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Who is Billie Eilish?

March 28, 2019

The first time I heard about Billie Eilish… It was when she released her first song Ocean Eyes in 2016. Everyone was listening to that song, talking about it, people were humming it in the street. Those people didn’t know who Billie Eilish was at the time, and I have to admit that I didn’t either. Then bellyache was released in 2017 and same pattern, everyone knew the song but they didn’t know the artist. They didn’t know a 15-year-old girl was the one singing those songs, writing them with her brother in his bedroom. And then again in 2018 she released lovely featuring Khalid for the official soundtrack of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why but that time people knew she was Billie Eilish. So I searched her name up on YouTube, I listened to her songs, and I fell in love with her voice, the melodies and the lyrics of her songs. The feelings she talks about in those songs are so deep, so pure, so real, it’s hard not to recognize ourselves in her songs. She talks about loneliness, about heartbreaks, breakdown, everything we are so scared to talk about. I joined her fandom, and I am really not regretting it. She has that incredibly melodious voice, the one that can make you cry for no reason. Let me tell you more about this new artist who is eating our wallets a little bit more each day.

Born in December 18th, 2001, Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, best known by the name of Billie Eilish, just turned 17 and she is already a worldwide phenomenon. As a member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, she wrote her first song (about falling into a black hole) when she was four. But the first song she wrote with her brother, Finneas O’Connell (who is a musician, a producer, a singer, and a song writer), is bellyache in which she sings from the point of view of a conflicted psychopath. They recorded a lot of songs in his “very small bedroom”.

She says in an interview she started writing music because she had a lot on her mind. She wanted to say it somehow but she didn’t really know how to and she didn’t know who to say it to. She thinks you can tell those things you don’t dare to with music. You don’t have to talk about your feelings explicitly, you just talk about them the way you want. As she was homeschooled, she had a lot of time to sing and to write about whatever she wanted. She is from a family of actors and musicians, so it was obviously easier to start in the music industry. Her parents let her life be driven by her passion.

People really first heard about her when she released her first single Ocean Eyes (a ballad which compared falling in love to falling to a cliff under “napalm skies”with her brother Finneas, to whom she is really close. She wrote it at first for her dance teacher who once asked her to submit a song for class. She said about Ocean Eyes writing process: “My brother had written Ocean Eyes and we recorded it, basing all of the production around contemporary and lyrical dance. I think of most songs that way – if you can’t dance to a song, it’s not a song.” Once the song finished, she posted it on Soundcloud so her teacher could hear it, but she never knew she would wake up the next day with lots of emails about her potential music career. Ocean Eyes has been played more then nine million times. “It was really confusing. I didn’t understand what was going on,” she once said. “I literally thought it was like my popular friend had reposted it. Wow, it’s getting so many listens!” She was only 13 when it started. She says: “I’d go into meetings and they’d say, ‘So Billie, what do you think?’ and I’d just be like, ‘Am I supposed to know? Because I don’t.’ But eventually I got the hang of it. And now the meetings I have are a bit more like, ‘OK, Billie, what exactly do you want?’ and then I explain every single detail of every single thing that I’m thinking, and people do it! It’s insane. You have stuff floating around in your mind and you tell somebody and they go, ‘Oh yeah, we can make that happen.’ It’s like, ‘What? Why?’ “. She then signed with Interscope Records (a record label which also signed with famous artists such as Imagine Dragons, Avicii, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Blackbear, Selena Gomez, Madonna, Maroon 5, U2…) and started releasing tracks after tracks. One of the most famous ones is bellyache.

Singing has never been a question or a thought, “it was already there” as she says. She has always been singing so when people asked her: “oh, you like to sing?” she didn’t know there were people who didn’t like to sing. “She always had this amazingly beautiful voice,” her mom says. She has also been dancing for a very long time and whenever she is mad or whatever, dance is a way to express it – like music – and to let her feelings out. It is something which helps her with depression or similar subjects as she explained it in an interview. It is a way to express everything at once and not think about it. But she got injured and that completely took her out of dance, it really affected her.

As she is growing up, Billie Eilish is finding what defines her. She loves to wear oversized T-shirts and chains. She changes hair color a lot: she is blond, she turned grey, then she had purple strands on her white hair, then an electric blue, then a pastel green and just a few days ago she changed it to dark. She mostly keeps her eyes half closed half opened when she poses, and by the way she looks, people may think this girl is bored and tired of everything – which can be a bit confusing – when actually she isn’t. This is just the way she decided people would see her: through her songs and through her look.

She released a new single on January 31th 2019 called bury a friend and released the music video the same day. The music video is directed by Michael Claves who directed the movie Conjuring 3, which is planned for 2020. So obviously, you can guess the atmosphere of the music video is really stressful and scary. As soon as the video starts, we can feel the cold atmosphere: it happens at night, it is dark, someone is sleeping in his bed and suddenly wakes up and sits. He lies on his bed again and whispers “Billie”: the song starts. Then, we see Billie lying under his bed, her eyes are completely black. Billie is dressed in white, she wears chains, her hair is green. During the whole music video it is always dark with some glimpse of light. It is really scary. She definitely sends us horror vibes with the song and mostly with the music video. We quickly get the Conjuring vibes as a lot a scenes are in a corridor and it is really dark. The light goes on and off, we can see her walking straight and the next shot shows her feet going the other way, and she seems a bit crazy. I think the moments in the corridor really reflect the idea of what Conjuring looks like: either she stands doing nothing, her head down, or she walks in a weird way. I’m not going to tell you everything about it so here’s the link of the music video if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUHC9tYz8ik

In only one week, she got more than 32 million views and 2.3 million likes. Now if you listen carefully, the song’s chorus ends with this lyric “When we all fall asleep, where do we go?” which is the name of her next album, planned for March 29th 2019. She released on December 2018 a song called come out and play which is a bit more colorful than the songs she usually writes, just on time for Christmas.

Here’s what she says about lyrics: “Lyrics are so important but they’re really underrated. So many lyrics right now are just the same thing: ‘Oh, I love you but I’m sad because you don’t love me and… blah’. You can say that in a more interesting way. Me and my brother write a lot of fiction. Like in bellyache, obviously I don’t kill people. But you can put yourself in a character or a situation you would not normally be in. You don’t have to be in love to write a love song. You don’t have to kill somebody to write a song about killing somebody. It’s like jumping into another world. […] But it’s just fun to get to tell a story [in a song]. If you just write about things you’ve been through, you might get to a point where you go, ‘I don’t feel like this any more, so it’s not worth pursuing’. No, no. It’s especially worth it. […] Some people don’t really realize what I’m saying until they’ve listened to it a couple of times. My friends would be like, ‘Dude I was listening to bellyache the other day, actually listening to it, and what the hell were you writing about?’ […] A lot of people think you have to go through something to write about it and that’s so not true. You can literally write about anything.” She wants people to recognize themselves in the songs she sings and writes. She says if you recognize yourself in one of her songs then you can consider this song is about you and she wrote it for you only and that’s it. Whenever she feels bad or great or angry about someone or something, she takes her phone and records her reaction before even knowing how she really feels. “You can write anything and you can say the truth and you can not tell anybody that it’s the truth, you can just write it and it’ll be yours and nobody can see it.”

She loves to write with her brother: “We’ve had sessions with artists and writers and producers and not that those sessions were bad, but when we write, just us together, it’s so much more raw, I guess. And straight from the heart.” The songs her brother writes for her have to fit with her personality; he once said he doesn’t want the songs to look like someone who isn’t Billie. Even if she is young, her life experience is limited but he thinks she can still write about it because there are so many sort of emotions that everyone feels no matter how young or how old you are, life experience is not a problem.

She is considered as the pop equivalent of a Tarantino movie because of her lyrics.

Performing is the best part to her, to perform in front of people who support her and how she feels and what she thinks. She once said: “I don’t need many people to care. Even if other people don’t like it, I like it.” She always performs with her brother. He is in the back of the stage, at the piano or the guitar and he sings the choir of her songs.

“Why do people love her so much?”, “What do people love about her songs?”, “Why do her songs attract people so much?” you may ask now.

Someone once wrote in the comments section of one of her videos on YouTube: “She is so broken and beautiful and strong at the same time. I love her,” and I guess this is why so many people like this girl and her songs. She talks about feelings, deep feelings, the ones we don’t dare to talk about because it’s hurting us too much so we try to hide them deep down inside ourselves. And our generation loves to talk about the kind of topics Billie Eilish talks about: depression, emotional breakdown, broken hearts, loneliness. Because I guess we all experience those subjects in different ways and it feels comforting to know we are not alone and other people experience those feelings too, even if they don’t experience it the same way.

Billie Eilish is the new trend and you should listen to her: I bet you’re going to love her.

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