Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell ( EYE-lish; born December 18, 2001) is an American singer and songwriter. She first gained public attention in 2015 with her debut single “Ocean Eyes”, which was subsequently released by Darkroom, an imprint of Interscope Records. The song was written and produced by her brother, Finneas O’Connell, with whom she frequently collaborates on music and in live shows. Her debut extended play, Don’t Smile at Me (2017), was commercially successful, charting within the top 15 in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Eilish’s first studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019), debuted atop the US Billboard 200 and reached number one in the UK. It was one of the best-selling albums of 2019, buoyed by the success of its fifth single, “Bad Guy”, Eilish’s first number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2020, she co-wrote and performed the theme song “No Time to Die” for the James Bond film of the same name, which topped the UK singles chart and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Her next singles “Everything I Wanted”, “My Future”, “Therefore I Am”, and “Your Power” each peaked within the top 10 in the US and UK. Her second album, Happier Than Ever (2021), reached number one in 25 countries.
Eilish has received several accolades, including seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, one Guinness World Record, three MTV Video Music Awards, three Brit Awards, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. She is the youngest artist in Grammy history and second overall to win all four general field categories—Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year—in the same year. She was featured in Time magazine’s inaugural Time 100 Next list in 2019, and the main Time 100 list in 2021. According to the RIAA and Billboard, Eilish is the 26th-highest-certified digital singles artist and one of the most successful artists of the 2010s
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell was born in Los Angeles, California on December 18, 2001. She is the daughter of actress and teacher Maggie Baird, and actor Patrick O’Connell both of whom are also musicians, and work on Eilish’s tours. Eilish is of Irish and Scottish descent. She was conceived via in vitro fertilization. Her middle name, Eilish, was originally meant to be her first name, while Pirate was to be her middle name. She was brought up in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Eilish and her brother Finneas were homeschooled by Baird, a decision their parents made to spend time with them and give them the freedom to pursue their interests. Baird taught Eilish and Finneas the basics of songwriting. Eilish said her brother and mother inspired her to get into music. Their parents encouraged the siblings to express themselves and explore whatever they wanted, including art, dancing, and acting. Eilish also performed at talent shows and joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus at age eight. At 6, she started playing the ukulele. She wrote her first “real” song at age 11 for her mother’s songwriting class. The song is about the zombie apocalypse, inspired by the television series The Walking Dead from which she took script lines and episode titles that she added to the song as part of the assignment. Eilish had gone on some acting auditions, which she disliked; however, she enjoyed recording background dialogue for crowd scenes and worked on the films Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Ramona and Beezus, and the X-Men series.
Albums and Songs
Originally written for Finneas’ band, “Ocean Eyes” sprung to life when infused with a 13-year-old Eilish’s ethereal vocals and became a viral sensation upon being uploaded to SoundCloud in November 2015. A second SoundCloud offering, “Six Feet Under,” was followed by her summer 2016 signing with Darkroom Records, which re-released both tracks as singles later in the year.
‘Don’t Smile at Me’
Eilish’s popularity surged with the steady unveiling of singles from her August 2017 EP, Don’t Smile at Me, with tracks like “Bellyache,” “Copycat” and “My Boy” showcasing her willingness to explore dark and prickly terrain amid a stream of shifting but danceable electronic beats. Don’t Smile at Me peaked at an impressive No. 14 on the Billboard 200 in January 2019, around which time Eilish became the youngest artist to top 1 billion streams on Spotify.
‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ and “Bad Guy”
The March 2019 arrival of Eilish’s full-length album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? came with the simultaneous release of “Bad Guy,” the song that became the first megahit of her career. Still, the chart-topping album retained the early hallmarks of her unique style, from the whispered ruminations on drug use in “Xanny” to the jarring imagery of “Bury a Friend.” Eilish also displayed her theatrical sensibilities in the riveting videos for those and other tracks; “When the Party’s Over” shows the artist singing through the black liquid pouring from her eyes, while “You Should See Me in a Crown” features a spider crawling from her mouth.
James Bond Soundtrack: “No Time to Die”
In January 2020, it was announced that the 18-year-old Eilish had become the youngest artist to write and record the title track for a James Bond movie. The ominous ballad “No Time to Die” landed the following month, before the film of the same name was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and became her first single to reach the top spot in the U.K.
Eilish has also contributed to the soundtracks of other projects; “Bored” and “Lovely” appeared on the controversial Netflix teen series 13 Reasons Why, and “When I Was Older” was among the musical selections that accompanied Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 drama Roma.
Eilish began earning her first major accolades in 2019 when she claimed wins at the MTV Video Awards and American Music Awards and was named Billboard‘s Woman of the Year. But her big moment came at the January 2020 Grammys, when she became the first woman and the second artist overall to sweep the “big four” categories of Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist, adding Best Pop Vocal Album for good measure.
Eilish won two awards at the 2021 Grammy awards, including Record of the Year for “Everything I Wanted.”
Clothes and Style
Eilish became known for wearing oversized clothing, a style born from discomfort with her body that bolstered her appeal as the antithesis of the polished pop starlet. She met the demand for her signature apparel with the early 2018 launch of her online shop, Blohsh, and established her own niche in the fashion world by signing with Next Models later that year.
Tours and Documentary
The artist embarked on her first headlining tour to back Don’t Smile at Me in fall 2017 and returned to the road for much of the next two years, though her 2020 Where Do We Go? Tour was cut short and eventually canceled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Eilish has also drawn attention for performances at some of the industry’s biggest festivals, including Coachella and Glastonbury in 2019.
Her whirlwind schedule and life inside the eye of the storm became the focal point of the February 2021 documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, which also features childhood footage, interviews with family members and the singer putting together her debut album.
Personal and Social Issues
A life-long vegetarian, Eilish made the transition to a vegan diet in 2014.
Eilish has been open about her struggles with mental health, telling Gayle King in early 2020 that she considered suicide even as she was being fêted the next big thing in pop music. The singer also revealed in November 2018 that she was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome as a child.
Outspoken in her concern for environmental issues, Eilish joined actor Woody Harrelson in 2019 for a video that highlighted the dangers of climate change. She has also urged her fan base to become active voters, notably pairing with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on an initiative to register high school students in 2018.
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