Billie Eilish is on the cover of Vogue. She talks music genre, clothing style (“My whole personality is based off my clothes”), overnight fame and home-schooling.
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell
17 year old Billie Eilish has gained what seems like overnight success. However, her new cover story for Vogue Australia reveals the work that went into the worldwide phenomena. Eilish, whose real name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, was born in 2001.
Her parents, Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell also have her older brother Finneas O’Connell, who is 4 years older than Billie. The two are songwriting partners and also perform together.
Both Billie and Finneas were home-schooled. Their mother Maggie said, “We home-schooled in a way that was interest-led and experiential. Nothing had a higher value than the other, so going to a symphony and learning about Math through cooking or having a science birthday party all had the same weight. They were nurtured in what they wanted to do and had the time to do it. We have a tiny house with three pianos in it … three pianos in a 1,200-foot house!”
Ocean Eyes to When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go
At 13, Eilish released Ocean Eyes on Soundcloud, gaining intense traction for her unique voice. At 15, she signed with a record label and started touring the world. Now, she has released her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Additionally, Eilish has now reached one billion streams on Spotify. Her recent Coachella performance saw 100,000 people screaming her lyrics back to her in perfect sync.
Addressing the crowds that love her, Eilish said, “I saw them crying and singing my lyrics at the top of their lungs and jumping and screaming and having the time of their lives. It made me think about the way I used to watch documentaries of my favorite artists and I used to cry because it was so beautiful. And there I was, on that stage … I stood there and just cried. It hurt in an amazing, beautiful, horrible, amazing way.”
“Keep the fence there”
Despite being only 17 years old, Eilish is aware of the struggles one can face in the music industry. She takes the pain to keep extortion away from her. She said, “It’s up to you to keep the fence there. If you just lifted it up, all the ants are going to go eat the food. That’s what the industry is like. Everyone is ready to tell you what to do. Everyone is ready to be, like: ‘You’re my creation.’ It’s weird that the hard thing to do is do what you want to, because everyone wants to make a product.”
However, with this inhibition came an industry dismissal, especially because of her age. Eilish commented, “It took a lot of time to gain people’s trust in the fact I know what I’m going to do, what I’m good at and what I want.”
“My whole personality is based off my clothes”
Of the many things Eilish is known for, her clothes are definitely one. Her baggy clothes and sneakers are a way for Eilish to stop people from judging her body. Clothes are very important for the young star.
She said, “Oh my god, dude. That’s the first thing that matters in every day of my life. Everywhere I go, everything I do. Everything. It’s the first thing that I think about that I barely even think about it. It’s my whole identity. My whole personality is based off my clothes and what I’m wearing that day. I’ll have a different personality for a different outfit sometimes. If I’m wearing something I don’t feel comfortable in I will turn into a totally different persona that I hate.”
“She never goes along with something to make it easier”
Billie’s mother is very proud of her daughter’s successes, saying, “Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone quite like Billie who really knows what she likes and doesn’t like and immediately says it. I tend to be a person who needs to please and Billie is not that way. She is very loving and wonderful and generous, but she doesn’t hold back on her opinions. [Billie] wants the creative to be what she wants it to be, and she has a vision and says what that is. She never goes along with something just to make it easier.”
Additionally, she said, “I hope that she uses that power and control and creative energy to better things beyond art.”
Of her whole journey, Eilish said, “It’s been a lot. But right now it’s pretty perfect. I don’t have anything to complain about. I’m pretty happy.”
Read the entire cover story here.