Billie Eilish on music genres: ‘If I wasn’t white I would probably be in ‘rap’’

J K Rowling at arrivals for 51st Annual...

You know what I’m over? Epic, twenty-page profiles of Billie Eilish specifically. I like Billie, I think she’s “grown up” a lot just in the past year, and I enjoy that she talks in a real way about body image and teen depression and feeling like an outcast. But for the love of God, the girl is a normal 18 years old! No magazine needs to devote *this much* space to her rambling teenage thoughts, especially when she says mostly the same thing in interview after interview. Maybe it’s a temporary thing – I think Billie and her team just said “yes” to too many interview requests after she swept the Grammys, which led to at least five major magazine cover profiles which are nearly identical in content. So it is with this stupidly long interview in British GQ. Billie speaks about being home-schooled (shocking), body image, music genres and more. Some highlights:

On Tyler the Creator arguing that there’s racism in how music genres are categorized: “I have always hated categories. I hate when people say, ‘Oh, you look like “blank”. You sound like “blank”.’ It was such a cool thing Tyler said. I agree with him about that term. Don’t judge an artist off the way someone looks or the way someone dresses. Wasn’t Lizzo in the Best R&B category that night? I mean, she’s more pop than I am. Look, if I wasn’t white I would probably be in ‘rap’. Why? They just judge from what you look like and what they know. I think that is weird. The world wants to put you into a box; I’ve had it my whole career. Just because I am a white teenage female I am pop. Where am I pop? What part of my music sounds like pop?

Whether she’s experimented: “I’ve had alcohol, sure, but it’s not good. It’s never been interesting to me. When I was younger, people would try to pressure me into doing stuff, but it would make me want to do it less. I saw people get drunk and they just disappeared in front of me, becoming something else. I went through a week of thinking smoking would be cool, but then… no. Also, my lungs are beautiful. F–king beautiful, dog.”

On fame & social media now: “I don’t watch people’s [Instagram] Stories, I quit Twitter a couple of years ago, I look at the occasional meme and I feel bad that I don’t post more, as the fans want it, but I have nothing to post. Honestly. Zip. The thing I realised recently is this: when you get to a certain level of fame or notoriety, it doesn’t matter what you say or do, you are a certain level of known. You will be super hated. And super loved. There are a million people who don’t like Beyoncé – and I don’t know how the hell you can’t love Beyoncé. Same with Rihanna. Same with Trump – people actually like that fool! How can you like this man? But everyone is hated and everyone is loved.”

Whether she’s more accepting of her body now: “I don’t know about that. I definitely didn’t want it to come off as, ‘Oh, now I am 18 now I like my body.’ I still have huge issues with my own body… Here’s a bomb for you: I have never felt desired. My past boyfriends never made me feel desired. None of them. And it’s a big thing in my life that I feel I have never been physically desired by somebody. So I dress the way I dress as I don’t like to think of you guys – I mean anyone, everyone – judging it, or the size of it. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t wake up one day and decide to wear a tank top, which I have done before.” And when she does do that how does it make her feel? “Well, I do that and suddenly my boobs are trending on Twitter. Which is fine – that sh-t looks good.

[From British GQ]

She IS pop. But Tyler the Creator is pop too. She’s not rap. But yeah, those music genres/categories are racist, end of. And I’m glad that she talks about not liking drugs and alcohol and such – she seems like a prime candidate for someone who would self-medicate that way, and I feel like that would be part of her growing up and learning process too. Still, I’m glad that she’s not doing that sh-t right now. As for not feeling desired… I get that. I didn’t really feel like I was at her age as well? It’s because guys that age are idiots.

J K Rowling at arrivals for 51st Annual...

Covers courtesy of British GQ.

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10 Responses to “Billie Eilish on music genres: ‘If I wasn’t white I would probably be in ‘rap’’”

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  1. LoonaticCap says:

    I honestly have no idea what her body looks like. I know very little about her but I always assumed she was just anothet skinny pop star with “eclectic style”. But it doesn’t matter.
    I deeply relate to what she said about not feeling desired – neither did I at her age, especially because i had never dated. But then it happened. And then it didn’t anymore and I still live here at this desire-less point of my life at 34 and in isolation. So i hope she grows out of it and that someone comes to show her she is desired. It is important. It changed me for the better at the time. Wish her the best

  2. Chica1971 says:

    I guess she is unaware that Blacks sing in categories and put out music besides rap. Didn’t realize Wynton Marsalis and Audra McDonald was miscategorized?
    In any event, I think Grammies expanded their categories a few weeks ago to address this issue

  3. Boredsillydaily says:

    I love Billie. Still, I had to make my first comment on this website ever to say LOL.

  4. Keshet says:

    I’m 43 and never been desired. Some people are just ugly, and that’s okay. I’m funny, kind, intelligent, and talented.

    Women are more than their bodies.
    I’m trying to think of the last time someone asked a male popstar about his body image. These sexist questions need to stop.

  5. yinyang says:

    Omg, she is looking so cool. I like her, I just find her an exciting part of a cultural revolution. I mean I have a big girl crush on her, she doesn’t want to be a part of the male ideal and I appreciate that. I think future stars are going to like this, not really appealing to men, kind of very anti-sexualized and not caring. Almost ALL other white stars annoy the hell out of me, they’re all the same, and worst is other white women calling themselves feminists but encouraging and idolizing them, some things never change.

  6. Stacy Dresden says:

    I like her! Keep doing you, Billie

  7. Kkat says:

    She wasn’t saying she is rap or would do rap, she was saying if she were black, because of how she dresses THEY would say she is rap. Because THEY like to put people in boxes.
    Because she is white they automatically put her in pop.
    pointing out “Lizzo in the Best R&B category ” just because she is black when Lizzo is more pop
    I do agree with what Billie is saying on this.

    I really like her (I’m a old at 50) She is young but she thinks about things and I find her surprisingly mature in some of her observations. Like her one on fame in the article. I love Finneas, he is a really good interview. I have watched a bunch of both of their interviews on youtube. Their relationship and how their parents raised them is goals

  8. Kärent says:

    She’s absolutely right about genres. Same with Lorde and Lana del Rey, they have a lot of hip hop/trap elements in their music, but you’ll never find them in the urban category. Black people will never be anything but urban. It’s lazy and racist.

  9. Alyse says:

    Pop is such a general category…. most rap these days could be pop, lots of EDM is pop. Lots of musicians cold come under multiple categories.
    But us humans love to categorise lol

  10. Mina_Esq says:

    She has a hauntingly beautiful voice, but I had to unfollow her on socials because my eyes were rolling too much. I’m looking forward to her growing up and being a bit more self-assured and less annoying (annoying in the way that my kids are annoying, not in a mean spirited way :) )