Troye Sivan Wants You to Dance
When Troye Sivan was seven years old, his father taught him the serenity prayer. Two days before the release of his third studio album, Something to Give Each Other, the 28-year-old Australian pop star closes his eyes in a greenroom in midtown Manhattan and reaches into his memory to recite the familiar opening: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
After a breakup in 2019, that sentiment planted the seed for “Honey,” a vibrantly honest song about communication that begins, “Give me the courage to say all the shit I mean.” It’s a plea at the end of the album, but a desire that Sivan confidently fulfills throughout. “I think communication is the most important thing in the world,” he recently said over Zoom. “That takes strength and vulnerability.” Sivan harnesses this ability like a superpower on all 10 tracks, baring it all and draping his raw emotions in synth-drenched, club-ready anthems, all in hopes of healing.
But don’t mistake this for a breakup album. Sivan already wrote that EP, In a Dream, three years ago. “It really came from the ashes of that experience,” Sivan said of the genesis of Something to Give Each Other. “It was never really about that experience. It was what happened afterwards.” What happened was Sivan finding himself again. He spent time at home in Melbourne (), riding his bike around the city, showing up to house parties alone, and meeting new people. “I just felt completely intoxicated by the world again,” he said of life after COVID-19. “You just wanted to be everywhere and see the world and meet as many people as you possibly could and be on every dance floor. It almost felt spiritual to have those experiences again, and they were so inspiring.”
These experiences reinvigorated Sivan and started to pleasantly surprise him, giving birth to consequent songs that were about hope rather than loneliness or despair. “It started to feel really joyous, and it was about connection with other people,” he said. “But also connection with myself, in a way that I hadn’t felt in a really, really long time.” Through that connection, Sivan also found community, and embraced his queer community in a way that felt new to him. The visuals for the album, which unequivocally celebrate queer joy and authentic living, were a way for him to revel in that liberation. On TikTok, he shared a story about the cover art, in which Sivan, gripped between thighs, throws back his head smiling, bringing levity to an overtly sexual image. He’s admittedly self-conscious about his smile, but after he was caught in a candid moment, that single frame became the cover art. “If vanity was my top priority, I think I look hotter on the back cover,” joked Sivan. “But I was like, No, there’s something so real about the joy that’s on my face…. When I saw the image, I was just like, Okay, that has to be it.”
While Sivan has embraced that joy, his journey to self-love and self-discovery hasn’t been an easy one, especially as someone who has always been very online. In July, when the new album’s first single, “Rush,” was released, “my screen time was, like, 12 hours that day,” he admitted. As someone who got their start as a teenager on YouTube, Sivan knows how to navigate the internet, though he’s aware it can be a minefield. When he released the music video for “,” it went viral on TikTok, with thousands of users replicating the hypnotic choreography, but he also received backlash for the video’s lack of body diversity. “If there’s a critique, I take it on board and I think about it,” said Sivan of his response to that moment. “I want to try and understand it, see how I want to respond to it, and make changes for the future.” In what felt like digital whiplash, he then received an influx of negative comments about his body after sharing the track list imagery, which features Sivan naked. “I know it’s not healthy for me to read tweets about my body or people talking about my body,” he said. “So in that case, no, I try not to let it get to me, and just continue life as a human, not as an online personality.”
Still, unafraid to take up space, Sivan remains active online,or participating in silly TikTok trends. “I think people online are really funny. I love to try and be a part of that,” said Sivan. “Not caring as much what people think and building up my confidence as a person—it was an active decision to have a bit more fun this time around. I’m not as scared of what people are going to say. I’m just doing what feels right and what feels fun.”