his platform sneakers because they hurt his feet, to when he called out to his fellow LGBTQ community members, with a lump in his throat.

Thank you Troye, I hope we get to see each other again soon.