From chart success to sold-out shows, Billie Eilish is a force to be reckoned with.
Billie Eilish‘s ascent to the upper echelons of music is a fairy tale story–a bizarre but appropriate sentiment for pop’s anti-princess.
At only 17 years old, Eilish’s presence, demeanor and lyrical content speak to someone three times her age. She’s wise beyond her years, and her music speaks to her old soul: blending ’90s grunge abrasive guitars, ’80s synth and bass blips, ’50s jazz vocal stylings and way more, she’s become a chameleon capable of navigating all of her influences with ease. It’s not a formula that would have many crystal balls predicting chart success, but it’s worked for Eilish because she has no comparable contemporaries. She hasn’t played by the rules, and now, she’s in a position where she gets to rewrite them.
Eilish has had 24 songs certified either Gold, Platinum, 2x Platinum, or 3x Platinum by Music Canada. Her first EP, dont smile at me has been certified Gold while her debut full-length When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was certified Platinum less than a month after release. In the span of two years, she’s gone from touring small clubs to selling out stadiums and ampitheatres.
At last night’s sold-out Toronto concert at the Budweiser Stage, it was hard to find a person in the audience not singing every word. A sea of phones recorded every moment, and Billie’s signature shade of neon green was so omnipresent (from bucket hats to oversized sweaters) that it made it hard to differentiate security personnel from diehard fans. She hasn’t reached legal drinking age, yet she’s already serving as a saviour for fans who empathize with her transparency and struggles.
Eilish has been very forthcoming with details of her personal life, including her Tourette Syndrome diagnosis, dealing with auditory processing disorder alongside depression and night terrors. It’s not only a way to connect with fans facing the same insecurities, but often guides her musical direction too. She attributes the thematic structure of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? to sleep paralysis, with every track embodying some form of the frightening condition.
“I go through a lot of depression, I have for most of my life, and I know so many people have the same issues as I do and most people don’t have a way of expressing that. They keep it inside them and are hurt by themselves, and I want to have music that people can listen to. If I write a song that you feel like you relate to, and when you hear it you go “that’s my song” – it’s yours!”Billie Eilish, 2017 interview with Earmilk
Fans were surprised when Billie signed on to a Calvin Klein ad campaign earlier this year. For an artist usually found in baggy sweats and oversized tracksuits, she’s always embodied the opposite of the hedonistic portrayals found on most billboards and TV commercials. But Eilish wasn’t stripping down; rather, she was baring her soul.
For somebody selling out large venues before their debut album was released, it’s refreshing to see there is no machine behind Billie Eilish. She wrote, produced and recorded When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? with her brother Finneas, including portions completed in her childhood bedroom. She could be your neighbour, your classmate, your cousin–her grassroots approach to creating music is completely in line with her mantra of staying true to herself.
“I never want the world to know everything about me,” she reveals in the commercial, wearing her signature attire. “I mean, that’s why I wear big, baggy clothes. Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘Oh, she’s slim-thick, she’s not slim-thick, she’s got a flat ass, she’s got a fat ass. No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
And that’s where Billie’s success lies: every song feels like a key to the next chapter of her diary. She’s ascended to superstar heights while maintaining her humble beginnings. She’s not trying to be perfect–rather, she’s sharing all of her imperfections in hopes that fans can embrace theirs, too. Plus, she’s damn good at crafting a catchy tune–every track serves as the perfect singalong to belt your heart out alongside thousands of strangers.
She’s already proven herself to be a risk-taker this early in her career, and undoubtedly has many more tricks up her sleeve. This is only the beginning as Billie Eilish continues to conquer Canada and the rest of the world.