She shot to fame with “Ocean Eyes” a few years ago, topped charts with her debut album in 2019, and has now been announced as the singer of the theme song in the forthcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die. Not bad for someone who turned eighteen just a few weeks ago – the youngest to ever sing for a Bond film, evidently. Yes, American singer Billie Eilish is indeed making headlines these days. And as she gets ready to sing for the man with a licence to kill, here are ten facts you might not know about pop’s latest sensation:
It’s not her name…well, not her full name anyway
Billie Eilish is not really her full name. In fact, those two words are the first two of a five-word name, making Eilish one of the few people in the world to be known by the first two words of her name (most folks are either known by their first name or their last names). Her full name incidentally is: Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. Her parents wanted to name her Eilish, evidently based on a documentary about conjoined Irish twins, Katie and Eilish Holton. However, her mother’s father passed away during her pregnancy, so they called her Billie after him. “Pirate” is what her brother Finneas called her.
A family full of music
Billie Eilish belongs to a supremely musical family. Her father Patrick O’Donnel is an actor and musician. Her mother Maggie Baird is also an actor, screenwriter and musician. And Eilish’s elder brother Finneas O’Connell was the singer and songwriter of the band, The Slightlys (he has worked with Eilish on her album as well!). And well, there were THREE pianos in the house.
The aura of Aurora
Billie Eilish wrote her first song at the age of…wait for it…four! She wrote it for the ukulele. She says her first “real composition” however came at the age of eleven – a song called “Fingers Crossed”, which was inspired by the TV show The Walking Dead. She is believed to have been inspired to get into music by a song called Runaway by Norwegian singer Aurora, which she stumbled across on YouTube. Incidentally, she claims that her biggest influence is Tyler, The Creator, although she also loves Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey.
A dance class task generates a first hit
Billie Eilish had been a dance class regular from the age of eight. In 2015, one of her teachers asked her if she or her brother could write a song that a dance could be choreographed to. Eilish agreed. Her brother already had a song ready, “Ocean Eyes”, which he had written for his own band but which he felt would sound great in Eilish’s voice. He taught Eilish to sing the song, and they uploaded it to Soundcloud so that her teacher could download it. To their surprise, the song got downloaded by thousands of listeners, especially after a music discovery website posted its link. And that’s how the Billie Eilish phenomenon began!
Not just abilities…
Billie Eilish may be blessed with abundant musical talent, but has her share of health problems as well. She was born with severe separation anxiety and slept in her parents’ bed until she was ten. She still suffers from Tourette Syndrome, which results in sudden movements and sounds that she cannot control; and also from Synesthesia, in which senses can overlap (so you can end up thinking of numbers with colours, or dates with places).
Baggy-ing that fashion style
Billie Eilish is known for her fashion sense, which is rather contrary to the mainstream. She seems to prefer wearing clothes that are loose fitting, and did so very famously in a Calvin Klein ad as well. Eilish says she likes wearing baggy clothes so that she is not judged or sexualised by people.
Sharing her gifts with Apple
Remember Apple’s stunning and award-winning “Share Your Gifts” ad for the 2018 holiday season? Well, the song playing in the background was “Come Out and Play” by Billie Eilish!
Smile? No, thanks!
Billie Eilish is not your routine celebrity. While most are happy pouting and grinning at cameras, Eilish once said that she did not like to smile. “Everyone’s taught to smile,” she said in an interview. “Girls are. ‘Look happy, look like you’re having fun!’ I’m not gonna look like anybody except what I am. I want to impress myself.”
Scarily fond of horror…for a while at least
Although Billie Eilish is afraid of a number of things (she still jumps into bed from a distance, as she fears a monster might be underneath it), she clearly has a thing for horror films and shows. Eilish claims that she got a lot of inspiration for the album art and videos from her debut album (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go) from a horror film called The Badadook; many were terrified by the video of her song “Bury a Friend”; and we did point out earlier how her first serious song was inspired by The Walking Dead. However, her fondness for the genre seems to have decreased of late, as she says she has been seeing creatures outside her windows and everything started “flipping her out.” “I’m done with the fake shit — real life is way too scary,” she said in an interview.
Very very vegan
She is very real and all flesh and blood, but Eilish was brought up as a vegetarian, and is now a vegan advocate. She has shared videos and messages on social networks, supporting a vegan lifestyle. “I understand that meat tastes good … and I know you think you’re just one person and it won’t change anything if you stop but that’s ignorant and stupid. If you have half a brain, you should know ‘one person’ adds up. Be smarter,” she wrote in a post. Eilish also has a sustainable clothing line in collaboration with H&M.