How Billie Eilish and Finneas used personal experiences to write their ‘Barbie’ ballad

A version of this story originally appeared in the Race Begins issue of The Wrap awards magazine.

billie eilish Was ready to call it a day. In late January this year, he and his brother and musical partner Finneas spent nine hours in the studio working on their upcoming third album. “We hit a wall that night,” Finneas said. “Billy was getting up to leave and we were like, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll try to give it a chance, see what happens.'”

“This One” was the song that director Greta Gerwig asked the Oscar and Grammy-winning duo to write for her film “Barbie,” a rough cut of which they had recently performed for her. And what happened after Eilish sat back down was “What Was I Made For?” Once Phineas came up with the basic melody on the piano, the lyrics came easily.

“First verse – ‘I used to float, now I just fall / I knew, but I’m not sure anymore / What was I made for / What was I made for?’ “We did it in 10 minutes, which was really cool,” Eilish said. “It’s a good example of when inspiration really works.”

Rhea Perlman and Margot Robbie, BarbieRhea Perlman and Margot Robbie, Barbie

Rhea Perlman and Margot Robbie in “Barbie” (Warner Bros.)

Introspective and delicate, the ballad adds a melancholy dimension to Barbie’s upbeat pop-heavy soundtrack. This plays out during a key scene near the end of the film, when (spoilers ahead) Margot Robbie’s titular doll decides she wants to be a human and experience all the complex emotions that come with personhood. The lyrics express the film’s broader theme of Barbie’s existential crisis (“Looked so lifelike, turns out I’m not real / Just something you paid for”) as well as the ontological puzzle of modern womanhood. Does.

Of course, the lyrics also reflect the specific challenge of being a young female musician upon whom the world projects its own (ten toxic) views. But the autobiographical nature of the song did not immediately impress Eilish.

“It’s hard for me to write about what I’m feeling,” she said. “And it’s unsafe to write about how you’re feeling. We had this thing to write about, and I thought, phew! “I don’t have to worry about myself, I’m just going to write about this thing.” It was only after finishing the track that he realized how personal it was. “I was playing it for a friend the next day. She looked at me and said, ‘Uhhh…’ and I said, I know!’ Eilish said laughing. “Yo lo se. “You’re right.”

For Finneas, the personal resonance was more evident from the beginning, especially compared to his previous contributions to film soundtracks: the operatic Bond theme “No Time to Die,” which won him a Best Original Song Oscar in 2022, and the bouncy He Wrote the fictional boy band tune for “Turning Red”.

He said, “I think whenever we’re writing a song that’s not autobiographical, no matter how far-fetched it is, you’re looking for your point of view, you’re looking for that thing That you can connect with.” “It’s too far, isn’t it? It is about the transformation of an inanimate object into an animate being. Something we can relate to, something anyone can relate to, is the identity crisis: not knowing who you are, what other people’s perception of you is, feeling like you’re always a projected version of yourself. By becoming this they are humiliating other people. “I felt that way, Billy felt that way.”

“What was I created for?” The pair felt very little stress when writing. As he did when composing “No Time to Die”, which had to fit harmoniously into the 60-year-old Bond musical canon. “The only real pressure component of it, I would say, was just that we saw the movie and the movie was great,” Finneas said. “And I think when you’re trying to contribute to something that you’re really passionate about, there’s a kind of innate pressure.

“The pressure was certainly not coming from Greta, who couldn’t have been more impressive or nicer to us,” he said. Or (music producer and composer) Mark Ronson or (filmmaker) David Heyman. They were all really generous with their time. The pressure was just this: the movie was great. And if we were going to be a part of it, we wanted to stay true to what we were doing.”

Looks like they succeeded there. Her song “Barbie” has been nominated for three Grammys (including Song of the Year) and is already a frontrunner for another Best Original Song Oscar nomination – which Eilish beat for “Weird Fever Dream.”

“This is madness. Its crazy, This is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “I feel so filled with gratitude, excitement and pride. I feel really proud. “I think whatever way it goes, I’ll be proud.”

He’s got it in his head that maybe he’ll be on stage at the Dolby Theater next year singing “What Was I Made For?” Come back performing. stay.

“I’m not trying to be cocky. I’m really trying to plan ahead and be realistic,” Eilish said. “I was like, what if I had to do that at the Oscars? This song, it’s very difficult to sing. “It’s such a complex tone.” Plus, she added, “The Oscars were the scariest place I’ve ever performed. It’s a world I’m not really a part of – I’m not an actor. I’m a musician. And there’s a completely different energy there. These are movie stars that you’ve been watching all your life and they’re sitting there and it’s just crazy. It’s a very intense – in a cool way – vibe. “I’ve performed there twice now, and each time it was incredibly scary.”

She laughed. “I’m excited to get scared again if I get the chance.”

Read more about the Race Begins issue here,

Sandra Huller Race 2023 startsSandra Huller Race 2023 starts

Sandra Huller Race 2023 starts

The post How Billie Eilish and Finneas Tried Individually to Write Their ‘Barbie’ Ballad appeared first on TheWrap.

(Tags to translate)Billie Eilish(T)Phineas(T)Greta Gerwig(T)Barbie(T)Margot Robbie

Source link

Leave a Comment