Billie Eilish on pop stardom: ‘I realize now that it’s everything I ever wanted’

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I really have to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for reading Billie Eilish’s interviews. I find her to be A LOT, and I’m not saying that as an insult or as praise. She’s just… a lot. She seems like a normal teenager about some things, and a very strange girl about other things. She does have that intangible quality though – relatability, with a dash of strange, gothic glamour. If I was 14 years old, I would have been SO into Billie and everything she represents. Anyway, Billie covers the March issue of Vogue and this interview is (you guessed it) a lot. Thankfully, Vogue doesn’t exhaustively cover the same ground from other Billie interviews – her parents, her array of neuroses, her “unconventional” way of recording music in her brother’s room, sitting on his bed. You can read the full Vogue piece here. Some highlights:

The “anti-pop” branding: “This whole time I’ve been getting this one sentence, like, I’m a rule-breaker. Or I’m anti-pop, or whatever. I’m flattered that people think that, but it’s like, where, though? What rule did I break? The rule about making classic pop music and dressing like a girly girl? I never said I’m not going to do that. I just didn’t do it… Maybe people see me as a rule-breaker because they themselves feel like they have to follow rules, and here I am not doing it. That’s great, if I can make someone feel more free to do what they actually want to do instead of what they are expected to do. But for me, I never realized that I was expected to do anything. I guess that’s what is actually going on—that I never knew there was a thing I had to follow. Nobody told me that sh-t, so I did what I wanted.”

She was always musical but was never all about it: “You know how there’s always that singer kid who’s like, ‘I can sing!’ and then would sing in front of you? I remember hating that person. The kid who does it for the applause and thinks they’re amazing, and their mom is like, ‘Yeah, she’s gonna be da-da-da.’ I never put myself in that category, so for a long time I didn’t realize that I was a singer, too.”

On being home-schooled: “I’m so glad I didn’t go to school, because if I had, I would never have the life I have now. The only times I ever wished I could go were so I could f-ck around. At times I just wanted to have, like, a locker, and have a school dance that was at my own school, and get to not listen to the teacher and laugh in class. Those were the only things that were interesting to me. And once I realized that, I was like, Oh, I actually don’t want to do the school part of school at all.”

Why she dresses in such baggy clothes: “I just hated my body. I would have done anything to be in a different one. I really wanted to be a model, really bad, and I was chubby and short. I developed really early. I had boobs at nine. I got my period at 11. So my body was going faster than my brain. It’s funny, because when you’re a little kid, you don’t think of your body at all. And all of a sudden, you look down and you’re, like, whoa. What can I do to make this go away?” She engaged in some self-injurious behavior that she does not elaborate on. She thought of suicide. But by June of last year, after some changes in her life that she prefers to keep private, the fog began to lift. “When people ask me what I’d say to somebody looking for advice on mental health, the only thing I can say is patience. I had patience with myself. I didn’t take that last step. I waited. Things fade.”

Pop stardom & her Grammys sweep: “I realize now that it’s everything I ever wanted,” she says. And of her surprise Grammys sweep, she tells me, “That sh-t was f-cking crazy. If anything it’s an exciting thing for the kids who make music in their bedroom. We’re making progress, I think, in that place—kids who don’t have enough money to use studios.”

She’s mad that people side-eyed the fact that she & Drake text: “The internet is such a stupid-ass mess right now,” says Eilish, who quit Twitter in 2018. “Everybody’s so sensitive. A grown man can’t be a fan of an artist? There are so many people that the internet should be more worried about. Like, you’re really going to say that Drake is creepy because he’s a fan of mine, and then you’re going to go vote for Trump? What the f–k is that sh-t?”

[From Vogue]

I don’t know about the voting for Trump part, but yes, it’s creepy that she texts Drake. As a stand-alone thing between two musical stars, I might be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but honestly, when a grown-ass man has a pattern of texting underage girls, there’s a legit problem. What else? I actually enjoyed the interview but I’m starting to worry that Billie’s parents are going to have to move into a bigger house and Billie’s going to have a nervous breakdown when that happens. She also told a funny story about how, when she was a kid, she didn’t understand why so many pop stars had nervous breakdowns and now that she’s touring the world and getting billions of streams, she thinks “Oh, my God, of course they had to do that.”

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Covers courtesy of Vogue.

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53 Responses to “Billie Eilish on pop stardom: ‘I realize now that it’s everything I ever wanted’”

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  1. BaronSamedi says:

    After reading this I really like her. She seems nicely unpretentious about growing up. I mean yeah, it takes time to get over the hormonal roller-coaster that is puperty and I like that she’s not acting as if she has done anything monumental by just growing out of it and not trying to pass on any ‘wisdom’.

    Other stuff just sounds like normal teenaged stuff. I mean who really liked the school part of school…

    • Wifaaa says:

      The hardest part about that age, is that you just think “so this is what life is and what things feel like” and it’s only decades later you realize “oh that was A RIDE. DAMN.” and for many it’s something to survive.

      I can see how it would be easy to find the musings of a 17 test old to be a lot, but they’re in the middle of an emotional hurricane, and don’t have the perspective of someone who’s made it through. They also DO have major philosophical realizations sometimes, and when they are less evolved in other ways, it’s easy to write them off. It’s perfectly cliche to the idea that they aren’t taken seriously or validated, and I feel for that a bit. Can’t wait to see how she grows up.

  2. Allz says:

    I feel for her with her body comments. For some reason, I couldn’t stand my body my senior year of high school. I had gained weight and I had huge boobs and hips, so I would dress in my pajamas and huge sweatshirt or double the t shirt. Which looking back, showcased my weight gain. But I wanted to cover up, feel comfortable, and my skinny friends just didn’t understand what I was doing.

    Billie is the first pop star that has made me feel old, though I’m sure not the last. I do side eye her brother though.

    • bucketbot says:

      Her brother? Why though?

    • Wifaaa says:

      Why side eye finneas?? He seems like a cool creative guy?

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      What are you “side-eyeing” Finneas for? Care to elaborate?

    • SM says:

      Her brother is probably the reason why she can be as she wishes, if she would go out into the world looking for a producer she probably would have been forced to doll up and look more like regular pop star sexualized well before the it is appropriate. Having your brother as a producer has the enormous benefit here. And his music is way more nuanced, unlike hers, I quite like his own songs like “I lost a friend” and “Claudia”. Other than that she seems like a strong minded young girl with all the teenager stuff that comes with the young age. It is fine to like and enjoy her music but I wish people and media wouldn’t put all the pressure on her of being an authority or having to show maturity on this age. This is why we also need to refrain from judging or commenting on anything she says.

  3. Kimma1216 says:

    I really, really want to like her but all her music sounds the same to me. And, I can’t see her staying around long term? Is that just me?

    • Mish says:

      Yes. It’s just you. A world that keeps Taylor Swift in my face, and Jennifer Aniston in my face, can keep Billie Eilish around.

      That said, has anyone noticed she and Scarjo share the same face. I’m old enough to remember Scarjo at her age, when she was a normal kid – not the glamazon she is now.

      I don’t think Drake texting her is creepy. She’s an artist, people admire her artistry. She should receive all the accolades and admiration of her artistry that a young male artist would and not have people embarrass her by ‘sexualizing,’ her or the friendship. Then we wonder why the girl wears baggy clothes and does the androgyny thing and makes videos driving into the sea.

      I think she’s a really special talent and her music just transports me.

      The school thing was sad. I hate that some homeschooled kids don’t get to experience it, but then again, it can be hell. It’s a new day. It really makes me reevaluate school if it’s possible it would have snuffed out a talent like Billie’s. It probably would have. Billie might have been a vapid cheerleader, online bullied, too scared to try out for Chorus class.

      Homeschool FTW I guess, but I can’t stress this enough, *only* the Billie Eilish home school. Lol

    • A says:

      @Kimma1216

      Nope you’re not the only one. She’s the next Lorde imo. People will hype like crazy and then she’ll disappear from the mainstream scene.

      • kerwood says:

        @A, she IS the next Lorde! There was a time when you couldn’t turn around without bumping into Lorde’s pretentious bullshit. And everyone was going on about how ‘new and fresh’ Lorde was. If you’re old enough, you’ve seen scores of these girls come around. Pretty enough White girls who look ‘different’ and can carry a tune. That seems to be all these girls need to succeed. Maybe if she’s lucky, Prince Charles will need her to be an ambassador to Kazakhstan.

        It seems that Drake does a good job of grooming the young girls he ‘befriends’. They all say the exact same thing. It sad that these girls don’t have ANYBODY in their inner circle to protect them from that predator.

      • Case says:

        I think Lorde just put out new music two or three years ago and was still popular.

    • K-Peace says:

      No it’s not just you. I think her music is absolutely terrible. I don’t get why she’s popular AT ALL. She seems like some kind of music industry prop to me. I think she’s talentless. She just kind of whispers/mumbles in her songs instead of actually singing. Speaking of which, i heard a broadcast of one of her live concerts on SiriusXM and she CAN’T sing, like at all. She was way off key, and just skipped the tougher parts of songs and let the audience sing it. She was so bad, i was cringing and at times laughing. I feel like she’ll be a passing fad and in a few years, people will look back & chuckle that she was ever popular.
      This is all just my opinion; yes, i realize other people have different opinions and may think she’s great.

      • petee says:

        I am 56 and never heard of her until her and her brother where on Howard Stern.They did everything by themselves and came off really well.It’s not that easy having a voice that early in the morning let alone sing.She also seemed very likable and talked like most teenagers Boy’s,family,Insecurities and all.They came off as really talented.I liked them.I just hope this enormous fame doesn’t hurt her.She has been doing music since she was a child.Started having hit’s at 13 and now at 18 is a star.She also has Tourette’s Syndrome and had some stage fright with some bout’s of Anxiety and speak’s openly about them.I would take her over Taylor Swift any day.

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve just watched a few of her videos on youtube as all I’d actually heard form her was her song on the Bond trailer and it’s not really my thing. Could be nice as background music but I’m not a fan of the whisper/mumble approach. But everyone has different tastes!

    • Fallon says:

      No, not alone. Every song sounds the same. She’s the first artist who’s made me feel old because I just don’t get the whisper speaking.

  4. Babadook says:

    Now that I’m old enough to be older than the new crop of famous kids I find it super weird that as a society we idolise people who are so young. No shade on Billie, but when you read her interviews it’s obvious that she’s a teenager and everything that entails. I remember being younger than the cool celebrities and just drinking up the stuff they said in interviews, thinking they were so mature and wise. It’s really strange being on the other side of that and seeing how young they actually are/were.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Yup. Welcome to growing up. And btw, this happens at every phase. It’s super annoying lol.

    • Snowslow says:

      I’m with you. Also, I find her interview very alarming and I don’t get why people are not saying that. The feeling of self-hatred at such a young age, suicidal thoughts, breakdowns, leaving Twitter when you’re not even of age yet, praising home-schooling as if wanting to go to a school dance was not what school is also about… Alarm bells.
      Also, to me she’s the new Lorde. A cool kid with serious creative power whose creativity is going to be swallowed by The Pop Machine. She looks tamed on the cover of none other than Vogue.

    • ab says:

      I feel it too, I’m almost 40 so it’s been awhile that I’ve been older than the pop stars but now I have friends with kids Billie’s age so I really feel how young she is. I listen to her music and she just sounds like a kid, and it’s hard for me to get past that and just enjoy her stuff. I do love her aesthetic though, being from the age of Britney/Christina/Mandy/Jessica it’s nice to see a young female pop star who isn’t constantly dressed in her underwear.

      • Snowslow says:

        She literally says stuff in this interview that my 13 year old says. It’s crazy to give such a platform for someone whose brain is still being formed. I mean, 3 Love Island related people committed suicide in the UK and they were fully formed adults so I don’t know how a kid handles certain things that come her/his way if stuff goes wrong.
        Edit: just to say that I do find her intelligent, articulate and interesting. But she sounds like a child to me.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      The music industry in general is geared mainly towards teenagers. It’s been that way since the 50’s when teens started having more money and they realized just how much money they would spend on their idols. That’s why each generation tends to think the next generations music isn’t as good. The only reason that we think our own generations music is good is because it was marketed directly to us. Not to say people can’t like a different generations music and such, but I don’t think anyone over 20ish is idolizing Billie even if they like her music.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I agree, and I disagree. Every decade sees and markets to new sets of teens, yes. We grow up emotionally attached to “our” songs throughout the years. Yes. And many berate and discard new musical crops, yes. I, however, am part of those who appreciates and listens and falls in love with new music. In fact, I’m completely and thoroughly besotted with Aurora. And I think she’s far superior to Billie, and if I’m remembering correctly, she inspired Billie to do what she’s doing. I’m old lol.

    • Pixie says:

      @Babadook I couldn’t agree more. I am going into my late 20′s and I baffled by the celebrity culture surrounding literal teenagers. I don’t know how many kids read Vogue magazine and I can only assume Billie has a varied demographic and it confuses me a little. Her music isn’t bad at all, but I don’t understand the mainstream interest in the musings of a teenager. I am a little worried about her though, because we know how the music industry/mainstream media treats young women. From this post, it seems like she has struggled with her mental health, so I hope she gets the space/grace to grow up without too much scrutiny and pressure.

  5. Mama says:

    Billie brings a freshness to pop music. She doesn’t sound like anyone else and that’s great. Plus, her music is cool. Kudos to her. And her Bond theme is great.

  6. Lucy says:

    I honestly don’t know where people get the idea that she’s “so pretentious”. I mean, do they know her personally? Because they couldn’t possibly get it from her interviews. I really liked her first answer.

  7. Amy Too says:

    She’s almost like this generation’s much more talented Avril Lavigne. When she’s talking about how it’s strange that people consider her to be the anti-pop, a brand new kind of pop star that we’ve never seen before, it made me think of Avril Lavigne, and how Billie has a similar attitude and aesthetic. Billie is legitimately much more talented and I like her music much more than Avril, but she’s really not this strange completely new concept of teenage music star. How short are people’s memories to think that she is? It seems like Billie is also like “okay but why? How?” about being treated like a rule breaking anomaly.

    • Sof says:

      “The rule about making classic pop music and dressing like a girly girl? I never said I’m not going to do that”
      I remember that photoshoot in which Avril pretends to hit a Britney-lookalike with a skateboard, she was being marketed as the anti-popstar punk princess and she went along with it. I can’t imagine Billie doing something like that.
      As for their aesthetics…Avril did wear tanktops and even showed her a** crack at an awards show.
      The other female teenage musician I can think of having a dark aesthetic, but in a much more sexual way, is Taylor Momsen.

      • Lucy says:

        That photoshoot was a manip, and neither Avril or Britney went along with it. It was purely a media-fabricated feud.

    • Kelly says:

      Even though I don’t like Billie I hope her career doesn’t end like Avril’s. She has a Benjamin Button syndrome – her music keeps getting more juvenile and immature the older she gets. I never really cared for the “anti-Britney” part of Avril, I grew up listening to her as well as those other pop stars. What I liked about Avril is her songs had some meaning to them. Then “Girlfriend” came out, and I was like… 15? when that happened, and I already felt too old to like music like that.

  8. YaGotMe says:

    I feel old because I just don’t get it, I think her voice is interesting and she harmonizes well with her brother, but I rarely understand a damn word she is singing, I have to google the lyrics.

    Off to get another Werthers …

  9. StormsMama says:

    The thing about Drake strikes me as interesting bc
    Her response is exactly the response of a teenage girl who thinks she’s old enough etc
    I am NOT putting this on Billie at all
    BUT this is exactly what older guys do
    And when she is older she WILL realize that it is a bit creepy.
    Maybe isolated I’d say oh he’s just one artist reaching out to another
    But knowing his past, I’d say it’s suspicious and I would try to protect her from those kinds of men for sure
    This coming from a mom- who just finally decided to see what all the fuss is about and really likes a lot of her music if not allll of it (some of it is so sleepy!!)
    The song everything I wanted Is brilliant

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      I agree with this. She’s young and think texting with Drake is cool. I think when she grows up and looks back at it she will get why people find it creepy. And I think a lot of older people (my age and older) who dont “get” her music havent actually listened to a lot of it. I think a lot of people are basing their opinions in her single “Bad Guy”. Which is a single and singles are used to get airplay and sell albums. They are very rarely the entire story if an artist’s work. That song actually sticks out quite bit on the album because it doesn’t actually fit her overall music aesthetic.

    • Snowslow says:

      Agreed. Her music is really not that bad! But her responses are typical of those of any teen-ager who doesn’t know any better and truly believes an adult man is texting because he is ‘a fan’.

    • kerwood says:

      I do not understand why the people who claim to care about these young girls think it’s okay that a grown man seek them out and conducts a ‘special friendship’ with them. It sound like ‘grooming’ to me. And whenever the girls talk about Drake, they all sound the same, as if they’ve been programmed.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think so too, someday she’s going to look back and think, wait, that WAS sketchy. It’d be one thing if he reached out through her management and said “hey, I’m a fan, if you ever need advice, I’ve been there, feel free to contact me.’ and left it at that, but it definitely seems like he’s trying to cultivate a relationship beyond that.

      It should never be put on Billie, or Millie Bobbi Brown, to answer for his actions, and I hate that they are being asked about him, rather than people asking HIM to defend himself.

      I like her music quite a bit. I’m hope she remains happy with her career, and the industry doesn’t mess her up.

  10. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Well this 39 year old woman loves Billie. I think she’s insanely talented and a bit of fresh air within music. I find her interviews amusing. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age. Incredibly hyper-verbal and introspective.

  11. AnnaKist says:

    I just hope she’s got a good team around her that will support and look after her, and that she doesn’t go the way of so many other young performers who became the latest phenomenon.

  12. MellyMel says:

    I adore her and her music. Also those covers are really good! Crazy hair aside, she’s a gorgeous girl.

  13. Kelly says:

    I can’t stand her and idk which rock people have been living under saying she’s something “new”. Female indie singers have done her slow-whisper-singing thing for about a decade now. There’s even a video floating around somewhere making fun of this (the “avocadi” one). The only thing “new” about her is none of those indie singers really hit it as big as her. And yes I’ve listened to her stuff besides “Bad Guy”.

    As for the Drake stuff, she’ll notice how creepy it was later on. When I was 16, if a guy in his early 20′s started flirting with me I felt honored. Most guys my age were really immature so I found guys within that age group to be hot. I guess it’s something similar with Drake – she’s kinda starstruck an older guy with a huge career took an interest to her. Later on she’ll grow up and look at kids that age and realise how creepy it really was.

  14. A says:

    Drake also texts Millie Bobby Brown, right? I can’t believe people have audacity to say there’s nothing creepy about a grown up guy texting these young girls. Billie and Millie need to stay away from him.

  15. J ferber says:

    I really, really like I’m the Bad Guy, but I’m underwhelmed by her James bond song. I don’t think she was a good fit for it, though it was an out of the box decision. I do think the five Grammys were too much for her. I’m all for young people speaking their minds and we need more input from the young. The average age of a House of Representatives member is 57 and that of a U.S. Senator is 61. Those are historically high ages for our government and we have to be more open to the voices of young people, whether in music or politics.

  16. CK says:

    At this point I think we need to ask ourselves, “Which underage female celebrity is Drake not texting?”

  17. Texas says:

    I’m old – so I don’t know her music well, but her interview is very mature for someone her age. She sounds like a nice kid.

  18. Lboogi says:

    I’d just like to point out that she is not the first “pop” singer to not wear “girly” clothing… I mean there was TLC and Pink when she first came out just to name 2, but there are more. As a youtube music reviewer said… she dresses like Big Pun in 1994

  19. mash says:

    industry plant

  20. clomo says:

    That has helped her success a lot, she is very beautiful. It’s so nice she isn’t dressing like a Vegas show girl. Strange to think she and Kylie J grew up in L.A. and both became super successful really young and for such different reasons and paths.