Troye Sivan released “Angel Baby” in September 2021. Seven months later, it’s making global strides, blasting from No. 181 to No. 113 in its second week on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, a ranking of the top 200 songs in the world outside the U.S.
And with Billboard‘s newly launched Hits of the World charts, we can see where Sivan’s momentum is coming from: Asia.
“Angel Baby” holds steady at No. 2 on the April 23-dated Malaysia Songs and Indonesia Songs surveys; climbs to No. 4 on Singapore Songs; and debuts at No. 22 on Philippines Songs. In Malaysia, the only other English-language song in the top 10 is Justin Bieber’s “Ghost,” at No. 4.
“Angel Baby” (released on Capitol Records) drew 12.5 million official streams (up 22% week-over-week) and sold 1,400 downloads (up 43%) worldwide in the week ending April 14, according to Luminate, formerly MRC Data. A whopping 90% of its sales were from outside the U.S. More extreme, and more pointed given the greater volume, 95% of its streams were on foreign soil. The other titles on this week’s global charts with that heavy of a non-U.S. lean are by acts from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Japan and Spain.
Meanwhile, the only other English-language titles to split their streams in a similar fashion are Luude’s “Down Under,” featuring Colin Hay, and Dave’s “Starlight.” But next to Luude’s moody EDM and Dave’s wordy British rap, Sivan stands out as an artist with significant U.S. chart history, with four top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 and six entries on the Billboard Hot 100.
Not only has Sivan charted in America before, “Angel Baby” itself made its mark with brief appearances on Pop Airplay and Adult Pop Airplay (No. 39 peaks on each) in November. But months after its brush on American radio, the song is in the top five of three Asian countries and climbing in another.
“Angel Baby” was No. 1 on the inaugural Malaysia Songs and has been in the top five for all 10 weeks since the chart launched. It had a softer start in Singapore, at No. 17, hanging around the top 20 before shooting from No. 19 to No. 10 to, currently, No. 4. It came later to the party in Indonesia, debuting at No. 11 on the April 9-dated list before climbing to No. 2. Philippines is the latest country to join in, with its No. 22 entrance.
So how to explain Sivan’s success in Asia while “Angel Baby” remains absent from Billboard‘s rankings for English-language territories such as Canada, the U.K. and his native Australia (as well as the U.S.-based Hot 100)? For one, this isn’t the first time that he has performed strongly in Asia. The Asian leg of the 2018-19 Bloom Tour earned $685,000 per night, more than any other leg of the world tour. Further, shows in Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong became the three highest grossing and best attended shows of his entire career, regardless of geography.
The mere fact that Sivan even played six shows in Asia is significant, as many Western pop artists’ “world tours” stop after North America, Europe and Australia, largely other than stadium-level acts with little need to be wary of testing their star power in a continent that feels far from their English-language roots. Perhaps Sivan’s geographical proximity is a factor, as he’s from Australia. Regardless, it’s working – the Hits of the World charts are too young to show how successful his previous releases were in Asia, although “Strawberries & Cigarettes,” his contribution to the 2018 soundtrack for Love Simon, re-enters Indonesia Songs for a second week at No. 24.
Sivan is joining in on the fun himself, posting a succession of videos on TikTok, (presumably) joking about fake scenarios that inspired his revived song’s lyrics, from a hidden child and ex-husband to his first cry as the titular angel baby himself. Whatever the song’s origin, “Angel Baby” continues to grow well past its infancy.