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Troye Sivan’s Tuesday show at Radio City Music Hall was a night of firsts. The concert marked the pop singer’s first time playing a sold-out show at the iconic New York venue and his first time performing “1999” live with duet partner Charli XCX, whose surprise onstage cameo caused the audience to erupt in deafening screams.
But, perhaps most exciting of all, Sivan’s show in the Big Apple became the first stop on his Bloom Tour, where he treated fans to a performance of his yet-to-be-released single, “Revelation,” which he wrote for Focus Features’ upcoming film Boy Erased.
After performing some of his most beloved tracks — including “Bloom,” “Heaven” and “Wild,” among others — Sivan squeezed “Revelation” into his nearly 20-song setlist. Before the live debut, the 23-year-old, who also stars in Boy Erased alongside Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, explained why he wanted to contribute to the soundtrack for the film.
“I auditioned, and I got the part, which is so crazy. I was very excited about that,” he told the crowd, adding that the film — which is based off Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name and highlights the emotional pain LGBTQ youth experience at gay conversion therapy centers — “is a really important story.”
After winning the role of campgoer Gary, Sivan became laser-focused on crafting new material for Boy Erased. “But then I was like, ‘Now I need to write the music for the movie,'” he continued. “That’s my thing.”
It wasn’t long before director Joel Edgerton — who also stars in the film as hyper-Christian, homophobic camp counselor Victor Sykes — gave Sivan a shot. Sivan went on to say that “Revelation” was inspired by a specific scene in Boy Erased that sees Hedges’ lead character, Jared, having a “pure and beautiful” interaction with another boy for the first time.
“He has that experience and the fucking sky doesn’t fall down on him and the world doesn’t come crushing down. And it’s a revelation to him,” said Sivan. “That person that he was with was a revolution to him. And it was just so inspiring, so we started with these lyrics: ‘You’re a revelation. You’re a revolution.'”
“Revelation” — a powerful ballad laced with haunting, orchestral instrumentals — was penned with the help of Jonsi of Sigur Ros and Sivan’s frequent collaborator Leland, one of the opening acts on the Bloom Tour. “We wrote this song for the movie. It’s not out yet. I don’t know if I’m allowed to sing it,” Sivan said with a laugh. “But I hope it’s OK.”
Sivan’s inaugural performance of “Revelation” — which was met with wild applause from the more than 6,000 fans who attended his show on Tuesday night — came one month after the openly gay artist stopped by The Late Show to tell host Stephen Colbert about the potential impact of Boy Erased. According to the South African-born star, he hopes the message of the film is able to penetrate the minds of parents who have trouble accepting their LGBTQ children.
“[Conversion therapy is] just one of the most damaging things I could imagine,” Sivan told Colbert in September. “I really want to communicate with parents as to just how much your reaction to your kid coming out can really shape their lives.”
Currently, only 14 states — along with Washington, D.C. — ban conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In late July, Delaware became the last to restrict the practice, which has been denounced as harmful and ineffective by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
Boy Erased — which also features Sivan’s “The Good Side,” from his second studio album, Bloom — hits theaters on Nov. 2.
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