Billie Eilish exploded onto the scene in 2015 and, it’s safe to say, has taken the music industry, eaten it up and spat it back out again.
Conquering the World
It’s hard to fathom that at the age of 13 – yep, 13 - Billie released “Ocean Eyes”. As would be the story for the next 6 years, this was with the help of her producer, co-writer and brother, Finneas. Billie and Finneas were both homeschooled by their parents, actress Maggie Baird and actor Patrick O’Connell. Maggie and Patrick chose to homeschool their children in order that they could pursue their interests, whatever they may be. Being musicians themselves, Maggie and Patrick taught them everything they knew about songwriting.
So, perhaps it’s no surprise that Billie Eilish was conquering the world by her mid-teens. Spotify clearly believed in her, as they featured “Ocean Eyes” on their most popular playlist, “Today’s Top Hits”. Being included on this playlist hugely expanded her reach and commercial success. “Ocean Eyes” was included on her EP Don’t Smile At Me which was released in 2017. Oh, and it’s also been included on the new Rockschool Vocals syllabus for 2021. More on that later…
By the time Billie released her debut album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, the world was already invested. It shot straight to the top spot of the Billboard 200, and reached number 1 in the UK too. The success was largely boosted by fan favourite track “Bad Guy”, which shot to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped the album to become one of the best-selling of 2019.
If you’re interested in the music business, you may enjoy learning that Spotify launched an enormous “multi-level campaign” behind this album. We’re talking a no-expense-spared effort in marketing this album to the public, a tactic which essentially worked! They created a multi-media playlist that created a “more meaningful and engaging context for fans”, they set up a “pop-up enhanced album experience” in LA, and a “multi-sensory experience” too. We’ll leave it to you to imagine the budget…
Billie Eilish became the first artist born in the 2000s to have a number 1 album in the US, and the youngest female EVER to have a number 1 album in the UK. Yes, don’t forget that she was still only 18!
And there were still many more career highlights coming her way. In 2020 she co-wrote and performed the theme song for the new James Bond film called “No Time To Die”, and had myriad top 10 tracks including “Everything I Wanted”, “My Future” and “Therefore I Am”.
Billie Eilish has received more awards and accolades than you or I could shake a stick at, including her ground-breaking night at the Grammys where she received all four of the general field categories (that’s the BIG FOUR), Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year, all in the SAME. NIGHT. Billie is the youngest person, first woman, and second overall to have managed this. It’s quite spectacular.
We’ve included a track from this incredible album in the Rockschool Vocals syllabus for 2021 in Grade 1. Billie has such a distinctive style which has been described as many things including ethereal, whispery, husky and slurring, but we can’t wait to hear you put your own stamp on this track in the exam room.
Billie’s Happier Than Ever album was released in 2021 and, we don’t know about you, but we are loving it! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this tremendously talented woman.
If you’ve enjoyed learning more about the superstar that is Billie Eilish, then you might be interested in taking a look at some more of our Artists in Focus blogs, including pieces on Florence + The Machine, Bob Dylan and Marvin Gaye.