We’d say it’s the season of Troye Sivan, but really we need to back up a bit further. It began this summer, when he starred in the much-discussed HBO series “The Idol” as Xander, the creative director and close friend to Lily-Rose Depp’s Jocelyn, and in late August he released Tsu Lange Yor with his brother Steele Mellet, a fragrance brand that comes after years of obsessing over scents. Come early fall he was walking Miu Miu and sitting front row at Loewe and Gucci, as TikTok feeds played clips on loop from his new music videos “Rush” and “Got Me Started.” And come mid-October he finally released “Something to Give Each Other,” his third studio album, along with a new video, “One of Your Girls,” that has, yet again, gone viral.
Being in your moment is given away by your travel schedule, and Sivan’s is one of frequent flier mile dreams. After launching the album in the U.S. — which included a stop on “Watch What Happens Live” where Reba McEntire now-virally asked him to explain poppers — he traveled back home to Melbourne, Australia, only to have a pit stop in Honolulu due to a sick passenger on his flight. He’s at home for a few days before hopping back on a plane to spend the weekend in Milan, then turns around and comes back home to Australia, where he’s looking forward to sitting still finally.
“I gave absolutely everything that I had and that I could to this album, and it was so, so, so worth it because I’m so proud of it and I can’t believe the reception to the album. It’s just been honestly really life changing and something that I can really, really feel in my everyday life. Even just existing in the world and walking around and stuff like that, things feel very different than they have in the past, in a really, really rewarding way,” Sivan says. “But I also know that I need a second to just kind of enjoy it and slow down a little bit. It’s been go time for a long time. I’m happy to be present.”
Here, WWD chats with the 28-year-old Sivan about everything from music, books and scent to the joys of everyday connection.
WWD: In what way do you feel different now that the album is out?
Troye Sivan: I think it’s really just in the interactions that I’m having with people. It just kind of feels, I don’t know how to describe without sounding like a d–k. I can just feel it more than I used to. And it’s really, really nice to be having conversations with people on the street, but not just about random stuff or something that I did five years ago, but about the album that I put out last week and hearing about specific songs. I don’t know, it feels really nice.
WWD: It must feel especially rewarding to have put together music that’s so personal to you and that it’s about so many of your experiences in the past couple of years and have that resonate with people.
T.S.: Totally. And I think also, I love making music for fun. Pop music especially is so fun to write, and sometimes it’s just a fun exercise to do it. And pop doesn’t always have to be personal, I don’t think. That’s where I play in between albums, maybe I’d be much more open to a feature where I didn’t write the song and hopefully it’s still a great song and it’s great pop and whatever. But then for me, the albums are really these sacred places where I try and push myself as far as I can creatively. I try and sort of use them as a journal or a time capsule. It’s already so nice for me to have these three albums that I can go back and listen to — not that I do, but if I ever wanted to — and be like, “Oh, I remember exactly what was going on in my life at that time.” It’s something that I just take really seriously, is that documentation. So for this music to be reacting in this way just feels very, very good. As much as a random pop singer would feel good, this feels really good.
WWD: How did you land on the name “Something to Give Each Other” for the album?
T.S.: It was in the studio. The concept was really, really clear to us all at that point. I say us all, it was Oscar Görres and Leland and myself, and we were sitting in the studio and just kind of talking about everything that I was experiencing and this shift in my mindset that was happening on a really macro level. It just felt very big, and we were talking about humanity at large, basically. And I think it was very informed by COVID-19 and how much I was craving people and connection and touch. And then I came out of COVID and started to have all of these experiences where every single experience looked totally different, every single experience I learned something, every single experience was so valuable to me and brought something into my life, and I was so grateful for it. And then I just started thinking about all of these different interactions, whether it’s dancing on the dance floor with someone or taking them home or dating them for five years or whatever. I realized that we all have something to give each other. And I just was kind of talking about it in the studio, like I am to you now, and I clocked it in my head and I was like, “OK, wait. That’s the album title.”
WWD: What other artists are you listening to at the moment?
T.S.: Let me get my Spotify up and tell you. I was listening to “Inner Smile” by Texas specifically. That was the first song. And I am embarrassingly late to Shygirl, so I’ve been listening to a bit of that. And Dido, which is just kind of a constant.
WWD: What does the rest of the year look like for you? Are you getting ready to tour at some point in the new year?
T.S.: I am getting ready to tour. I mean, I’m not getting ready right now, but we’re kind of putting all the wheels in motion and planning everything. For me, the rest of the year really is, I don’t think that this album would be what it is had I not have had real life to live, before it. And so I just feel like I need to kind of fill back up a little bit. So that’s what I’m doing for the rest of the year. I am newly an uncle, as of two days ago. And so I’ve been running around and cooking and bringing food to them, and I was with him for his first car drive yesterday, I saw him go outside for the first time. So it’s really exciting to me. So that’s kind of what I’m doing the rest of the year.
WWD: Has fragrance always been a really important thing to you?
T.S.: Yes, always super important. I’ve always loved it. I remember being picky, very, very picky about deodorant and cologne when I was 13 and stuff like that. And I always knew that I loved to play with something that felt curiously unisex to me. I liked the scent that made me feel cute, that was both masculine and feminine at the same time in the sort of traditional sense. And so it was always something that was really important to me. And then when I started traveling, I would bring a candle with me to try and make some sort of semblance of home while I was away. It’s just been a big part of my life.
WWD: One route you could have gone was to outsource it and put your name on the brand at the end, which a lot of celebrities do. Why was it really important to you to be involved at this level?
T.S.: With everything creative that I ever get to do, for me, releasing something is almost the most, I don’t want to say boring part, but that’s not the point for me. The point is making the thing. That’s the funnest part for me, the part where I’m really active. Releasing it, it’s exciting to watch how people react to something, but at the end of the day, you’re just kind of posting something or sharing it. So it wasn’t interesting to me at all to hop on at the end and just put my name on it. I really wanted to, from the ground up, build this thing. And it’s been such a pleasure to work with my brother on it, and we’re having a really good time. We’ve learned so much and have been really kind of floored by the response to it. We’re going to be in some new retailers early next year, and we’re working on the next product line. It’s just a very, very fun project for me.
WWD: If you were to assign a scent to the album, what’s the album smell like to you?
T.S.: I think it smells like TLY 5755 candle, which is our signature scent. Just because it’s so warm and complex and there’s layers to it, and it’s really, really grounded at the same time, but there’s this cutesy sweetness to it that I think just really, really suits the album.
WWD: As a creative person, what does the fragrance world give you that you don’t get from music or from acting?
T.S.: It feels like an extension, really, of everything else. The actual creation of the scent is such a beautiful process and one that I have never experienced before and really, really enjoyed. And then beyond that, it feels very similar to everything else, where it’s working with incredible designers on typography or incredible stylists and photographers and makeup and hair artists for campaign imagery and all that stuff to me is just the stuff that I love and it’s the stuff that I kind of get to do every day at this point. So, yeah, it feels like a very nice extension of everything else. It doesn’t feel maybe as different as people would think that it would.
WWD: We can’t talk about anything acting related [due to the actors’ strike], but what’s a movie or a show that you saw this year that you really loved?
T.S.: Honestly, one of the most embarrassing things in my life is how little media I consume. I read a lot and I listen to a lot of music, but I don’t watch a ton of TV or movies.
WWD: What do you do on all these long flights then?
T.S.: I either read or I sleep mostly. I am a really good sleeper on planes. I guess if I am to watch TV, I use it as a form of total, total escapism. I’m more likely to watch a trash reality show than I am a good TV show. I think I’m just out of the habit of when I’m looking for entertainment, I don’t look to TV all the time.
WWD: What are you reading?
T.S.: I just finished “The Secret History,” which I loved. And then at the moment, I’m about halfway through “The Firm” by John Grisham, which I’m really enjoying. It’s a great book.
WWD: So you’re not going light on the book front…
T.S.: I want something substantial. I want something that’s going to take me a couple of weeks to read, or at least a couple of days.
WWD: Did you end up explaining to Reba what poppers are backstage on Andy Cohen?
T.S.: No way. No way. She does not need to know.