2016 No. 1s: Troye Sivan on 'Sharing Myself Online' & His 'Organic' Friendship With Alessia Cara

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Rainer Hosch
Steve Barnett [chairman/CEO, Capitol Records], Sivan, and Brandon Creed [manager, The Creed Co.] photographed on Oct. 18 at Capitol Records in Los Angeles.

”Youth” -- Dance Club Songs (1 week)
"Wild” (Featuring Alessia Cara) -- Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks (2 weeks)


Posting vlogs as a teenager to YouTube from his bedroom in Perth, Australia, seems like a distant memory for Troye Sivan. Now 21, the electro-pop singer spent the last two years making an altogether smooth transition from Internet sensation to mainstream pop breakthrough since signing to Capitol Records in June 2014. His debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in December 2015, but it was his singles that sent him to the top: Remixes from Gryffin and Breath Carolina elevated “Youth” to No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart in April, while a new version of “Wild,” featuring Canadian singer Alessia Cara, crowned the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart in June.

SIVAN:
[For “Youth”] we came up with this lyric “my youth is yours” and started writing about escapism and running away and giving your all to someone. I also have been online sharing myself for so long that I have given my youth to whomever has been listening.

BRANDON CREED (manager, The Creed Co.​): 
In the world of streaming nowadays, you get to see what reacts in a different kind of way than you’re used to. [The “Youth” remix] definitely raised its hand. Then it got promotion behind it.

SIVAN:
Alessia and I became friends, and I’m so obsessed with her music. We were doing this tag game where we were covering each other’s songs, and she was on tour in Europe and went into a studio and put down the “Wild” vocal. It wasn’t one of those fake record-label things. It was surprisingly organic.

STEVE BARNETT (chairman/CEO, Capitol Records​):
If you think about Halsey and Sam Smith and Troye, they were very clear about who they saw themselves being -- all outliers in the mainstream.

Troye Sivan admits the songwriting session for "Youth" was "awkward" and talks about his favorite lyrics on "Wild" and "Youth."

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 17 issue of Billboard.

Billboard Year in Music 2016

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