Troye Sivan on Paying Tribute to LGBT Activism in His New Music Video ‘Heaven’

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2016 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Troye Sivan, the 21-year-old YouTube star and musician, released the music video for his song, “Heaven” featuring Betty Who — a personal and political statement of coming out at age 15. “I came to the point where I wanted to delve into something a bit more specific about my experience as a gay man,” Sivan tells Vulture. “I went into the studio and had to revisit some pretty uncomfortable and sometimes painful memories of what it was like to be 15 years old and in the closet. I started writing this song called ‘Heaven’ about that experience.”

The song and video stands out from the rest of Sivan’s 2015 debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, as it deals directly with his experiences as a gay man, outside of penning love songs. It’s a more pointedly political video: Sivan was inspired by the documentary How to Survive a Plague, which details the activism of ACT UP, which emerged in the face of the AIDS epidemic. “Something that really motivates me as an LGBT person is the thought of where we come from as a community, where we’ve been,” Sivan says. “I wanted to take a more historical, factual approach to this video. I think at times that can be more powerful. I think it’s a story that is seldom told.”

The resulting music video mixes shots of Sivan with archival footage, because he wanted to show how he has benefited from the struggles of those who came before him. “I really, desperately wanted to pay tribute to and say thank you to those people who came before me.”

Troye Sivan on New Music Video ‘Heaven’