Billie Eilish has appeared in the last few years, and people can’t stop talking about her. She has a ton of overall firsts as a young artist and as a female artist. She became famous after releasing the song “Ocean Eyes,” and became even more popular after releasing her song “Bad Guy.” She has only been famous for a few years, and she already won five Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, and more.
Imagine how big her career is going to be for this 18-year-old woman who has already made such an impression on us. She is loved not only by Generation Z but by people of all ages. Her music has a maturity about it that connects with people who listen to artists like Lana Del Rey, The Beatles, and other iconic artists. Although we’re just getting to know her, she has opened up about so much when it comes to her personal life and her music. Here is everything that you need to know about this artist that no one can stop talking about: Billie Eilish.
A Lady From LA
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell was born in LA on December 18th, 2001, and grew up in Highland Park. Her parents are Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell, and they are still married; they just have different last names. Billie went with one of her middle names when she started recording instead of one of her parent’s last names.
In an interview with Howard Stern, she spoke about how neither of the names seemed to fit her, and that’s why she ended up choosing Eilish. Both of her parents are musicians and ended up homeschooling her and her brother. While they were homeschooled, they were taught the basics of songwriting and how to express themselves and explore what they really want in life. This is where her story begins.
Her Start with Singing
Billie Eilish joined the LA Children’s Chorus when she was only eight years old. She spoke about it in an interview with Vogue saying, “That’s where I’ve gotten all my singing technique, even though it’s mostly choral stuff. It’s helped me learn the proper way to sing and not ruin my voice completely.
But I’ve just always sung all the time. I sang so much that my family had to shush me. Then I started writing when I was about 11.” I had a few friends who would sing around the house, and I was the one who was always shushing them. It seems to have paid off for Billie, though, because she is now very well known around the world.
Billie and Finneas Were Homeschooled
Billie Eilish and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, were homeschooled by their parents for most of their life. Billie spoke about it with Howard Stern, saying that she feels like it was the right thing to do because her parents were smart, and they had the answers to everything. She loves that they helped them express creativity with different art and acting classes.
Her mother is an actress and screenwriter, her father is an actor, and they are both musicians. This played a role with her starting to sing. Billie says that her mother is her inspiration. She did go to a few acting auditions but didn’t like it. This led to her life-changing decision to start a singing career.
Her Debut Album
‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ debuted in March 2019. The album hit number one right away on the Billboard 200 along with UK Albums Chart. This made her the first artist who was born in the 2000s to have a number one album in the US. In the UK, she is the youngest female singer to have a number one album.
All of the songs on this album besides for ‘Goodbye’ were on the Hot 100 list, which isn’t something you see every day. In fact, she broke the record for the most songs at the same time that hit the Hot 100 list. Lorde was the youngest artist to have a number-one single until Billie came along. That must be a great feeling to have.
She Started Writing Music At 11
Since she and her brother were homeschooled, her mother was able to teach them some great things like songwriting. Her father played the piano and ukulele, and he would make them different mixtapes with different artists like the Beatles and Avril Lavigne. She started writing music herself when she was about 11 years old as it helped her express her feelings.
Her brother, Finneas, is also a songwriter so they would help each other out and even write songs together. This was when she wrote her first song, which was about the zombie apocalypse. She was inspired by The Walking Dead and also included different lines from the TV show. That’s a pretty creative thought process for an eleven-year-old. It seems that being homeschooled really paid off.
Her First Hit Song
Ocean Eyes was written by Billie Eilish’s brother, Finneas, back when she was 11. Billie decided that she should sing it. It’s a song about the feeling of falling in love and how it feels like you are falling off a cliff. In an interview with Vogue in 2016, she said, “He came into my room in October of last year to tell me he had this song called “Ocean Eyes.”
He’d been doing it with his band before, but of course, I’d heard it because I was right next door. I sang it, and we both loved it. It’s just a beautiful song, and Finneas is an amazing writer. I loved it, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. I’m in a dance company, and one of my teachers asked if I could record [the song] and send it to him so he could choreograph a dance.”
Ocean Eyes Opened Eyes to Eilish
This wasn’t the first time that Billie and Finneas worked together. She even refers to him as her partner in crime. They go to each other’s recording sessions together, and their taste is very similar. If they don’t agree, then they are comfortable enough to express their opinions.
In the interview with Vogue, she said, “Before we put out “Ocean Eyes,” we’d put out two songs—one that Finneas wrote and one that I wrote. Just to put them out on SoundCloud for fun and for our friends to listen to. We had no intention for them. And then we put out “Ocean Eyes.” It kind of just started getting traction. I would hit refresh, and it would have a bunch of new plays. We were like, “What the hell is going on?”
Discovering Billie Eilish
This led to them getting so much attention that record labels wanted to buy the rights to the song. Billie and Finneas didn’t realize how big of a deal this was for them. It started with the two of them getting excited about their song getting 1000 plays on SoundCloud. Finneas called her when she was at Starbucks to tell her about them reaching their goal.
Who can forget exactly what they were doing when they get big news like this? But it didn’t stop there. It ended up reaching 50,000 plays, and that’s when it was really discovered. It took a while for her to process it as this kind of thing doesn’t just happen to everyone, but this was a very exciting moment.
Billie and Finneas’s Relationship
She got it from her parents, and her brother did too. Eilish and Finneas have a very close bond, and he helps her write and produce music. He is also a musician, and you can find his work under the name FINNEAS. If you recognize him, then you probably saw him in Bad Teacher, Modern Family, or Glee.
She and her partner in crime didn’t do anything too big together before they were discovered, but they did do smaller shows just to get used to performing in front of people. They were close back then, and they are just as close now. They go to the studio together and still collaborate on songs. Billie told Howard Stern she doesn’t see them parting ways anytime soon.
Finneas Helps Make Her Music
Finneas is behind Billie’s music and the production of her songs. The two make a great team, and he was the producer for all 14 of the tracks on ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ In an interview with Atwood Magazine, Finneas said,
“Well for Billie, if I’m writing a song alone for Billie like “Ocean Eyes” or “Watch” or “Six Feet Under,” I want to write a song that I think she’ll relate to and enjoy singing and empathize with the lyrics and make her own. And if I’m writing a song with Billie, I’m just trying to help her tell whatever story she’s trying to tell, bounce ideas off of her, listen to her ideas.”
Billie’s Take on Their Collabs
Finneas O’Connell isn’t the only one who is enjoying their collaborations. Billie really loves how they have a great give-and-take relationship when they are working together and just in life. I guess being around someone you are homeschooled with creates a connection that is hard to be broken.
In an interview with Clash magazine, Billie said, “There’s so much time wasted working with people you don’t know, where if you don’t like something, you’re like: ‘You could, maybe, I don’t know, maybe try something where it’s a little different.’ Whereas, with Finneas, it’s just like, ‘No, that sucks, let’s move on.’ We just know each other so we can do that.” It sounds nice to have such a great bond with your brother.
Billie Eilish’s Breakthrough
I mentioned before that Eilish sent a recording of ‘Ocean Eyes’ to her dance teacher, who could compose choreography for her to the song. Before this song, she and Finneas put two different songs on SoundCloud, one that he wrote and one that she wrote. But this song was different. It became an overnight sensation after it was uploaded to SoundCloud.
This song helped her land a deal with Interscope Records and Darkroom. Interscope Records re-released ‘Ocean Eyes,’ and it ended up making it to the Billboard Hot 100 and ultimately went on to receive platinum certification. This means that the hit single sold at least two million copies. One of the crazier parts of this story is that it all happened when she was only fifteen years old.
Her Streetwear-Like Style
I love Billie Eilish’s style of baggy clothes and tracksuits. Not only do I love the style, but I love the thought process behind it. Of course, she described it as ‘pretty weird,’ but she wants to wear this style so that people can’t judge her for other reasons. During a campaign with Calvin Klein, she opened up a bit about the style choices she makes.
Eilish said, “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat a**,’ ‘she’s got a fat a**.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.” I love this as it is very logical and really works. All anyone talks about is her music.
Although this next one has been talked about a lot recently, and I’m guilty of bringing it up, there is no judgment here.
Billie Is Open About Having Tourette Syndrome
Billie Eilish opened up on an Instagram post in 2018, revealing her struggles with Tourette Syndrome. To understand the basics, it is a neurological disorder and is characterized by involuntary movements and vocalizations. These movements and vocalizations are called tics, and different people have different experiences. Of course, she was hesitant to open up about it at first, but a lot of her fans connect with her, and it helps them feel less alone.
When she appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show recently, she opened up, saying, “I think I also really learned that a lot of my fans have it, which made me feel kind of more at home with saying it, and also I felt like there was a connection there.” Both she and her fans who cope with their Tourette Syndrome daily felt more comfortable, and it was very big of her to reveal personal details about her life.
Her First Experience on The Road
Billie Eilish got to experience her first major tour at the age of 17. This was her second tour, but the first one wasn’t a major tour like this. It was called ‘Where’s My Mind,’ and she announced it in November 2017 by posting the dates in her Instagram account. She got to perform in London, Paris, Milan, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, The U.S., and even Canada.
This was only the start of being on the road for Eilish. She performed at Coachella and at UK’s Glastonbury Festival. This is the location where they shot A Star Is Born, so no pressure Billie Eilish, but that is one huge stage. I think she brings great energy, and soon people will be referring to her as iconic.
Share Your Gifts
Billie Eilish teamed with Apple for Christmas in 2018, and they released a unique animated commercial. It is called ‘Share Your Gifts,’ and it’s a beautiful story about a woman who is unwilling to share her artistic talents with everyone. She overcomes her fear and gets to see the joy that people get from her work. Eilish and her brother wrote the track for the three-minute video, and Finneas produced it.
The song is basically Eilish trying to convince her friend not to hide away, hence the title ‘Share Your Gifts.’ It’s also sung with a very light voice, and it has the feel of a lullaby. I didn’t hear this song before writing about it, and I’m still surprised that there are so many songs of hers that I love. I guess that’s how it feels when an artist is amazing, you don’t just want to listen to one song from an album.
Collab with Takashi Murakami
Billie Eilish and Takashi Murakami recently teamed up. For those of you who don’t know him, he is a controversial Japanese artist. He designed some limited-edition merch for Eilish and directed the music video for ‘you should see me in a crown.’ It’s an animated music video that took him eight whole months to make. You can see her in the usual neon green clothing before she is morphed into a monster that resembles a spider destroying a miniature city.
They worked together before this on her cover of Garage Magazine, which came out weird (in a good way) and beautiful. She wanted to work with him so much that she had her team trying to get in touch with him for the longest time. She was so busy that she didn’t notice he slipped into her DMs (Instagram messages) a while back. What a coincidence.
A Vegan Guest on Hot Ones
If you follow Billie Eilish on Instagram, I’m sure that you know this already, but she is a vegan. She uses her different social media platforms to advocate for veganism and moral eating choices. Even though she doesn’t eat meat, she got to appear on the YouTube show called ‘Hot Ones.’ Sean Evans hosts and does interviews with celebrities.
The catch is that they eat a hot wing for each question, and they get hotter as the questions get harder. Of course, they accommodated Eilish with plant-based nuggets, and she still got to experience the infamous “Last Dab” sauce. Vegans can get just as crazy as meat-eaters, so don’t mess with Billie Eilish.
‘Bad Guy’ Beat Out ‘Old Town Road’
You’ve probably heard the hit ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. That song topped the charts at number one for nineteen weeks in a row. As I said, don’t mess with Billie Eilish, as her song ‘Bad Guy’ took the song right out of the running.
It was at number 2 for nine weeks before it actually got to number 1, which was the longest a number 1 single sat in the second spot before moving up. This was back in August of 2019, and as of now, March 2020, it is still number 45. To top things off, she received two Grammy Awards for this song, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Don’t Ask Her to Smile
A lot of people noticed that she doesn’t smile in photos. This is on purpose, and she has a good reason behind it. During her advertising campaign for Calvin Klein, she spoke about her fashion choices, which I mentioned above. Still, she also brought up her chosen go-to facial expression in her photos. She never smiles in them.
She explained in the Calvin Klein campaign, “I hate smiling. It makes me feel weak and powerless and small…But you know how when you’re walking down the street, and somebody smiles at you? You’re forced to smile back, that’s the polite response. It’s like you have no control over it. If I don’t smile back, you’re gonna think I’m horrible.” She had one thing to say for fans who see her in the street, “If you don’t smile at me, we’re good. You can go on with your day.”
Her Stand on Recreational Drugs
Billie Eilish has established that she won’t walk in the same path as a lot of pop stars who struggle with substance abuse. She doesn’t do any drugs or smoke and even has a song referring to it called “Xanny.” She is part of Generation Z and makes sure to gear her music towards them. Her song is referring to the drug Xanax, which is usually used to treat anxiety.
Of course, it is regularly used recreationally, and she addresses it. Eilish’s stance on Xanax usage has been influenced by her losing a lot of friends to incorrectly using the drug. She understands how common recreational drugs are with her generation and explained it in an interview with The Guardian saying it’s not so much, “don’t do drugs; it’s more ‘be safe.’”
Like everything else, Eilish is very open with her battling depression. This is something that so many people go through and don’t talk about. Eilish wasn’t afraid to open up by getting involved in an Ad Council campaign, inspiring people to be open with their mental health issues.
This is the ‘Seize The Awkward’ campaign, which also has stories from other artists like Noah Cyrus on getting and giving support, Hayley Kiyoko on keeping in touch, and Lauv on asking for help. Eilish shares some wise words with everyone, saying, “It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help…It doesn’t make you weak to ask for a friend to go to a therapist.” She’s 100% right, and what an influential person to have speaking out for all of us.
When You Don’t Agree, Take A Stand
Georgia has some very strict restrictive abortion laws, which essentially ban having one after getting to six weeks of pregnancy. Billie Eilish doesn’t agree with this at all, and when she had to perform in Atlanta, she made sure to make her voice heard. Instead of boycotting the place which she could have easily done, she posted about her feelings on Instagram.
Eilish wrote, “ATLANTA. One of my favorite places in the world, to be in and play shows!! But I do not love the state’s lawmaker’s decision to take away women’s rights. I still cannot believe we are even having this conversation in 2019. I’m donating a portion of my guarantee tomorrow to @plannedparenthood. we need this organization more than ever.” She finished it off by telling everyone that every penny can help so you can even donate some spare change. I think that for someone so young, she really has a mature way of dealing with the way she expresses her feelings.
Her Famous Admirers
Over the last few years of her growing fame, Billie Eilish had a lot of praise from famous admirers like Sam Smith, Demi Lovato, Elton John, and Britney Spears. When she was in a meeting with Stella McCartney, she face-timed with Paul McCartney, and he told her how amazing he thinks she is. Another fun celebrity is Julia Roberts, who mentioned her in an interview saying, “Billie Eilish is everything.” Roberts made sure to share a photo of the two of them meeting on Instagram.
Sporty Spice came backstage during one of her shows in London to tell her how much she loves her work. This is a funny one because Eilish explains how she loved the movie Spice World while she was growing up. She actually thought it was a fictional movie. When she first saw the Spice Girls, she thought they were reenacting the movie. So that was a fun surprise to find out that they were real.
30 Under 30
In 2018, Eilish was chosen for the Forbes’ “30 Under 30” music list. Camila Cabello, Post Malone, and Savage were other artists who were chosen, and she was only 16 at the time. This is a pretty impressive achievement. Since this, she got to work with Khalid, who was on the “30 Under 30” list a while back.
Eilish was recognized as a groundbreaking young artist and is one of just a few teenagers to make the list. In her interview, she listed A$AP Rocky as her ideal mentor and spoke about how she knew she wanted to be in the music industry since she was a child. Fun fact: she was a horse camp counselor when she was just 11 years old.
Her Love of Sneakers
When Billie Eilish was younger, she went into a thrift store after learning what Jordan’s are through Riff Raff’s song, “Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwdinz.” She noticed a beat-up pair of red 4s that she had to have. Since then, you can see her with outgoing shoes. She likes to go for the things that are a little bit different than what people would go for.
She toured Stadium Goods in NYC with Joe La Puma, and they spoke about how much she loves shoes and shows us all of the different shoes that she wears. Eilish went from growing up not being able to afford these shoes and went on to working with these famous people. Obviously, she brought home $2388.72 worth of shoes (three pairs). That’s my kind of girl.
She Plays Instruments
With two musical parents, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell got to learn a lot about music. Not only were her parents smart enough to homeschool them, but they were taught how to play different instruments. Eilish wrote a song when she was four or five years old on the ukulele. That’s right; she can play the ukulele.
She can also play the piano and a bit of guitar. Finneas O’Connell, her brother, started playing the piano when he was 11 and got into guitar a year later. He describes how he first wanted to learn when he heard a pop song that he wanted to be able to play. His father taught it to him, and since pop songs are all very similar, once you learn one, you learn most of them.
Billie The Belieber
In a radio interview with KROQ, Billie Eilish was open about the crush she has had on Justin Bieber since the age of 12. She said, “That was like my first love. That was the person I was in love with, in my head he was in love with me, it was like a relationship with a person.” This goes to show she is a normal teenager, just like all of the other teenagers who are out there smitten with Bieber.
The two met for the first time at Coachella in 2019, and it was a very cute moment. She reacted like any other starstruck person meeting their favorite celebrity. Them meeting led to them creating a remix later on with her hit single ‘Bad Guy.’
She’s Got A Love for Scranton, PA
Through interviews and her music, Billie Eilish makes it known that she’s a fan of The Office. She had another starstruck moment when she was quizzed by Rainn Wilson, the actor who plays Dwight Schrute. I thought I was an office fan, but she knows her stuff. She was reading out quotes before Wilson could finish them.
She claims to have watched it a dozen times, and I believe it. Her song ‘My Strange Addiction’ and ‘Threat Level Midnight’ actually features certain lines from The Office. I wouldn’t go as far as calling her love for The Office strange, but it is definitely her addiction. I can see why she used parts of it in her music.
The Influence Behind Her Career
There are a few big artists who influenced Eilish to pursue singing. The hip hop genre is her biggest inspiration and her favorite genre out there. Eilish spoke about being influenced by Amy Winehouse, the Spice Girls, Tyler, Childish Gambino, and Avril Lavigne. One of her biggest influencers is Lana Del Rey.
She loves her unique vocal delivery from her song ‘Off to the Races’ and finds it very inspirational. She is compared a lot to artists like Del Rey, Ariana Grande, and Lorde, but Eilish has made it pretty clear that she doesn’t find it to be a compliment to them. She says that they worked hard to get their unique sounds and doesn’t take it away from them. These are all amazing female vocalists, and she is right. But she is just as good as they are in her own way.
At one of her shows recently, Billie Eilish wanted to make a point about body shaming and how it is just not okay. She opened the show with a video of her removing her sweater and then her t-shirt, performing a bit in her bra. But she removed her clothing to get rid of the assumptions that people were making.
Eilish spoke out during this show saying, “I have never ever looked at a girl who feels comfortable in her clothes, body, and skin and thought, ‘Ew, that’s gross, she is showing too much,’ or, ‘I wish people wouldn’t wear that.’ I have never in my life felt that way. I have always supported, and f****d with and just loved when a woman or a man or anyone in the world feels comfortable in their skin, their body, to show just whatever they want. I don’t like that there’s this weird new world of supporting me by shaming people that [may not] want to [dress like me].”
Billie Eilish’s Activism
Eilish has been very vocal about her thoughts towards many issues. The main one which I brought up before was the changing abortion laws around the US. She doesn’t believe that men should have any say in women’s choices, and she feels very strongly about that. We should have the choice to do whatever we want to with our bodies.
She also has been vocal regarding voting. She appeared in a campaign with the mayor of LA back in 2018 trying to get the younger generation to register and to come out and vote. In the Facebook ad, she said, “As young people, we have to own and use our power to make a difference. When we go into the voting booth, it’s about deciding who will lead America into the future.”
13 Reason Why
Two of Billie Eilish’s songs made it onto the 13 Reasons Why soundtracks for the first two seasons. Her first song ‘Bored’ was released before the show coming out, and they included it in the first season of the TV show. It’s basically about having a relationship with a disrespectful person who doesn’t care about other people’s feelings or needs (in other words, a narcissist). Very fitting.
The second song that was included in the second season’s soundtrack is ‘Lovely.’ This song was written by Khalid, Eilish, and her brother, specifically for season 2. The song is about trying to overcome a serious depression. The single was certified Platinum in the US and Canada and several other countries.
James Bond Soundtrack
Just like the man who praised her work, Paul McCartney, Eilish had the honors of producing a song for the upcoming James Bond film. She wrote it with her brother, of course, and it is also called ‘No Time to Die’ just like the new movie. The two recorded it in a bedroom studio like a lot of her other songs, so it just goes to show that you can accomplish anything if you just put your mind to it (and have the talent).
Eilish is actually the youngest artist to write and record a theme song for James Bond at the age of 18. This is only the second Bond theme ever written to hit the top of music charts, and the first one to top the UK charts by a female artist. Eilish’s career is full of so many firsts I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with.
Saturday Night Live Performance
Inspired by the 1951 musical ‘Royal Wedding’ with Fred Astaire, Eilish performed ‘Bad Guy’ with her walking on the walls and ceilings of Studio 8H. She choreographed this using a tissue box and her fingers, and it came out absolutely amazing. She actually performed this with two sprained ankles, and I have no idea how she did it.
You can see her performing and how intricate it was. It was a lot to pull off, and Eilish said, “The fact that they even trusted us to pull this off is pretty big because I don’t even know if I would have. It’s a huge deal, and I know they’ve never done anything like it, so I’m really, really grateful that they were open to it and understood and believed in us and believed in me.”
Billie Eilish is just adding another thing to the list of firsts that she has accomplished. She was nominated for six Grammy Awards in November 2019, including the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist. This makes her the youngest artist to be nominated for all four General Field categories. She was also crowned the 2019 Billboard Woman of the Year.
These are a lot of Grammy Awards nominations, and you wouldn’t think that someone would win all four, especially this young. But Eilish isn’t like others. She became the first woman and youngest person to win all four of the main Grammy categories in the same year! When you think that she can’t get any more impressive, she just one-ups it. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us.