Like many young millennials trying to be and trying to make ends meet, James Page, who performs under the stage name Sivu is an artist who emotionally operates on a vast bandwidth of expectation and idealism.

Living and working in London for seven years, the 29-year-old singer-songwriter exists on a scope of highs and lows, hungry for the affirmation and success that breeds in such a prosperous, infinite city. Equipped with the talent and vision to express it all, 2014 debut Something on High released on Atlantic Records was an exploratory studio album coloured with vocal tenderness and lyrical craft.

Page, at the time hanging heavy by the razor-sharp frailties of a twentysomething's creative mind, stood at the cradle of his insecurities and humility with an inward significance. 'Feel Something' was a celestial submission to the human condition in all its complexity and fickleness. Shackled by isolation, 'Family Tree' and 'Communicate', both written in his London flat, similarly existed in a space of deafening silence and in an attempt to tune in to a world beyond his own reality. He describes the tracks as "a cry for help, a yearning for companionship and comfort, and having something to prove, at a time where nothing was really happening."

He talks of consuming feelings of self-criticism; "As a creative, you are constantly doubting yourself. I was signed to this major label, where all these people are pushing you and you forget why you are doing what you do and eventually that stuff just ruins it all."

Glowing praise and critical acclaim were received in abundance, which humbled and inspired Page, and his career began to take flight. But, a few years on, he bowed out of the smoke and seven months ago returned home to a remote town on the outskirts of Cambridge. "I just needed a change, I was stuck in a rut and creatively I wasn’t appreciating it, by the end I was resenting it. I took a massive step back. I left the label I was with at the time and I was kind out on a limb. I didn’t really know if I was even going to carry on making music."

This shift, however, served to be the most cleansing deliverance of all for the musician. Ultimately what this artist has done is wash away the smog from his eyes and begin once more. He describes this as a time of reflection, "rediscovering everything again and it being the most the amazing and refreshing experience." An internal homecoming and soothing of the self has enriched the artistry of Sivu beautifully, as proven by the tempting snippets of new music and a two week run of intimate live shows (the first in two years) ahead of the second record Sweet Sweet Silent, set for release in early July.

"I wasn’t afraid anymore, I was comfortable with myself," he shares with sincerity and clarity, and this is what could make it the most rousing and assured body of work to date.

"I made this as a record to be played from start to finish, in its entirety. There are no big singles on there, it’s very unassuming and intimate and I really want that rawness to come across. It’s a grower, a slow burner, and we performed it in a very atmospheric way. It’s heavily orchestral and leaves a lot of space; so if the listener can be transported by it, then that will feel incredible for me."

Mortality and the constraints of consciousness are also explored in the new material, delving into sensory reflexes and sonic architecture in haunting depth. "I was battling with Ménière's disease whilst making the album, I suffer from it in my right ear so I was thinking a lot about that in the process and the idea of how it would be possible to communicate with another and express yourself in the absence of hearing. The idea of having the senses in the body taken away from you plays a constant part throughout the record and in the artwork and visuals too."

Our innate need and desire as human beings to communicate; to communicate with love, with honesty and with conviction is an integral cog in Sivu’s expression and it’s no doubt that the release will be testament to this and the affliction of such loss if it were to strike.

Where pressure has been both internalised and treated since leaving the city, the overspill of expectation and the severity of its burden has been organically stripped away with grace and patience at Page’s own accord, and he appears creatively to be very much in full bloom. In speaking to him, a serenity and ease shine through, his air a tonic and salvation to young creatives and minds heavy under the weight of societal expectation. For all struggling with this perpetual gnawing, the expectation to be somewhere, or something, can feel relentless and can tire and drain the soul. But perhaps what can be achieved and understood away from it all, with peace, with courage and with faith is the most cathartic awakening of all, because Sivu is proof that being kind to yourself, nourishing your visions and head space gently can give rise to the most authentic and pure realm of work and essence we are capable of.

"I always dreamed of being a musician and being an artist, and I was very fortunate that I got that. But I think there’s always that notion of whenever you get what you want, you lose what you had, and I think there was an element of that and I put this thing on a pedestal. I had the most amazing three years and I did things I’d never imagined doing, which I am so blessed and thankful for, but I think I forgot why I was doing it, I lost focus and I looked at everyone else to blame and I lost the love in trying to be successful. Ultimately all these things don’t mean anything. I’m still hungry but I’m happy and I’m enjoying it and that’s all that matters now."


Sivu's upcoming album Sweet Sweet Silent is out July 7th via Square Peg.

Sweet Sweet Silent