Although Billie Eilish sure had the most impressive pop breakthrough of the year, she was not completely unknown at the start of 2018. Eilish first gained buzz online at the tender age of 14, when her track ‘Ocean Eyes’, written by her brother, was released. A Bit of Pop Music tipped her as one of the most promising artists for 2017, which became the year she released her debut EP dont smile at me. It wasn’t until the release of the hauntingly beautiful ballad ‘Lovely’ with Kalid, which also appeared in the second season of 13 Reasons Why, that her following and streaming numbers started to exponentially grow. She is currently among the 50 most streaming artists worldwide on Spotify, while ‘Lovely’ reached over 300 million streams recently. But what is next for Billie Eilish?
Such a rise is impressive for any pop star, but even more so if you take into account the type of music that Eilish is releasing at the moment. Her recent singles, with the exception of the bouncy uptempo ‘you should see me in a crown’, have been slow paced and very much stripped back. At the time of writing ‘when the party’s over’ is her highest charting single in the US, UK and Canada, which is a quiet, dark ballad with minimal instrumentation and a haunting melody. We have to hand it to her for keeping her audience captivated with just her hypnotic vocals and the depth she presents in her lyrics and vocal performance. Interestingly enough, her team seems to be pushing 2017 single ‘Bellyache’, a more upbeat electronic pop production, for another chance at a hit with big TV performances. Although this tune deserves to slay the charts too, it seems like her new material stands just as much a chance at becoming a success these days.
Eilish does not shy away from personal subjects in her lyrics, which she often writes together with her brother Finneas. ‘Lovely’ for example, describes her struggle with depression which seems to be always ongoing. Vanity Fair recently interviewed the singer as well as a year ago, with the purpose of comparing her answers now to those of 12 months ago. Although the questions about her best gig so far, meeting celebrities and the amount of followers she has on social media are testament to her meteoric rise, her answers at the same time caused some worry among fans that Billie currently is not in a good place. Although the interview might have been a bad day for her, it was clear she is struggling with the fame, saying it is hard to be recognized all the time, as well as admitting that she feels sad more often than not. Her young and playful attitude from the year before mostly faded. At the same time the interview made clear she is still very close to her family, whom can hopefully help her deal with the demons that come with the fame. While Eilish has the potential to go all the way and is well on her way to become one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, it is important the people around her keep her grounded and try not to treat her like a money making machine, but as a human being whose mental health should always come first. Experiencing the changes she has between the age of 14 and 16 must be really intense!
Read on below video interview.
So what is next for Billie Eilish? There have been talks of a debut album to be released early 2019 and while that sure is a more than exciting idea, Eilish is part of a new generation of pop artists that rose to fame thanks to streaming that don’t need the release strategy of album cycles. In hiphop, the random release of singles and mixtapes/EPs is more accepted and has worked wonders for Eilish so far. Album or no album, Billie has showed us throughout the year that she is the total package. While her music and lyrics speak for themselves, she clearly knows her strengths in the visual department too. The simple but spine tingling video for ‘when the party’s over’ was Billie’s idea based on a piece of fan art she received. She turned the idea into one of the most captivating music videos of the year!
Just days before her 17th birthday (on the 18th of December), Billie Eilish achieved more than a lot of pop artists dream of for a lifetime and she has the talent to back up her success… in bucketloads! Her melodies, lyricism and visuals are well beyond her young years and will only continue to grow in the coming years with the right coaching. Think about what she could achieve in five years from now! 2018 was a huge year for this young artist and if the team around her give her the time and space to grow, evaluate and work on her mental health, 2019 might be even better!