TROYE SIVAN INTERVIEWED BY ROBIN NIXON
After years of making music in his bedroom, Troye Sivan finally signed a record label deal in 2016. What followed is a beautiful rise to stardom of a promising artist. However, right after the release of his sophomore album, he vanished when needed the most. The bleach blonde pop star left a gap that was obvious in the industry, but was filled quickly by other queer male artists. However, when he returned in the spotlight with "Way Too Much", the disco-influenced lead single of his third studio album, "Cupido", the world seemed eager to hear what else he's been cooking. And, a few months later, the album was released! Featuring an Ariana Grande collaboration and production handled by Jack Antonoff, Alex Hope and Flume, the record was a massive success with the critics and the fans, getting a total of 5 GRAMMY nominations, including Album of The Year. To celebrate his nominations, Troye sat down with Robin Nixon for his official GRAMMY interview, ahead of the ceremony.
Robin Nixon: Hello, Troye! Great to see you. Congratulations on the nominations!
Troye: Hello! Great to see you too, thank you so much for having me.
RN: So... let's dive in, shall we? Your third studio album, "Cupido", seems to be a real success for you, commercially but especially critically. Why do you think that is?
T: You know, when I released this album, I kind of felt like it would be better received than my other two. Throughout the past year and so, I've been really putting my heart and soul into this project, trying to get it right and create something just as good as my previous two records. Or, as it turns out, one that's received better, haha. I don't know why that was. I was thinking the other day about that and I like to think it's because this album was also a cathartic experience for me and the audience sensed that, you know.
RN: It is certainly a departure from your past self, both in terms of image and sound. What made you take this direction?
T: It just felt natural. I wasn't comfortable enough with my queerness for a long time now, but when I finally found a sense of belonging in my own skin, I guess, it translated into my music and my image too. See, I never really cared about what others think or want from me, but I was just too scared of God knows what to get out of my comfort zone. But when I did, it helped in so many ways. It's probably one of the reasons why I released "Cupido" and not something else.
RN: So the album means a lot to you.
T: So much. I know it's hard for others to see it as more than just a simple pop record, with radio-friendly melodies. But I know it's just... more than that. It's a part of my life, a piece of my heart that I haven't shared with the public up until now. Maybe it sounds pretentious, but I also see it as a statement, one that states that pop music can be meaningful and have a powerful message, just as much as every other genre of "real music".
RN: You've cited Robyn's critically acclaimed album, "Body Talk", as the main influence behind this record, even the critics compared your album with it. Is that were you took your statement from?
T: Yes and no. I think "Body Talk" is *the* statement when it comes to proving that pop music can be more than shallow radio songs. I mean, the prime example is "Dancing On My Own", one of the most heartbreaking songs with a dance beat I've ever heard. And yet, people still try to discredit the genre.
RN: Do you think you have your own version of that song on "Cupido"?
T: Well, it is probably a long stretch, but I feel like "Lovesick" is that song. I know that every time I sing this song acoustically, I take a cheerful tone because I get really sad if I don't. Obviously, the lyrics aren't like depressing sad, they're more of a "awwh, this is so unfair sad face emoji" kind of sad, you know. But they still hit hard if you've ever been in a situation where you liked someone who didn't like you back the same way. Or, whatever, I like to think so. One thing that I love about the song is how it fits in the context of the album. It basically kicks off the entire storyline with a bang. No tip toeing around the subject. Straight up "hey, I like this guy and he doesn't and I'll talk about that in the following songs so buckle up buddy!".
RN: I agree that maybe "Lovesick" is a bit sad, but you have gloomier songs on the album, like "This Drink". Wouldn't you say that, among all of these songs with big synthpop choruses, wouldn't you say that it feels a bit like a dark horse.
T: Absolutely. Sound-wise, it is the most out of place song on the album, I feel. It's not like the only ballad-y song on the album, there's also "For The Lonely" and "Next Morning" and maybe "Stay Over", but it definitely is the darkest song on the album, I think. My favorite part of the album still remains the final 3 songs and the way they connect with each other. My intention was to have like a separate storyline, one that is actually the "future me" you could say that is still trying to secretly get over the situation. And I feel like I did that!