I may be 30 years old, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a crush on a 22-year-old pop star (right?). Troye Sivan is the young gay icon whose contagious new single, “My My My!” celebrates queerness and lust in a more mature way than his wholesome, teen-friendly first album, Blue Neighbourhood, did. Pitchfork calls it “one of the first great songs of this year,” and it’s got a sexy music video to go along with it, too:
In addition to being an outspoken activist for gay rights, Sivan also happens to be Jewish; in fact, he grew up in a conservative Orthodox community in Australia and even went to modern Orthodox school as a kid.
If you haven’t heard of Sivan yet, here’s your primer. Study up, because he’s about to get a lot more famous soon.
1. He was born to a Jewish family in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1995 (lol). When Sivan was 2, the family moved to Perth, Australia, where he was raised. His family was conservative Orthodox, and he still goes home to Perth for the High Holidays. Jewish traditions “are things that I really, really value,” Sivan says. “I could do without saying the prayers, but getting the family together and not turning on our phones for a Friday night is something I really cherish.”
2. He grew up in the tight-knit Jewish community of Perth, which he describes as “not necessarily a very religious one, but a very traditional one.” He also attended modern Orthodox school until he was 14, when he left to pursue a career in showbiz; he says that his closest friends are still those he made in Jewish day school.
3. And he started singing at — yup, you guessed it — his synagogue. He also built his early career touring synagogues and Jewish fundraisers and galas, first in Australia and then eventually overseas.
4. Like a true millennial, Sivan gained popularity via his YouTube channel. His big break came when he was invited to perform alongside Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, in a performance broadcast across Australia, when he was just 11 years old.
5. He first came out to his father when he was 14 years old, and did it through a conversation about Judaism. As he told The Sydney Morning Herald, he asked his father one night what, if anything, he would change about Judaism; his father said that he would change the way the Orthodox tenets of the religion approach homosexuality. Sivan agreed, and used this as an opening to share his sexuality with his own father — a revelation that his dad, and the rest of his family, accepted with open arms.
6. Sivan is not only a singer; his first-ever acting role was playing a young Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He’s done theatre in Australia and will star in Joel Edgerton’s upcoming coming-of-age and coming-out film, Boy Erased, based on a memoir about gay conversion therapy, with Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges.
7. Speaking of coming-out: In 2013, when Sivan was 18, he publicly came out in a straightforward, heartfelt video on his YouTube channel. In fact, he came out even earlier than that within the industry, right before he signed the record deal for Blue Neighbourhood — which, Sivan says, “allowed me from day one to write music that was completely honest.”
8. Although we’ve only gotten to know him in the states in recent years, Sivan has been a heartthrob in Australia since 2014, when his first EP, TRYXE, was released, which was certified gold in his home country.
9. His first full-length studio album, Blue Neighbourhood, was released in December 2015. In conjunction with the album, he made his first live American TV debut on The Tonight Show with The Roots, performing the album’s single, “YOUTH,” with all of his infectious dance moves to boot.
10. Speaking of “YOUTH”: The neon purple-hued music video for that song, his first American hit — complete with teenagers partying and same sex couples canoodling — now has 86 million views on YouTube (and features a cameo by teenage it-girl, Amandla Stenberg).
11. Portrayals of LGBTQ people have been a priority for Sivan in all of his music videos, because, “being a gay guy myself, I have such vivid memories of the few times I saw any type of LGBTQ relationship on TV or in music videos.” () “HEAVEN,” his single with Betty Who, is something of a gay video anthem, with black-and-white montages of gay activists and same-sex couples throughout history.
12. Sivan also did a trilogy of videos for Blue Neighbourhood, which ends in a suicide by a queer teen. “At the end of the day I wanted to show young, queer love in the same light that hetero love is shown,” Sivan says of the trilogy. “And just how violently that can be torn apart by a non-accepting environment.
13. His new single, “My My My!” ushers in a new era of Sivan’s career and cements his status as a queer pop icon. The song is a mature departure from youthful innocence of Blue Neighbourhood, with lyrics like “I’ve got your tongue between my teeth” that make it an unambiguous “celebration of sexual desire.” The video features Sivan dancing coquettishly in an empty warehouse, surrounded by shirtless men. As NPR Music puts it: “It’s not every day you see a young, skinny queer kid get to be completely himself in a music video, and Sivan makes us want to dance along with him.” It’s true; I watched this video three times the day it came out.
14. Sivan is the musical guest on SNL this Saturday, January 20, where he will almost definitely perform “My, My, My!” live for the first time.
15. Oh yeah: He recently eschewed his dark roots and went platinum. Have you ever seen someone make Yom Kippur look this enticing?
16. Not that you could have dated him anyway, but Sivan is taken: He’s in a relationship with model and fellow gorgeous person, Jacob Bixenman (it’s unclear if Bixenman is also Jewish, but with a name like that…?). (Fun fact: Bixenman was the shirtless guy all over Sivan in the “HEAVEN” video.)
17. Sivan is unsurprisingly friends with lots of trendy famous people, including old pal Betty Who and trans model, actress, and fellow member of the tribe, Hari Nef.
18. There’s no release date for Sivan’s new album yet, but we know that it’s coming. If it’s anything as grown and sexy as “My My My!” then there’s going to be a lot to look forward to. Keep your fingers crossed that the album is released sooner rather than later, because I don’t know how much longer my neighbors will be able to take me blasting this one song on repeat.