Troye Sivan continues his migration from YouTube to Billboard’s charts, as the singer/songwriter and social media star celebrates his second top five album on the Billboard 200 chart with the No. 5 arrival of Wild.
Sivan tells Billboard the achievement is “a little insane, to be honest,” and says that he’s “very thankful.”
The 20-year-old’s new six-song EP debuted on the Sept. 26-dated chart with 50,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 10, according to Nielsen Music. (That sum includes 45,000 in pure album sales, with the rest of its units from track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums.) Wild received social media praise from superstars Sam Smith and Taylor Swift, with the latter writing on Twitter that the EP is “stunning and awesome.”
Wild follows Sivan’s debut Capitol Records EP, TRXYE, which also debuted and peaked at No. 5 a little over a year ago (Aug. 30, 2014-dated chart, selling 30,000 copies in its first week). Though the five-song TRXYE has sold just 73,000 copies, it has generated 39 million non-programmed audio and video streams. That’s a robust figure in line with Sivan’s large appeal on the Internet: his YouTube channel boasts 3.6 million subscribers (and 203 million views) and he has 2.9 million followers on Twitter.
We reached Sivan via email to chat about his big debut, his fans, how he approached recording Wild and how “traditional music formats seem a little irrelevant.”
Billboard: Congratulations on your No. 5 debut on the Billboard 200 chart! That’s two top five albums in a little more than a year. How does it feel?
Sivan: Thank you so much!! A little insane, to be honest — Billboard is obviously the holy grail when it comes to music and charts — for a kid from Perth, it’s a little hard to comprehend. I’m very thankful.
Did you approach the writing and recording of Wild differently than the TRXYE project?
A little. This time I knew who I wanted to work with. Obviously last time around I had to make the rounds writer-wise to find the people I felt brought out the best in me. This time I felt like I knew who those people were, and spent a lot of time with them. The whole process was a little more refined, and actually a lot more fun.
Does having your existing large fan base from YouTube help or hinder you — or both — when it comes to your recording career?
Definitely helps! Of course there is that slight stigma against artists who come from online — but that reputation is one I’m fully happy to embrace, and hopefully alter that stigma in people’s minds in the process by making music that they enjoy. I’m so lucky to have the community that I do, and would not be where i am without them.
You said something to Popjustice that seemed to indicate that you were avoiding the idea of an “album.” You said that you are going to release a “body of work before the end of the year.” Does that mean this “body of work” is going to be Wild and TRXYE combined, or is it something entirely different?
There’ll be some songs from WILD on there. To me personally, traditional music formats seem a little irrelevant — as long as you’re creating something beautiful, experimental and representative of who you are — if you can do that in four songs, good on you. If you do it in 18, that’s cool too. The rest are unnecessary rules to me.