By age 18 Billie Eilish is a five-time Grammy winner who performs worldwide at sold-out shows. The young pop star has been reinventing the genre with her macabre haunting sound. Since stepping onto the scene in 2016, Eilish‘s years of tireless work have led to great success, but her journey hasn’t been easy.
Younger of two siblings, Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the daughter of songwriter Maggie Baird and actor Patrick Baird, Billie was born on December 18th, 2001. Billie was exposed to music from a young age; her mother worked as a singer-songwriter, and her father played piano in the Ukulele.
Billie grew up in LA in a small two-bedroom home. Being homeschooled Billie and her brother Finneas were taught to pursue their passions which Billie had many of. Her father gave her piano lessons. She sang in the Los Angeles choir, wrote songs, and was a competitive dancer. Her father introduced her to a variety of musicians from the Beatles, MCR, and Avril Lavigne to Lana Del Rey.
Having a limited income, her parents taught Billie the value of hard work from a young age. Billie even worked at a stable to pay for riding lessons. As a young girl, Billie’s older brother Finneas was even in the band The Slightlys as a teen. When he wrote Ocean Eyes for his band-mates, Finneas thought it would sound better if performed by a female voice and asked Billie to perform the song, which rocketed her to stardom.
Ocean Eyes was released in 2016 and by 2017 Eilish had 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, that same year the star released her first EP; Don’t Smile At Me, which was well-received by fans. The album rose to number 14 on the Billboard charts a year after its release and reached the number one spot on the Billboard US top alternative albums chart.
Eilish’s 2019 debut album; When we fall asleep where do we go, was an instant hit with a sold-out world tour and five Grammy wins; including album of the year, and song of the year for Bad Guy, needless to say, the album has been Eilish’s most successful one yet. Since then, Eilish has released a song for the latest James Bond installment, and her latest single Therefore I Am has garnered 62 million views on Youtube two weeks after its release in November 2020.
Through the heavy themes of her music, Eilish has become a star advocate for mental health initiatives that resonate deeply with fans. Billie has always used her music as a way to reach out to other struggling teens and is happy that the message resonates with them.
Billie herself has struggled with depression since childhood and doesn’t shy away from such a difficult topic as she told Apple music during an interview “depression has controlled, sort of like, everything in my life my whole life. I’ve kind of always been a melancholy person” Discussing the issue with Rolling Stone magazine she said: “kids use my songs as a hug”. As a teen Billie struggled with her self-image now Eilish is glad her experiences can help others and says that her inspiration is her fans which she considers more like family. “people meet me, and then they’ll tell me things that are like Billie you got me through this, and they’ll explain what happened and how I helped and literally I just got shivers thinking about it” she told Bazaar.
Young girls especially resonate with Eilish’s dark persona. Eilish’s moody songs about body image and her rejection of niceties are especially powerful messages for young women. Billie’s first EP Don’t Smile At Me is meant to be literal, and teens love it. As the singer told Bazaar “I hate smiling, it makes me feel weak and powerless and small. I’ve always been like that, I don’t smile in any pictures” For teen girls that have lived through similar experiences as Eilish, her music hits all the right chords.
What’s a day in the life of Billie Eilish like since achieving global fame? Billie has mentioned many times that she doesn’t like to have a lot of time off. As she told Vanityfair in her second same interview in 2018 “I kinda don’t really like having a day-off. I get out of the groove”
Eilish has also struggled with her mental health and prefers to have less time off to avoid mental rumination.
As a vegan, Eilish stays healthy by maintaining a high-fiber diet. Among her favorite foods are avocados, salads, homemade vegan desserts, and iron supplements.
Eilish tries to spend less time on social media too. Usually, the star loves responding to fans but internet bullies had made her want to log off forever. Eilish decided not to delete her social media in order to stay in touch with fans, telling the BBC “I’ve stopped reading comments fully. It was ruining my life. It’s weird the cooler the things you get to do the more people hate you” Reportedly, Eilish also calls her mom four times a day, takes a bath to relax, and always has a small dance party pre-performance. In rare moments of spare time, Eilish does what most teenagers do, see their friends. “When I do have free time, I spend it with friends, or I spend it at home writing or making something. I’ve always liked being busy” The star told Vogue in 2016.
After releasing two new singles; My Future and Therefore I Am, fans are anxious for the singer to drop her next album. Billie has been tight-lipped about her work, but she did give us a hint when she hit the red carpet of iHeart Radio‘s alter-ego concert this past January. When asked about her next album Eilish replied: “this year, no, but I will be making it this year. But next few years? It’s coming. When it’s made. It’s not made yet” Her older brother and producer Finneas confirmed the news, telling the Herald Sun “they didn’t want the next album to be a bummer COVID record” Working from home hasn’t stopped the duo, and Finneas has assured fans the album is full steam ahead.
With the album’s release on pause, fans can at least look forward to a Billie Eilish documentary slated for a theater premiere in February 2021. The world’s a little blurry is an original documentary by Apple Plus, which will also be available on the streaming platform. The film is being produced by director R.J Cutler in collaboration with Eilish‘s record label Interscope and will give fans an intimate look at Eilish‘s life. The film follows Eilish‘s journey in releasing her debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go.
The production team has been collecting footage of Eilish since the album’s release which includes access to Billie’s private life; delving into scenes with her family and behind-the-scenes material from her public appearances. Reportedly, the documentary is something that terrifies Eilish: “I’ve seen no part of it” she told Billboard “I’m terrified, I’m freaked out, they’ve been filming since like July of 2018 … who has that much footage of them that they’ve never seen?”
The documentary is a huge step-up from Eilish‘s last video project. For her, Where do we go world tour, Eilish wrote and produced a short film to address her body-shaming critics. The short film, Not My Responsibility, features Eilish alone in a dark room filled with water. Where she addresses her audience, and the questions they have about Eilish’s appearance, “Although you’ve never seen my body, you’re still judging” As Eilish sinks into the dark waters, she concludes her statement by saying: “Is my value-based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?” Eilish’s dipping her toe into film was met with huge praise from her fans. The piece also held a special significance for Eilish.
After body-shamers reacted to a rare sighting of Billie without her signature baggy clothing, and photos of the star in a tank top last summer trended on Twitter, the star used not my responsibility as a way to take back her autonomy. In the past, Eilish has said she wears baggy clothes to avoid unwanted attention towards her physique. In her 2019 hashtag my kelvins ad, Eilish addressed the issue using the hashtag I speak the truth in my kelvins the star admitted in her commercial that she wears baggy clothes intentionally “that’s why I wear baggy clothes” she explained “nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. No one can say any of that because they don’t know” Eilish didn’t choose to be photographed by paparazzi as she left her tour bus in a tank top amidst the brutal summer heat.
Billie’s upcoming documentary isn’t the only thing that she’s terrified of; as she explained to Vanityfair in October, Billie feels that she’s currently been having an identity crisis. She cites a radio interview a few months ago as a frightening experience of dissociation, and possibly the start of Eilish’s identity crisis. In her 2019 same interview with Vanityfair, when Eilish was asked about the biggest thing she struggles with, the pop star admitted that she struggles with turning off her performer persona, one that’s focused on answering questions more than listening. The star mentioned that when she talks with friends she has to turn off her interview persona saying: “I’ll catch myself in a conversation with someone acting like I’m being interviewed” This may have been a sign of the star struggling with her self-identity.
“I think it was December,” Eilish said “I think it was a radio show performance, and the entire show I felt like I was pretending to be Billie Eilish. I wasn’t looking at myself as myself” Eilish also mentioned that she has a recurring sense of being out of the body during interviews and award shows, times when she’s expected to keep her media persona intact.
Eilish is also a star on the climate change platform. Eilish has gone vegan to reduce her own carbon footprint, something greatly affected by the consumption of meat and dairy which uses a huge amount of global farmland and produces significant greenhouse gasses. Eilish’s world tour is also centered around environmental initiatives. Her Where do we go tour has partnered with Reverb, a company involved in research on going green, and will host an eco-village at every venue for fans to learn about going green.
She has also partnered with the Global Citizen movement to give fans an opportunity to earn free tickets by engaging in climate activism. As a rising climate change activist, Eilish says she has Greta Thunberg to thank. Last year the star told NME that she considers Thunberg, who’s only a year younger than Eilish, an incredible role model. Both Eilish and Thunberg participated in a climate change march in downtown LA last year with more than one thousand other youth.
Eilish also wants to make her tour as green as possible. Last September Eilish released a video starring herself and actor Woody Harrelson to advocate for personal changes that can make a positive impact on the climate. The video ‘Our house is on fire’ talked about how to reduce your own impact on the climate. The pair also encouraged viewers to collaborate to make changes on a national scale; advising viewers to get involved in moments like Greenpeace and Fridays for the future. In addition to her video, Eilish released a statement with her 2019 song ‘all the good girls go to hell’ calling awareness to the UN‘s climate action summit. Since Oceanized, Billie Eilish‘s career trajectory has rocketed skyward. The star has a new album, a documentary, and a world tour to look forward to. So there’s no doubt her hard work is paying off.
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