The journey that Troye Sivan (Mellet) has taken from releasing homemade YouTube vlogs from his parent’s home in suburban Perth (WA) at the age of 12, to being nominated by Time Magazine in 2014 at the age of nineteen as one of the 25 most influential teenagers in the world before he had a hit record, is truly amazing.He has also featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine just after turning 20, and his 2018 album Bloom was included by Time Magazine, as one of the top 10 albums of 2018, and all the while he was exploding across multiple social media platforms, to become a poster boy for the LGBTIQ community.Born in Johannesburg, Sivan and his family (below) moved to Australia in 1997 when he was 2, where he was raised in the middle – class suburb of Dianella in Perth (WA); he has described his childhood in a mostly Jewish community there as “idyllic”.He was inspired by Michael Jackson videos and knew that singing and dancing were his future. He began vlogging on his own YouTube channel in 2007, using a webcam and directly uploading his cover versions of songs in a boy soprano voice along with diary updates on his life; it was amateurish but his charm, naivete, and eagerness to share with his online audience, was endearing, and made him likeable, relateable, and importantly clickable. In his early uploads you can see Sivan’s rare connection with the camera and his comfort in its detached gaze, he is a true digital native and social -media platforms are not just tools for publicity, they’re the medium and his life is the message.Just as Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes got their start uploading videos, Sivan has always been a conscientious and creative vlogger with a quick wit, a disarming absence of pretension, and in his youth an impressive soprano singing voice. He made his first TV performance on Channel Seven’s Telethon in Perth in 2006, duetting with Guy Sebastian (above), he also contested the final of Star Search and released an album of covers that same year. Soon after, his voice broke in the middle of a performance of a Declan Galbraith song in Los Angeles – it was a traumatic experience for the young performer, who abandoned his embryonic singing career and turned to acting.His first major film role was as James Howlett (a juvenile version of Hugh Jackman’s character) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he was an unenthusiastic student and quit school soon after, but continued home schooling with his parents. In 2010 he played the title role of John “Spud” Milton in a trilogy of these films, alongside John Cleese, he also performed in a stage production of Waiting for Godot with Sir Ian McKellen (below), he was fifteen years old.In 2010 he told his parents he was gay, in 2013, by the time he had a regular online audience of half a million, and was still living at home with his mother, he revealed he was gay on YouTube. In an industry where it was considered career-limiting to come out of the closet, particularly before you have a recording contract let alone become an established performer with a solid catalogue of hits to your credit, Troye’s actions were commendable. In less enlightened times many prominent performers had chosen to conceal their gender preferences – Cliff Richard, Dusty Springfield (pictured below with partner Teda Bracci), Johnny Mathis, Lesley Gore, Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers), Janis Ian, Dave Davies (Kinks), Arthur Conley, Billy Preston, Fred Schneider (B-52s) and others. But in more recent times some prominent artists have blazed a trail by coming out relatively early in their careers – Elton John, Boy George, George Michael, David Bowie, Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Tom Robinson, Marc Almond (Soft Cell), Sam Smith, Peter Allen, and here in Australia Darren Hayes, Sam Sparro, Jesse Origliasso (Veronicas), Courtney Barnett, Holly Throsby, Anthony Callea (pictured below with partner Tim Campbell), Monique Brumby, and Jen Cloher have all openly declared their gender preferences. Sivan’s mostly female fans embraced his revelation and he not only became a gay icon for a digital-savvy generation, but also a credible spokesperson for the campaign against bullying over sexuality and gender identity. He has always acknowledged the importance that social media has played in his burgeoning career – “I have no idea how I would have ever gotten started had it not been for the Internet.”In 2012 he returned to recording, armed with a digital SLR, iPhone and Adobe Premiere editing suite, the quality of his YouTube clips improved, he worked assiduously to refresh his vlogs daily and built a loyal following. He became a witty, flirty best friend who was honest and open, and fans responded enthusiastically, in 2013 he composed and uploaded a song for the hit movie The Fault in our Stars, and EMI offered him a recording contract. His music has been described as curious and creative, it is a unique genre-blending of electro-pop and smooth vocal melodies, he possesses a powerful baritone voice, writes engaging lyrics and uses synth beats to underscore the romanticism and nostalgia of his confessional songs.In 2014 he released the successful EPs, Tryxe, and Wild, and his debut album Blue Neighborhood crashed into the top ten in the US, Australia and New Zealand and sold over 700,000 copies, he followed up with the album Bloom in 2018 for his biggest global hit to date, charting top five in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand and top 20 in another eight countries, and total sales exceeded 2.5 million. The single My, My, My, when lifted off the Bloom album was also a global hit, and he rounded off 2018 with a role in the Nicole Kidman movie Boy Erased. Troy currently resides in the US where he has made guest appearances at Taylor Swift concerts (below), appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and in January 2019 his duet with American singer Lauv (Ari Staprans Leff), the anti-love ballad I’m So Tired, was another global hit clocking up sales in excess of 1.4 million. The music and videos of Troy Sivan constitute an artful, gender-blurring of same-sex romance, they are not gimmicky nor manipulative, and clearly resonate with his ever-expanding global fan base.