Who is Billie Eilish 101: Everything You Wanted to Know

By Matteo Drelli. Updated Sep 4, 2023

Billie Eilish in a photoshoot

Billie Eilish, born on December 18, 2001, emerged as a remarkable American singer and songwriter. Her journey started in 2015 with the enchanting debut single "Ocean Eyes". A special mention goes to her brother, Finneas O'Connell, who not only produced the song but also crafts masterpieces with her for various live shows. 2017 marked the release of her initial extended play (EP), "Don't Smile at Me", that charmed charts worldwide including in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

In 2019, the world witnessed the release of her first full-fledged album titled "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?". It clinched the top spots in the US and UK album charts, becoming one of the best-selling albums that year. Boosted by the hit single "Bad Guy", she created history as the first 21st-century-born artist to have a top chart single.

In 2020, she added another feather to her cap, performing the acclaimed James Bond theme song "No Time to Die", that garnered an Academy Award in 2022. Her later works including "Everything I Wanted", "My Future", and others continued to enjoy monumental success. The year 2021 saw her second album, "Happier Than Ever", reigning charts in multiple countries, followed by another hit single in 2023 from Barbie.

The list of accolades Eilish has amassed is staggering. She is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards including seven Grammys, two American Music Awards, and a Golden Globe to name a few. Eilish made history at the Grammys by sweeping all four main categories in the same year, a feat never accomplished by someone so young.

Not stopping there, she became the youngest to seize an Academy Award. Eilish graced Time magazine's lists in 2019 and 2021, affirming her position as a revolutionary artist of her time. As per various reputed sources, she stands as a leading figure in the digital singles domain, with a recognition as one of the best artists of the 2010s.

Aside from her musical journey, Eilish is also known for her vigorous political activism. She fervently champions issues such as climate change, body positivity, and gender equality, showcasing her commitment to fostering a better world for all.

Billie Eilish's Early Life

Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell embraced the world on December 18, 2001, in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, California. She is the cherished daughter of Maggie Baird, a notable actress and teacher, and Patrick O'Connell, a seasoned actor. Not just parents, they are integral members of her touring team, showcasing their musical flair.

Billie carries Irish and Scottish roots in her heritage. Interestingly, her middle name, Eilish, was initially slated to be her first name with Pirate as her middle name. The vibrant neighborhood of Highland Park in Los Angeles was her playground growing up.

Billie and her supportive brother Finneas were nurtured under the homeschooling guidance of their mother, Maggie. This educational choice fostered a nurturing environment, allowing them to delve deep into their interests and refine their artistic talents. Their upbringing was sprinkled with the joy of art, dancing, and acting, kindling a passion for creativity from an early age.

Billie's musical voyage started quite early. At the young age of six, she was strumming tunes on the ukulele, and by eight, she had joined the prestigious Los Angeles Children's Chorus. Her first venture into songwriting happened at eleven, crafting a song themed around a zombie apocalypse, a creation inspired by "The Walking Dead" series.

Aside from music, Billie dabbled in acting, participating in auditions, and lending her voice for background dialogues in movies, including "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and the "X-Men" series. Dancing was also a significant part of her life until 2016 when an injury altered her path. This setback didn't dampen her spirit; instead, she channeled her energy towards creating captivating music, which we all admire today.

Billie Eilish's Career Journey

2015–2017: The Birth of "Don't Smile at Me"

At the tender age of 13 in 2015, Billie initiated her musical collaboration with her brother Finneas, an experienced songwriter and producer. They joyously created and shared their first songs "She's Broken" and "Fingers Crossed" on SoundCloud, igniting the spark of Billie's upcoming musical journey.

A significant milestone came on November 18, 2015, when Billie unveiled the single "Ocean Eyes". Originally crafted by Finneas for his band, the Slightlys, he soon realized Billie's voice would bring a fresh allure to the track. This hunch proved right as the song exploded on SoundCloud, attracting numerous listeners and catching the attention of industry experts who saw immense potential in the sibling duo.

Billie's star began to rise sharply in 2016, securing a beneficial agreement with Apple Music's A&R company Platoon. This collaboration enhanced her public image, connecting her with the high-end fashion brand Chanel and aiding in molding her unique style. The momentum continued with the release of a visually entrancing music video for "Ocean Eyes", drawing praise and promotions from established media outlets and personalities.

Further establishing her presence in the music sphere, Billie and Finneas released "Six Feet Under", another soul-stirring single, accompanied by a heartfelt homemade video directed by Billie and edited by their mother, Maggie. This blossoming artist caught the eye of Justin Lubliner who signed her to Darkroom and Interscope Records, fostering her growth through a well-strategized and authentic rollout plan.

2017 witnessed a flurry of activities with Billie releasing EPs featuring remarkable remixes of "Ocean Eyes" and "Six Feet Under". Her musical portfolio expanded with singles like "Bellyache" and "Bored", the latter becoming part of the soundtrack for the popular Netflix series "13 Reasons Why".

Eilish's magnetic performance at the South by Southwest music festival, and the release of her debut EP, "Don't Smile at Me", were standout moments of the year. This EP went on to become a sleeper hit, ranking high on the US Billboard 200 and catapulting her into a successful tour.

Billie's partnership with Spotify played a pivotal role in expanding her commercial success, defining her unique sound that resonated well with a global audience. As her stardom soared, Apple Music honored her as their 'Up Next' artist, further spotlighting her talents through a documentary and live session EP.

Closing the year on a high note, she collaborated with rapper Vince Staples for the "&Burn" remix, a refreshed version of her single "Watch", leaving a lasting imprint in the music industry with her unique and fresh sound.

The Meteoric Rise: 2018-2020

In early 2018, Billie Eilish stepped into the limelight with increased fervor. She toured extensively, delighting fans in various cities with her "Where's My Mind Tour." During this period, she re-released the haunting track "Bitches Broken Hearts" and collaborated with Khalid on the single "Lovely."

She also marked her growth and evolving artistry with various singles, some of which found their way into notable soundtracks and advertising campaigns. Her engaging persona caught the attention of Vanity Fair, resulting in a remarkable feature that showcased her soaring popularity over a year. As 2018 progressed, she gained recognition, landing a spot on Forbes' coveted "30 Under 30" list and signing lucrative endorsement contracts.

In 2019, Eilish unveiled her much-anticipated debut album, "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" The project garnered massive attention, with Spotify amplifying its release through innovative campaigns. Billie's unique sound and persona resonated well, catapulting her to chart-topping success in both the UK and US. Notably, her single "Bad Guy" became a sensation, reaching number one in the US and receiving a remix treatment from Justin Bieber.

Embarking on the "When We All Fall Asleep Tour," Billie continued to connect with her fans globally. Unfortunately, her subsequent "Where Do We Go? World Tour" faced a premature end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, she continued to engage her audience through various initiatives, including an Apple Music collaboration where fans could remix one of her songs.

Towards the end of 2019, Eilish released more music and received numerous Grammy nominations, a testament to her influential presence in the music industry. She became the youngest artist to clinch nominations in the top four categories, setting a remarkable precedent.

In 2020, Eilish kicked off the year with monumental achievements, including becoming the youngest artist to perform a James Bond theme song. This period also saw her sweeping the major categories at the Grammy Awards, an extraordinary feat for the young artist. Throughout the year, Billie remained active, participating in awareness-raising concerts during the pandemic and releasing new music, including the poignant single "My Future."

As the year progressed, she also explored other ventures, launching a ukulele collection with Fender. Towards the end of 2020, Eilish announced a livestream concert and hinted at exciting new music projects in a Vanity Fair interview. The year closed with Eilish bagging several Billboard Music Awards, showcasing that her meteoric rise was far from over.

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Billie Eilish broke numerous records with her debut album, becoming both the first artist born in the 2000s to have a number-one album in the US and the youngest female to achieve this feat in the UK. Her single "Bad Guy" also disrupted charts, ending Lil Nas X's long reign at number one. These achievements underscore Eilish's enormous impact in the music industry in such a short time.

Blossoming Talent: From 2021 to Today

In January 2021, the captivating single "Lo Vas a Olvidar" graced the HBO's Euphoria soundtrack. This collaboration with Rosalía was a delight to fans who had been waiting almost two years since the initial tease. Following this, the enlightening documentary "Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry" surfaced, taking viewers on an intimate journey through Eilish's rise to stardom. This piece, available on Apple TV+ and in select theaters, received a wave of admiration for its raw and genuine representation.

During the star-studded 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, Eilish was honored with two prestigious accolades. In a humble gesture, she acknowledged fellow artist Megan Thee Stallion during her acceptance speech, reflecting her gracious nature. Eilish also expressed heartfelt thanks to her loyal supporters and her talented brother Finneas.

Fast forward to April 27, 2021, Eilish stirred excitement among her Instagram followers by announcing her second album, "Happier Than Ever". Fans eagerly awaited the July 30 release, with a tracklist accessible on Apple Music. This masterpiece featured striking singles and unique collectable editions, creating a buzz in the music scene. Furthermore, a creative collaboration with Disney+ ensued, bringing forth the concert film "Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles". This artistic venture amplified the album's promotion, leading to a world tour that wrapped up in April 2023.

In the meantime, Eilish and Finneas brainstormed fresh concepts for her third studio album, eyeing a 2023 launch. Eilish continued to shatter records by becoming the youngest headliner at renowned festivals Glastonbury and Coachella in 2022. Her remarkable achievements were crowned with an Academy Award, marking her as the first individual born in the 21st century to receive this honor. Furthermore, she contributed mesmerizing tracks to the Pixar film "Turning Red", showcasing her versatile talents.

During a live performance in Manchester, Eilish unveiled the powerful ballad "TV", addressing significant societal concerns. This bold move was followed by the surprise release of the EP "Guitar Songs" in July, offering fans a raw and current musical experience. Eilish embraced a more spontaneous approach to releasing music, aligning with the authenticity that marked her early career.

Continuing her thriving journey, Eilish partnered with Apple Music to share a cinematic representation of one of her "Happier Than Ever" tour concerts. This initiative allowed fans worldwide to witness her compelling live performances, enhancing her reputation as a brilliant live artist. Towards the end of 2022, fans were treated to additional shows in California, encapsulating the phenomenal tour experience.

In a groundbreaking move, Eilish ventured into the acting realm with a role in Amazon Prime Video's "Swarm". Here, she portrayed Eva, a character leading a cult, displaying her acting prowess and garnering praise for her debut performance. This addition to her repertoire affirmed Eilish's versatility and blossoming talent in the entertainment industry.

Billie Eilish's Artistry

Vocal Range and Musical Genres

Billie Eilish's music resonates with a diverse audience thanks to her distinctive soprano vocal range. Noted for its ethereal and whispery quality, it beautifully showcases her ability to switch between husky, slurred tones to more reedy ones. Critics praise her for defying pop music boundaries, blending elements of dark pop, electropop, and experimental pop, to create a rich and captivating sound. Her musical journey has been marked by a delightful blend of playful teen-goth angst themes and electrifying pop hits, cementing her as a versatile artist in the modern music landscape.

The songwriting process is a collaborative effort between Eilish and her brother, Finneas. Together, they craft songs that either dive deep into their personal experiences or venture into fictional narratives. This dynamic duo strives to create lyrics that are both profound yet accessible, encouraging listeners to delve deeper into the layers of their music. When penning songs for Eilish, Finneas focuses on empathizing with her perspective, fostering a symbiotic relationship that beautifully translates into their compositions.

Since a young age, Eilish harbored a passion for directing her music videos. She realized this dream in 2019, stepping into the director's role for the "Xanny" music video. This marked the beginning of her journey in blending visual artistry with musical storytelling, promising a rich and immersive experience for her fans.

Inspirational Figures

Billie Eilish has been heavily influenced by a rich tapestry of artists and genres throughout her life. Growing up, she tuned into the timeless chords of the Beatles, the modern beats of Justin Bieber, and the powerful rock tunes of Green Day and Linkin Park. These early exposures to diverse music styles were pivotal in shaping her as an artist.

Her love for music took a significant turn when she came across Aurora's "Runaway" on YouTube. The connection she felt with the song ignited a flame in her, inspiring her to carve her path in the music industry. Hip hop stands as her favorite genre, offering a colossal source of inspiration for her music creations.

Eilish's artistic journey has been significantly impacted by various industry legends, including Matty Healy of The 1975. His performance, which was one of the first she attended, reshaped her approach to music creation. The list of her influencers is vast, spanning artists like Tyler, the Creator, Childish Gambino, and the iconic Avril Lavigne. These artists, along with others like Adele and Taylor Swift, have shaped her music and style, encouraging her to develop a rich and diverse sound.

Fashion, too, plays a significant role in her career. Influenced by Rihanna's approach to fashion as a "defense mechanism", Eilish has embraced style as an essential part of her brand. Furthermore, artists like Damon Albarn have shifted her perspective on art and music creation, encouraging her to explore new realms of creativity.

While comparisons with artists like Lana Del Rey and Lorde have been made, Eilish aspires to carve out her unique niche in the music industry, a place marked by her distinctive brand and sound. The positive impact of Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" album on her mirrors her own journey, reminding her of the joy and fulfillment that comes from making music.

Billie Eilish's Recognition and Image

Billie Eilish is not only a household name but a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, boasting an impressive collection of awards and recognitions. Among her accolades are seven prestigious Grammy Awards, a testament to her powerful impact on the music world. She has also earned recognition with two American Music Awards and a trio of MTV Video Music Awards, showcasing her widespread appeal and influence.

2019 was a defining year for Eilish as she was featured on the esteemed "Time 100 Next" list, spotlighting her as a leading figure in the next wave of influential people. Her talent and innovation were further recognized when she made history at the Grammy Awards, clinching titles in the four main categories, a feat previously unmatched by any female artist.

Further adding to her stellar portfolio was the honor of being the first individual born in the 21st century to secure an Academy Award. This monumental achievement came in 2022 when her song "No Time to Die" for the James Bond movie won the award for Best Original Song, emphasizing her dynamic range and prowess as a songwriter.

As we stepped into 2023, her success story continued with Rolling Stone recognizing her prowess as a vocalist, placing her in the elite list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time. This remarkable journey of a young artist reflects not only her talent but her unwavering dedication and unique approach to music, making her a true icon of her time.

Fashion Statement

Billie Eilish, a name synonymous with innovation, has always had a distinctive approach to fashion. Opting for bold, oversized clothing, she confidently steps out of the comfort zone, catching everyone's eye with her unique style. Eilish emphasizes being different, striving to make a memorable impression wherever she goes. She has expressed her desire to be versatile, not wanting to be pigeonholed into a single image or stereotype.

In an effort to retain her personal space and prevent body judgment, Eilish revealed in a 2019 Calvin Klein advertisement that her choice of baggy clothing serves as a shield against the public's scrutiny. Further delving into this topic, she premiered a short film titled "Not My Responsibility" in 2020, where she candidly discussed her experiences with body shaming. This raw and powerful piece later found a permanent place on her YouTube channel, where it continues to inspire viewers to embrace themselves.

Stepping into 2021, Eilish showcased a different facet of her fashion persona. She graced the cover of British Vogue's June issue, embracing a glamorous look centered around corsets, photographed by Craig McDean. This transformation was a testament to her dynamic and versatile sense of style.

Her fashion journey reached a significant milestone at the 2021 Met Gala, where she turned heads with an exquisite Oscar de la Renta gown. This appearance was not just a style statement but also bore a strong message, as Eilish persuaded the fashion giant to abandon the use of real fur, marking a significant win for animal rights. This attire, inspired by the original Barbie doll, also echoed the elegance of Golden Age star Marilyn Monroe, showcasing a beautiful amalgamation of the past and the present.

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The stunning dress she wore at the Met Gala not only reflected a piece of Hollywood's golden history but also carried forward a legacy of advocacy for ethical fashion choices, showcasing Eilish's commitment to making a difference through her public appearances.

Brand Collaborations

In recent years, Billie Eilish has expanded her creative influence beyond music to forge impactful partnerships in the fashion and technology industries. One of her noteworthy collaborations was with Takashi Murakami in April 2019, from which a line of clothing and a special edition vinyl figure emerged, both bearing the distinct artistry seen in the "You Should See Me in a Crown" music video, a product of their combined efforts.

Eilish further teamed up with Adobe Creative Cloud in a campaign that encouraged the creativity of her fans, fostering community engagement and showcasing art from various individuals through the "#BILLIExADOBE" contest.

Eilish continued to establish her presence in the fashion world with a series of high-profile endorsements. She became the face of the Calvin Klein #MyCalvins campaign and MCM Worldwide's fall 2019 collection. Her commitment to mental health awareness shone through when she joined the Ad Council's "Seize the Awkward" initiative, a critical movement aiming to destigmatize mental health discussions.

Apart from fashion, Eilish also explored the tech space with a notable collaboration with Apple in August 2019. This venture allowed Apple Store visitors to engage with her song "You Should See Me in a Crown" in a more interactive and immersive way during Music Lab sessions. Despite facing a brief setback due to an unintentional plagiarism issue involving a clothing line collaboration, Eilish remained steadfast and committed to her brand.

Emphasizing her dedication to ethical products, November 2021 saw the launch of "Eilish", her perfume line that stands as a vegan and cruelty-free option in the fragrance market, reinforcing her stance on sustainable and responsible choices in the beauty industry.

Voice for Change

Billie Eilish is not just a musical sensation; she is also a passionate advocate for several pressing issues in society. Well-known for her proactive stance on environmental issues, Eilish engages in various initiatives to amplify awareness about climate change and its adverse effects.

She spearheaded the “Overheated” seminar in London, fostering discussions on sustainable fashion and youth activism. Her artistic venture "All the Good Girls Go to Hell" serves as a powerful statement against climate change ignorance, utilizing striking imagery to convey a crucial message about the planet's health.

Being raised vegetarian, Eilish consistently voices her support for veganism and animal rights through her platforms. She takes firm stands against industries that exploit animals, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to ethical practices.

Aside from environmental advocacy, Eilish is a strong proponent of women's rights, using her influence to champion body positivity and speak against the sexual exploitation of young women. In this regard, she has produced influential works such as the short film "Not My Responsibility" and the poignant song "Your Power". Eilish doesn't shy away from expressing her concerns regarding women's rights in the US, especially on matters like the recent stringent abortion laws, where she boldly utilizes her platform to denounce decisions she perceives as regressive.

Moreover, Eilish actively participates in the political landscape, encouraging the youth to exercise their right to vote and openly supporting candidates who align with her views, evident in her endorsement of Joe Biden in the 2020 US presidential election.

Through her consistent efforts, Billie Eilish establishes herself as a dedicated activist, using her global influence to foster change and encourage critical conversations in society.

Billie Eilish's Personal Life

Billie Eilish, a superstar who captivates millions with her music, maintains a close connection with her family and her roots. Even after moving out of her parents' house in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2019, she frequently visits her childhood bedroom, cherishing the warmth and comfort of her family ties.

Apart from her glowing career, Eilish navigates personal complexities with grace and resilience. Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at a tender age of 11, she has also experienced the vibrant connections of synesthesia, a condition where one sense is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses. Eilish has been open about her battle with depression, sharing her journey in a bid to help others who might be facing similar challenges.

In her life's journey, Eilish faced the grim reality of sexual abuse during her childhood. While she hasn't delved into the specifics, her bravery in addressing such a personal and traumatic event is admirable, offering support and solidarity to others who have experienced similar ordeals.

On the relationship front, Eilish had a relationship with rapper Brandon Adams, popularly known as 7:AMP, and was also linked with singer Jesse Rutherford in a relationship that spanned from October 2022 to May 2023.

Eilish's personal life, marked by its ups and downs, paints a portrait of a young woman who is not only immensely talented but also remarkably resilient, navigating life with grace and poise.

Debunked Myths of Billie Eilish

"Billie Eilish is Industry-Planted"Contrary to this belief, Eilish started her music career organically, blossoming from the uploads of her songs on SoundCloud. Her journey to fame has been the result of her genuine talent and unique style.
"She Only Wears Baggy Clothes"While Billie is often seen wearing baggy clothes to retain her privacy and defy body-shaming, she has embraced a variety of fashion styles and isn't confined to one type of attire.
"Billie Eilish Hates Being Compared to Other Artists"While it's true that she doesn't appreciate comparisons that undermine other artists' efforts, it is not a wholesale rejection of comparison. She respects and appreciates the artistry of many in the industry.
"Billie Avoids Political Topics"Eilish is indeed vocal about many political issues, including climate change and women's rights, often using her platform to advocate for change and spread awareness.
"Her Music is Only for the Young Generation"Billie's music has universal appeal. Her introspective lyrics and innovative music style resonate with people of all ages, transcending generational barriers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Billie Eilish

Why does everyone love Billie Eilish?

Billie Eilish, a name synonymous with raw talent and authenticity, has captured the hearts of many around the world. Here's a glimpse into why she is so universally loved:

  • Unique Sound: Billie's music brings a fresh and innovative sound to the industry. Her songs, often a blend of indie, electropop, and alternative, offer something different from the mainstream, drawing a diverse audience.
  • Authenticity: Billie is known for her authentic self, never putting on a facade for the public eye. Her honest interviews and heartfelt song lyrics have cultivated a genuine connection with her fans.
  • Fashion Sense: Her bold and distinct fashion style is more than just a statement; it's a rebellion against the norm, encouraging others to embrace their individuality.
  • Activism: Billie uses her platform responsibly, raising her voice for various social issues, including environmental causes and women's rights. Her activism shows a mature, aware, and concerned citizen, shaping opinions and stirring actions globally.
  • Creative Collaborations: Her artistic collaborations with her brother, Finneas, and other industry talents have resulted in magical music compositions, showcasing her versatility and openness to experiment.
  • Relatable Lyrics: Her lyrics often touch upon themes of heartbreak, mental health, and the pressures of fame, resonating with people who find comfort and understanding in her words.

How old was Billie Eilish when she released bad guy?

Billie Eilish was just 17 years old when she released the smash hit "bad guy." This track, which is a part of her debut album "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?", helped solidify her status as a global pop phenomenon, showcasing her unique style and musical prowess at a remarkably young age.

Which song made Billie Eilish famous?

Billie Eilish skyrocketed to fame with her debut single "Ocean Eyes." Initially uploaded on SoundCloud in 2015, the song quickly garnered a massive online following, setting the stage for her prolific music career. Its ethereal melody and poignant lyrics captured the hearts of listeners worldwide, marking her arrival as a refreshing and powerful new voice in the music industry.

Billie Eilish Quotes

Here are some of Billie Eilish's most famous quotes.

I've always done whatever I want and always been exactly who I am.

When I do have free time, I spend it with friends, or I spend it at home writing or making something.

In real life, I'm a really smiley person. I smile when I talk and I laugh.

To see more Billie Eilish quotes, we recommend visiting the Billie Eilish Quote section in Quotes Analysis.

We hope we have been helpful to you in this "Who is Billie Eilish" article, and we hope you have a better understanding of who Billie Eilish is!