No, I'm not trying to be edgy or want to be treated like I'm special when I say that I love and connect with Billie Eilish's music. Her songs and me go way back, actually. The year was 2017. I think it was March or April and I was on a hunt for new songs to listen to. Regardless, it was before most of you could say "Bad Guy". Back then, Billie Eilish Baird O'Connell was just an ordinary, platinum-blonde, blue-eyed, 15-year-old girl with an extraordinary voice. She was beginning to make a name for herself but her fanbase was a tiny dot compared to the astronomical following she has today. She wasn't mainstream; she was recording songs from her tiny bedroom; she was known for her puffy clothes and she was performing in small cafe-like spaces instead of the arenas she fills today. Soon enough, in a matter of months, she went from being the girl with a viral song on SoundCloud to topping charts on Apple Music and Spotify. I know it sounds stupid but watching her grow as an artist and a human makes me feel like I'm a part of that success maybe because of how long I've been rooting for her. She may not be my favourite singer (just because I don't have one) but she'll always have a special place in my heart. Just thinking about her struggles, how far she's come along and the obstacles she has overcome fills me warmth.
Okay, now that I'm done gushing over her, I think it's time for you to get know about her life a little more than you do right now.
Billie Eilish was born exactly 19 years ago today (18th of December). Now, contrary to what you may have believed, Eilish was not born into wealth and privilege. It's the complete opposite. She's had it tough since day one. She is a native of Highland Park, Los Angeles. Prepare to be shocked again: every region in LA isn't as sparkly and Hollywood as you'd imagine. Her neighbourhood wasn't as safe as it is now and she self-described it as being "really sketchy." She had a very modest upbringing and she isn't ashamed of it. Billie Eilish was brought up in a 1,200 square feet, two-bedroom house in the neighbourhood with her brother, mother and father. They're a very close-knit family. They all slept in the same bed until her brother, Finneas Baird O'Connell, turned 10. After that, her parents let her and her brother have their own rooms whilst they slept on the couch. Her home was also her school. This relaxed form of education enabled Billie to explore her interest in music. Billie taught herself how to play the piano and the ukulele with some help from her dad. Additionally, if that isn't impressive enough, she was a part of a choir when she was just eight years old.
Apart from being a multi-talented singer and performer, Billie Eilish is also a total style icon. Whether you hate her sense of fashion or adore it, you can't deny she has been a major trendsetter and her style is very distinct from every other female celebrity. It's no secret that Billie has an affinity for baggy clothes. She adores hip-hop culture and it isn't uncommon for female rappers to adorn themselves with oversized high-end clothes and jewellery. But there is a deeper reason for this liking. Billie, like most other teens her age, has always been very self-conscious about her appearance. Imagine this: you're insecure so you don't want strangers to know what your body looks like but you've pushed into world-wide fame. What would you do? Exactly. Billie resorted to bold, vivid, loose-fitting clothes that gave her a well-deserved peace of mind. Plus, baggy or not, her outfits never fail to make her stand out and prove how unpredictable she can be (in a good way). People expect her to be over the top in her art so why should her fashion be any different?
If you've heard a few of her songs, you'd assume she has depression. And you wouldn't be wrong. Her launch into stardom left her feeling lonely and isolated despite how many people she was surrounded and loved by. It got so bad to the point that she attempted suicide and self-harm. She herself didn't believe that she would make it to 17. I know this topic can trigger a lot of people with similar experiences so I won't go further into it. But trouble doesn't last forever. Cliché, I know, but still true. She finally seemed help and is fortunately doing much better than her previous years. However, despite her being extremely articulate about her mental health struggles, we unfortunately still live in a world where people think depression and anxiety have an age limit. Snubbing anyone's trauma and issues, regardless of their status, fame and age, is beyond appalling. Almost all of us have a couple of hundred followers on social media. Some have a few thousand. But, safe to say, most of us will never have 64 million eyes watching our every move so how can we claim her experience is a lie if we have never gone through it first-hand?
Moving on to a brighter topic, let's talk about her music. Her music has always been there for me. This year alone, she was my top streamed artist. Again, not because I want to be emo but due to the simple fact that she and her brother make really good music. The haunting guitar from "i love you". The upbeat energy of "Therefore I Am." The everything from "wish you were gay". Don't even get me started. I listened to her songs and album for a total of 18 hours in 2020! Insane. My music taste evolved a lot this year; current me is disgusted by who I was in May of this year. Artists stayed and left but Billie Eilish has been my only constant when it comes to music. The first half of 2020 was mostly just me listening "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" A timeless album and the Grammys agree. To be honest, I was a little shocked to see Lana Del Rey and Travis Scott's work get snubbed but on the other hand, it was astounding to see Billie making history. Given all she's been through, I believe she deserved it. She walked out of almost every award show with multiple trophies! Good for her.
I could go on and on and on. By now, I hope you realise that I really can. But I don't want to extend this article too much so this is it. At 19 years old, she's accomplished more than what many of us ever will. From a bedroom producer to the youngest James Bond theme singer, I've seen her be it all. From blonde to green highlights, I've seen her do it all to her hair. There is still so much to expect from this young powerhouse and I'm sure she won't fail to deliver.
Even though there is no way in hell she's reading this, a very happy birthday to Billie Eilish. You inspire me.