Everything You Need To Know About Gen Z Icon Billie Eilish
She's one of the most streamed artists in the world and she's only 17. But who exactly is teen sensation Billie Eilish?
You'd be forgiven for not knowing who singer Billie Eilish is (real name Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell), but for her legions of young fans, it was simply a matter of time before the talented teen was finally noticed by the rest of the world.
While it may seem that she's appeared out of nowhere after dropping her 14-track debut studio album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? last week, Eilish has long been laying down the groundwork for what is set to be an explosive career.
Impressively, she managed to hit over a billion streams and 15 million Instagram followers before her album officially dropped, and already has notable fans in the form of Lana Del Rey and Dave Grohl, who compared her to Nirvana during their rise to fame.
The singer first gained attention when she recorded a song that her brother, Finneas O’Connell, wrote called "ocean eyes", and after uploading the track to SoundCloud in 2016 -- which was only meant to be heard by her dance teacher -- the song quickly went viral.
Soon enough, Billie was signed by Darkroom and Interscope Records and released "ocean eyes" as her debut single in November that year, which soon saw her develop a massive fanbase among the teen demographic.
It's interesting to note that a major part of Billie's appeal to her dedicated Gen Z fans comes from her relatability and deviation from your usual unattainable, cookie-cutter pop stars.
If anything, she serves as an embodiment of her own generation, with her haunting tunes conveying a blend of apathy and melancholy that doesn't completely commit to any one genre, but has been described as 'misery-pop' with shades of Lana Del Rey and Lorde circa 2013.
She rocks a distinctive yet unassuming style, featuring an eclectic wardrobe which mixes designer labels and baggy thrift shop items, complete with pastel blue hair that's often thrown haphazardly into a loose bun. She's rarely seen smiling and speaks in a monotonous tone that jarringly contrasts with her angelic singing voice. Recently, she even spoke out about having Tourette syndrome after people made video compilations of her rolling her eyes, which is how the condition presents for her -- and yet, it's these quirks that have fans wildly obsessed with the star (or would that be anti-star?).
Then, there's her music. Her brooding tracks cover everything from heartache, to loneliness, dreams, anxiety and depression -- along with fictional situations written from alternate perspectives -- but they all aim to connect with her listeners, reassuring them that they're not alone in what they're feeling; and when you're a teenager, that reassurance can mean everything.
“Finneas and I like writing from other people’s perspectives. Half the songs are fictional and half are things I was going through, and no one will ever know which is which… Kids use my songs as a hug," she told Rolling Stone.
"Songs about being depressed or suicidal or completely just against yourself -- some adults think that’s bad, but I feel that seeing that someone else feels just as horrible as you do is a comfort. It’s a good feeling… It’s someone to scream with.”
In a world where every Facetuned Kardashian clone is trying to become the next influencer, the most refreshing facet of Billie Eilish is her outright rejection of wanting to be 'famous' for the sake of being famous (she once described her success as “overwhelming and miserable”) as well as her dedicated passion for her fanbase.
“When artists take their fans for granted it’s like, ‘What are you? They are the reason you’re a person,’" she told Harper's Bazaar.
"I love my fans so much, I try to devote all my attention to them, whether it’s on social media or when I see them in person. I spend as much time with them as I can and make connections with them ’cause they’re people.”
Billie Eilish will return to Australia for a third time next month for a sold-out run of headline dates and the national Groovin The Moo tour.
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is out now, and features hit tracks "bury a friend", "you should see me in a crown", "when the party’s over", "wish you were gay" and more.