Billie Eilish is making us all look really bad. Aged just 15, the LA-born pop star has already dropped her bold debut EP ‘Don’t Smile At Me’ and is just kicking off a world tour that rolls into the UK next week. Not exactly loitering in parks, being really bloody lazy, like most of us were as teens. But the whole thing must be pretty daunting, right? “The attention doesn’t scare me. Nothing really scares me, to be honest,” she says.
Ever since she dropped her breakout viral song – the swooning pop ballad ‘Ocean Eyes’ – in November 2016, that fearlessness has been infectious and blatant. Luckily it was no fluke: she and older brother and co-writing partner Finneas O’Connell (as seen in TV show Glee) were raring to go with a string of singles, each of which teases a performance out of Eilish that allows her to stand out from the pack.
Take ‘Bellyache’, for example, a trappy, mysterious anthem that’s far darker than what meets the eye – which is just how she likes it. “That song is about killing people and being bipolar, but if you think about it, there’s a lot of different meanings in that song,” she explains. “I’mma let you think exactly what you want that song to be about. Whatever you think it means, that’s what it is.”
Despite being just 15, Eilish is proving she’s mature way beyond her years. She was home-schooled for most of her teens, but is now graduated and as a result has gladly excused herself from high school’s toxic faux-drama. “I spend a lot of time with adults now and sometimes I think, ‘Oh my god, I need to be around teenagers’. Then I hang out with teenagers and realise ‘Eew, you guys suck’.”
Eilish’s charismatic persona and take on the world is what makes her EP so damn intriguing. This is never more obvious than on one of her finest moments to date, the hip-hop-infused ‘Copycat’, a middle-finger to those who are trying to piggyback off her success. “Sometimes it’s flattering when people copy you, but sometimes it gets to a breaking point,” Eilish says. But it’s pretty clear from the off: we’ve not seen anything quite like her before.
From: Los Angeles, USA
Buy: ‘Don’t Smile At Me’ is out now
Live: O2 Academy Islington, London (Nov 2)
For Fans Of: Halsey, Kesha
Strange But True: Her full name is pretty lengthy, but totally gnarly: Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell.
Best Track: ‘Bellyache’ – A twisted tale with trappy, pop beats – who knew a song about death could make you feel so alive?