Catching Troye Sivan – just in time

 

Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan performs at a special event for WKSE-FM in Buffalo.

By Emily Bingham  

Teens on the verge of tears and their nervous parents were teeming with excitement and angst. These roughly 50 fangirls and boys were standing in line to get into a room that contained their pride and joy, 20 year-old singer, YouTuber and actor Troye Sivan. 

Sivan, currently on tour promoting his debut album Blue Neighbourhood, was taking a quick stop to perform a three song set for his fans in Niagara Falls, N.Y. on his way to Toronto. The only way to get in was to win a contest held by the Buffalo radio station Kiss 98.5 FM.

At the WKSE-FM event in the Seneca Niagara Casino, fans talked about how many times they tweeted and called in an attempt to win. Selfies were taken. Friendships were made. “I’m going to try really hard, but there’s no way that I’m not going to cry,” one girl confessed. 

As the time spent waiting in the line increased, so did the anxiousness and extreme excitement. They stopped discussing the songs he would perform and the way they would pose in photos, and the amount of chatter decreased as they prepared themselves for what was about to come. Once the doors leading to the stage area were opened, the masks of calmness were removed from the giddy teens. Walking past the series of doors revealed a very small, intimate venue that could seat no more than 440 people. The lucky contest winners filed in one by one and claimed their spots as close to the stage as possible, filling in no more than the three closest rows on either side of the stage.

Sivan, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in Perth, Australia, has gained fame through his heart-wrenching and emotional musical performances and his features in movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his title role in the South African movie series Spud. He is most commonly known for his online presence and his personal relationship with his viewers, using social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram to connect with fans, where you can find under @troyesivan. The friendly tone that many of his vlog style videos that are featured on his YouTube channel has helped him amass an incredible 3.9 million subscribers on YouTube, 3.5 million Twitter followers, and 3.5 million Instagram followers. His videos commonly discuss very personal aspects of life that allow viewers to feel connected with him in an intimate way, and have a combined 235 million views.

Included in the Niagara Falls audience was Shaun Mellet, an average looking bald man who wears a permanent smile, a father of four — including Troye. He’s the coolest dad on the Internet with his own fan base and over 80,000 followers on Twitter. Sporting a Troye Sivan sweatshirt with the word “Fireproof” across the front, a lyric from Sivan’s song “Youth,” Shaun was just as excited as any other person in the room. He would later be seen wearing the biggest smile and singing along with Troye just as loud as everyone else, proving that he is in fact, one of the proudest parents alive.

Small talk filled the room as the wait for Troye Sivan continued. After a quick introduction of the hosts and a hello from Shaun, a very sick Troye Sivan walked on stage, but you wouldn’t have known at first glance. Wearing a sand colored turtleneck with a suede, chestnut jacket, black jeans, and leather boots that came up just past his ankle paired with his periwinkle painted nails, a simple silver hoop nose ring, his naturally curly locks and a cute, boyish smile, you would hardly know that he was ill. After he made his way to the microphone and the screams were subdued, he apologized for his sickness and dove right into the acoustic version of “Heaven” from his album which features Betty Who. “Heaven” details Sivan’s coming out experience when he was only 15 years old.

After his heartfelt and touching performance, he recalled a story from earlier that day. With it only being the second time in his life that he has seen snow, he relayed his excitement about the fluffy white flakes falling from the sky. He joked about how he had slipped and fallen in the snow on the way to the venue, but quickly followed it with a laugh and thanked the fans for the experience of seeing more snow.

The show moved right along with his next performance of “Wild,” which is featured on Blue Neighbourhood . During his incredible performance that showcased his vocal talents, he connected with each of the fans individually by meeting their gaze and singing into the many phone cameras that were capturing the moment that some audience members called the best night of their lives. “I really enjoyed how personal the experience felt,” one girl shared. “It really reminded me of that feeling you have when watching his videos.”

He continued right into the next selection, stopping only to take a sip from the various beverage selections such as hot tea, coffee and water that were available to him on stage to soothe his throat. Next was his most recently released single “Youth,” which is also featured on his album. Still excited from the premiere of the music video for “Youth” which happened the night before, he described the song as his favorite to perform. The song’s fun and youthful vibe combined with Sivan’s energetic dancing and the genuine excitement to be performing for his fans was enough to make the audience forget he was sick at all. Until, that is, he let out a small cough during an instrumental break in the song. He continued on anyway and was determined to make this a special time for all those who came out to see him.

After he finished his three-song performance, all audience members were asked to stand in a line leading to the stage for a meet and greet with Sivan. The antsy girls and boys stood in a line no longer trying to conceal their excitement.

“This is so surreal, it’s like my whole life and reason for living is standing less than three feet away from me,” one super-fan confessed to the girl in front of her.

“I know,” added the girl, “It’s going to be really hard not to cry until after the picture so I don’t mess up my makeup.”

Many conversations like this could be overheard in the small space as the line quickly moved along. As each fan neared the front of the line, they would repeatedly check their hair and practice their smiles. Troye repeatedly apologized to every fan waiting for a hug he couldn’t give due to his illness with a disappointed smile. One by one the line decreased in size as the fans would take their long-awaited picture with Troye and he personally thanked every last one of them for coming out to see the show until there was no one left.

After all the photos were taken and tears were shed, Sivan left Niagara Falls as quickly as he arrived. No more than two minutes after everyone had left the venue, a tweet from Sivan containing as many apologies as possible, announced that the remaining shows in Canada would be postponed for a couple months until he felt better. The replies were filled with many “get well soon!” messages from disappointed, but ultimately supportive and understanding fans that reinforced the idea that his health comes before anything else.

Emily Bingham is a freshman at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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