At the age of 13 she released her first single; her debut album and first number 1 hit followed at the age of seventeen. It was raining Grammy nominations and now she is also the youngest artist ever to get a soundtrack song for a James Bond movie. What makes eighteen-year-old Billie Eilish such a phenomenon?
Eilish started her career by saying something with her brother Finneas O'Connell in his studio in their parental home. Eilish's dance teacher asked her if she or her brother could write a song for a new dance routine. She recorded Ocean Eyes and shared it on the internet for her teacher. Soon it was discovered by music blogs.
About four years later, Eilish has become one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but she still makes her music faithful in the home studio with her brother. For example, they made the number 1 hit Bad Guy , which has been listened to more than a billion times on Spotify. Her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? became one of the best-selling and best-listened records of the year and won her six nominations at the Grammy Awards.
205Billie Eilish - Bad Guy
"Billie Eilish is like the alto girl in your class"
The Dutch singer and YouTuber Blanks, who also makes his own songs in a home studio, think that the key to Eilish's success is her authentic authenticity.
"Because she still makes all her music - just like at the start of her career - together with her brother, she knows how to keep it personal. They do exactly what they find fat," he says. Music journalist Jasper van Vugt agrees. "She has developed her own style together with Finneas."
Van Vugt explains that by opposing what is expected from pop stars, Eilish is recognizable to the younger generation. "She goes against perfectionism. Pop stars often look like perfect photo models; they seem to float instead of walking on the street. Billie does not dress like a superstar, but like the alto girl from your class. She would be your girl next door can be."
Van Vugt praises that Eilish does not always seem to take himself seriously either. "She has humor and does things with a wink. She is honest about her imperfections. She is a very different picture than Beyoncé or Ariana Grande for example."
Billie Eilish together with her brother Finneas O'Connell and colleague Lana Del Rey. (Photo: BrunoPress)
"Radical break with past of the Bond soundtrack"
Van Vugt calls the choice of Eilish as the artist for the Bond soundtrack a "radical break" with the past. "You notice that the Bond franchise is trying to innovate on different fronts and to keep up with the times. The choice for Billie Eilish fits in perfectly with that."
He expects that this will result in a break with the traditional sound of the Bond soundtrack. "I think they are trying to break free from those pompous instrumentations, such as with Shirley Bassey. The song has to connect with a younger audience and in that sense James Bond needs Billie Eilish more than the other way around."
"Billie Eilish and Bond seems like a perfect match. She knows like no other how to create a certain tension, that gut feeling, in her music. ”Blanks, musician and YouTuber
Blanks mentions that the tension in Eilish's music could fit well with a Bond film. "To me it seems like a perfect match. Billie knows like no other how to create a certain tension, that gut feeling, in her music. I think it will be a classic James Bond soundtrack that doesn't sound the way you expect it."
Van Vugt says he has "no illusion" that Eilish will get rid of it without much criticism. "She is already regularly under fire, because the older generations do not understand what she makes. But that was also the case with gangster rap in the nineties, or punk, and before that The Beatles. Parents were disgraceful and that made it more appealing to the youth. The inevitable criticism that Eilish's song will not be traditional will only work well for the film's publicity. "
"We are not rid of Billie and Finneas yet"
Van Vugt makes short work of the idea that Eilish would be a hype that will soon blow over. "The fact that she is only eighteen does not mean she is a hype. Michael Jackson and Beyoncé also broke through at a young age."
He sees a bright future for the O'Connell family. "No artist stays at the top from the age of eighteen until his death, and that's okay, but if Billie and Finneas continue like this, we won't be rid of them for the time being. And I'm just happy with that."
200Billie Eilish - lovely (with Khalid)