Australian pop star Troye Sivan has become a modern example of what it means to be a young successful queer artist. At just 22 years old, the star has garnered a massive fan base and a few entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all while being an open and honest representation of himself.
Many have compared Sivan’s career to that of pop icon Sir Elton John, the openly gay hit-making singer who captivated an entire generation with his music. So who better to understand Sivan’s positioning in modern pop music than the Rocket Man himself?
Sivan sat down for an interview with Sir Elton for OUT Magazine, and the two spoke candidly about what it means to be an openly gay singer in this day and age, and how neither of the two performers want to be purely defined by their sexuality.
“Now the job is to make good music so that no one can put me in any sort of box,” Sivan told John, adding, “You’re a good example of that, where maybe it was a big deal for a second, but then you put out such good music that people just lived with it and dealt with it.”
“I love being gay, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but being gay doesn’t define me,” the British superstar agreed. “It’s part of who I am, but that’s it.”
Both of the pop stars compared their respective coming out experiences; John came out publicly in a 1976 Rolling Stone interview after becoming an international star. “It wasn’t like coming out for me — I was already out,” he said. “But the public didn’t know. To be honest with you, it didn’t really affect anything.”
Sivan’s experience, however, was very different. He had come out to his friends and family already when he made a YouTube video titled “Coming Out” amidst a record label negotiation. “[I] expected them to be like, ‘Oh, you know, we’re actually going to pass on this,’” he said. “But instead I woke up to a congratulations email from my label and ended up signing two weeks later. I felt like I got it out of the way, which I was happy about.”
Sir Elton also asked Sivan about the nerves he felt before performing “My My My!” (which John called “fabulous”) on Saturday Night Live. “There were a couple of moments during rehearsal when I was thinking, ‘What if I just fainted right now onstage? Would I get to go home?’” Sivan recalled. John offered up the kind of advice once could only expect from a seasoned professional: “You would have gotten a lot of headlines if you’d fainted,” he said. “I died a couple of times, according to the press, and it’s great for record sales.”
Sivan then opened up to the “Candle in the Wind” singer about how his relationship with model Jacob Bixenman has kept him sane in his fast-moving career. “I was on the go, and having that relationship gave me some stability and comfort in my life,” he said. “Now that we’ve got a house, a place that’s our own, I don’t know how I lived without it.”
John is currently preparing to start his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour in September, while Sivan prepares for the release of his second studio album, Bloom, expected in August.