Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood

Written for the Press Association music column and published on the Swindon Advertiser.

Despite boasting 3.17 million Twitter followers, 3.7 million YouTube subscribers and sold out gigs around the world, you probably haven’t heard of Troye Sivan, at least, not if you’re over the age of 25.

That’s because the 20-year-old doesn’t owe his popularity to record label executives or televised singing competitions. The South African-born Australian singer found his place on YouTube, where he’s been sharing regular covers, original songs and videos featuring fellow famous pals, like Zoella and Tyler Oakley, since 2007.

Sivan’s hordes of loyal followers have been pining for a studio-length album for quite some time, and his debut Blue Neighbourhood certainly won’t disappoint.

One of the most captivating things about Sivan is the sincerity in his haunting voice, complemented by gorgeous harmonies and backing melodies.

Soft percussion, Eighties-inspired keys and oodles of synthesizer provide a hazy, melancholy backing track to songs about falling in love, navigating a relationship and nursing a broken heart.

Standout tracks include WILD, an ode to first love in suburban neighbourhoods; DKLA, a ballad about trying to move on after a tough break up, and HEAVEN, a track in which Sivan debates whether God will accept his sexuality.

These are not just great pop songs, they’re pop songs with a gritty edge, written by an artist who is pouring his heart out to an audience he trusts.