Who is Billie Eilish and what are her virtues?
The young American is one of the most unique and successful artists of recent times. We tell you why.
Billie Eilish O’Connell (Los Angeles, USA, 2001) was only thirteen years old when one of her first songs, “Ocean Eyes”, became a viral phenomenon after being published on SoundCloud in 2015 and in Youtube through its video clip in 2016. Then came his first album, the EP Don’t Smile At Me (2017), with the production of her brother Finneas O’Connell, who has accompanied her since then in each of her record and live deliveries, and that was the first step to unexpectedly becoming a star overnight, in record time and without the need for large marketing campaigns.
His beginnings in the world of music
Born into a family with close artistic ties (her mother is an actress and her father a musician), Billie Eilish enjoyed an early musical education, learning to play the piano and ukulele and giving singing and music technique classes. Of Scottish and Irish descent, and suffering from Tourette’s syndrome from a very young age, Billie Eilish’s is a new-style stardom, absolutely linked to times as uncertain, blurred and unstable as the ones we live in. Boosted by internet virality, her image is the opposite of the hypersexualization of Madonna’s vast saga of contemporary emulas.
“Boosted by internet virality, her image is the opposite of the hypersexualization of Madonna’s vast saga of contemporary emulas.”
She is more inclined to make visible her personal demons, her obsessions and insecurities with the candid transparency of someone who has just left adolescence behind, impressing the listener through small milestones in the form of songs that, at least until now, have much more to do with the implosion than with the explosion. It would have been difficult to imagine it in 2011. Or in 2001. Or in 1991. It is a genuine product of the late second decade of the 21st century, without implying that it has no capacity for regeneration.
The success of his first album
All this was embodied in When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Darkroom/Interscope, 2019), a first album that generated a huge shock wave. She went from being a perfect stranger to achieving that her concert at Poble Espanyol in Barcelona that year had to move to the Palau Sant Jordi to meet the demand for tickets, and that the Wizink Center in Madrid doubled her capacity to do the same. own. In a matter of a few months. It became a phenomenon, and it developed regardless of any media omen or any market prediction.
The album, which featured songs like “Bad Guy”, “Bury a Friend”, “When The Party Is Over”, “Wish You Were Gay” or “You Should See Me In a Crown”, won the Grammy for best album of the year and best pop vocal album, and sold more than 300,000 copies in its first week alone, becoming one of the most critically acclaimed albums of that year. The fault lay with a minimalist sound, dark but very seductive, halfway between low-budget electronica and pop.
The confirmation of Happier Than Ever
The burden implied by the expectations of others, the sore that the fact of knowing that one is a mirror of thousands of young psyches gripped by their particular mental disorders or the weariness of mental constructions (essentially masculine) that project a predictable image of the female pop celebrity can fester there could have been three paralyzing factors for her. But not. Nothing is further from reality. Not a trace of fear of the void. All this was proved by her splendid second job.
“Her second album not only ratified many of the virtues that made Billie Eilish the most unique star in the pop galaxy: it also broadened the focus to which her potentialities are directed.”
Happier Than Ever (Darkroom/Interscope Records, 2021) not only ratified many of the virtues that made Billie Eilish the most unique star in the pop galaxy: it also broadened the focus to which her potentialities are directed, collecting an even more diverse mosaic of her abilities. and allowing himself the luxury of not having to delegate many of the tricks of his debut. There was the fabulous production work of her brother Finneas again, but her seduction tools weren’t quite the same.
The seismic sub-bass of their debut no longer prevailed, nor did those whispers so cavernous that, like cobwebs, shadowed every corner of that record, so apparently claustrophobic. The Californian endowed her characteristic minimalism of sound with a sensuality and a few drops of classicism (not mimetic regression) that broadened her range of tones, as if it were a transition between black and white or the ocher tones of her debut to something similar to cinemascope.
All of this materialized in the pulse of Billie Holiday in “Lost Cause” or that of Julie London or Peggy Lee in “Haley’s Comet”. Also in the sweet cadence of “Billie Bossa Nova” or in the luminosity of a “my future” that begins as a ballad and becomes almost yacht rock. It is an album with which Billie Eilish once again shows her strengths and her vulnerabilities, her war wounds and her justified reproaches, but now making her repertoire soaked in light, hope and vitality.
It sold nearly 250,000 copies worldwide, to which must be added the millions of views on streaming platforms. streaming. And like his first album, he also enjoyed a live presentation tour. He proved, in short, that Billie Eilish was not a flash in the pan. And that her creative growth was a fact, consolidated in a very short time.
Billie Eilish’s influences
Although her style is certainly inimitable and she has found her own stamp very early on, Billie Eilish has cited musicians from around the world on more than one occasion as influences. hip hop like Tyler, The Creator or Childish Gambino, and women like Avril Lavigne, Lorde, Rihanna, Amy Winehouse or Lana Del Rey.
If he has also stood for something in recent times, it is to defend his right to display the public image that suits him, without the need to adhere to the heteronormative canons from which he has received so much criticism on social networks. Both musically and strictly ethically, Billie Eilish proves to be a fully autonomous star, with a strong personality.