If Troye Sivan looks somewhat familiar to you, maybe it’s because you’ve seen him before, with claws, in an X-Men movie.
Sivan starred as a young James Howlett in X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009, playing essentially a much younger version of fellow Australian Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Does he look back on that role and think, “Hmm, maybe I could replace Jackman one day?”
“That would be awesome. I would love to do that one day!” the 20-year-old Australian singer-songwriter said with a laugh, during a phone interview from Denmark, where he was on tour.
These days, of course, Sivan is better known as a musician, albeit one whose first full-length album, Blue Neighbourhood, debuted at No. 7 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart when it was released last December.
“I didn’t expect it to do so well. I was pleasantly surprised with the reviews and what people said about the album. For me, it was important that people liked what I was doing,” said Sivan.
The reviews for Blue Neighbourhood have certainly been quite positive, with The Guardian praising him for “capturing the sound of now so well”, and AllMusic calling him “fearless and honest in a way other pop stars are not”.
According to Sivan, all the acclaim has been gratifying, and vindicating. “When I set out, my main goal was to be genuine and real. I didn’t want to let anyone shape me into what they want me to be, like many of the young artistes out there,” he said, adding that the time he took to write the songs in Blue Neighbourhood really helped him form his own musical style.
“I took my time to write the album and let my true self really come out. I wrote it in a year and a half, and I had the time to figure out who I really am.”
Born Troye Sivan Mellet in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995, his parents moved to Australia when he was two. Sivan began his musical career in 2006, and released his debut EP, Dare To Dream, in 2008. He followed that up with 2014’s TRXYE (which debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in over 55 countries) and last September’s Wild EP, before finally releasing Blue Neighbourhood last December.
Although he had quite an acting career in the earlier part of his career, he is putting acting on hold while he pursues his musical career.
“Acting is one of the things that is not at the top of my priority list right now,” said Sivan, who was also the star of the popular Spud film trilogy back in South Africa.
“Between acting and music, I prefer music. It’s more fulfilling for me, because I can be more involved in it. I’m involved in the production, the songwriting, and of course, performing live.”
Sivan also has a strong following on social media, with over 3.82 million Twitter followers and over four million subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he also posts a video blog. For all his popularity on these platforms however, he doesn’t deem it necessary for a musician to be social media savvy.
“Look at Beyonce (who has 14.4 million Twitter followers but has posted a grand total of nine times since 2009) ... Yes, it makes things easier in some ways, and lets us connect with fans, but I don’t think it’s essential at all,” he said.
Sivan’s schedule is pretty much full for the rest of the year – he is currently on a global tour to promote the album. Plus he will be performing at this Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards as well, an opportunity that he calls “life-changing”.
Beyond that, however, he doesn’t know what the future holds for him just yet. “Maybe after this year, I’ll have to haul myself up and go back to the studio and start writing again,” he mused.