It seems like everywhere you go these days, people are talking about Billie Eilish – full name Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. The now 17-year-old American musician went viral in 2016 after uploading a song, ‘Ocean Eyes’, to Soundcloud which was meant only for her dance teacher’s ears.
Fast-forward two years and Billie has released her debut album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – and one of the most streamed artists in the world (she has over 1 billion streams on Spotify). Billie now spends her time performing at huge festivals such as Coachella and sells out her own shows worldwide, including in Australia.
Below, everything to know about Billie Eilish, the teenager taking over the world.
Where is Billie Eilish from?
Billie Eilish is American and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Both of her parents and her older brother are in the entertainment industry: her mother Maggie Baird is a musician and her father Patrick O’Connell is an actor.
What are her most popular songs?
Billie is best known for her debut single, ‘ocean eyes’ and songs such as ‘bad guy’, ‘when the party’s over’, ‘bury a friend’, ‘wish you were gay’, ‘you should see me in a crown’, ‘bellyache’, ‘my strange addiction’ and ‘lovely’ which she sings with Khalid.
How did she get discovered?
Aged 15, Billie uploaded a song to Soundcloud so her dance teacher could hear it. Overnight, it went viral and it wasn’t long before she was signed to Darkroom and Interscope Records. “We put it on SoundCloud with a free download link next to it so my dance teacher could access it, she told Teen Vogue. “We had no intentions for it, really. But basically overnight a ton of people started hearing it and sharing it.”
“Hillydilly, a music discovery website, found it and posted it and it just got bigger and bigger. It was really surreal,” she continued. Then, Danny Ruckasin, who is now my manager, reached out to my brother and was like, ‘Dude, this is going to get huge and I think you’re going to need help along the way. I want to help you guys.’ We were like, ‘That’s swag.’” She later released ‘Ocean Eyes’ as her first single before releasing a debut ep, ‘Don’t Smile at Me’ in 2017.
She used to be in love with Justin Bieber
Billie has said in the past that Justin Bieber was one of her first musical inspirations, but she’s also said she used to be completely in love with the popstar. “It wasn’t like I was just a fan, man,” she told marie claire US. “I’ve been in love before, and it was with him.” She later elaborated in a radio interview with KROQ, saying, “That was like my first love. That was the person I was in love with, in my head he was in love with me, it was like a relationship with a person.” After speaking via Instagram when Justin heard Billie’s music, the pair finally met IRL at Coachella earlier this year.
She has a famous brother
Billie’s older brother, Finneas O’Connell, is a famous musician and actor best known for his starring role as Alastair in Glee. Finneas wrote Bille’s breakthrough song ‘Ocean Eyes’ and both co-writes and produces his sister’s music to this day.
Billie has Tourette Syndrome which causes her to have tics
“I’ve never mentioned [my Tourette Syndrome] on the internet because nobody thinks I’m deadass,” she wrote on her Instagram story last year. “As well as the fact I’ve just never wanted people to think of tourettes every time they think of me. I’ve taught myself ways of suppressing my tics and certain techniques to help [reduce] them when I don’t want to be distracting in certain situations,” she wrote.
She’s been writing music since she was 11
In an interview with Vogue, Billie revealed that she was a member of the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, which helped her to develop her singing skills. “It’s [the choir] helped me learn the proper way to sing and not ruin my voice completely. But I’ve just always sung, all the time. I sang so much that my family had to shush me.”
She always wears baggy clothes
Billie is known for her love of streetwear and bright, baggy clothes. In a campaign with Calvin Klein the singer said she wears loose-fitting clothing so no one can judge how her body looks. “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath,” she said. “Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat a**,’ ‘she’s got a fat a**.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
She’s a vegan
Eilish made the switch to a vegan diet in 2014 when she was 12 to reduce her impact on the environment and be kinder to animals. The singer has shared facts about animal cruelty to her social media multiple times, encouraging her fans to eat less meat.