5 Things to Know About Billie Eilish

It hasn’t even been a decade since Billie Eilish hit the musical jackpot when she uploaded her song “Ocean Eyes” to SoundCloud. Almost as soon as the track, written and produced by her brother Finneas O’Connell, was published in 2015, it went viral. 

Videos by American Songwriter

Now Eilish has a shelf full of Grammy Awards and a diehard fan base that can’t get enough of her songs about love, society, and psychological downturns for her music that mixes pop, indie, and electronic genres into a dark mix of dark aesthetics. Eilish’s lyrics delve into themes of love, societal challenges, and emotional struggles. Her impressive feat at the 2020 Grammy Awards, where she clinched titles in four major categories—Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year—affirms her place as a groundbreaking artist.

Despite rapidly developing and ongoing fame, Eilish remains true to her roots. She continues collaborating closely with Finneas, crafting songs in the same intimate way they did in their childhood home. Yet, her musical evolution is evident. Eilish’s poignant lyrics now also highlight pressing issues like climate change while championing self-care, mental well-being, and the journey of self-acceptance.

Her quick entrance into popular music’s most iconic artists has left many wanting to learn more about the artist and her background. Here are five points to know about her:

1. She was homeschooled

Fans might wonder how Eilish and her brother became so close and had plenty of time to collaborate. The answer is homeschooling, reports Forbes. Homeschooling allowed Eilish to follow her musical interests and develop her creativity. Plus, her parents are actors and musicians who encouraged their children’s artistry.

 “I grew up homeschooled, stayed homeschooled, never was not homeschooled,” she told Paper. “I don’t even know what school is like. My brother is homeschooled also, so it’s something we do together. Also, there are co-ops and homeschool events. There’s something called Park Day where we meet up with a bunch of homeschoolers every other Thursday.”

Her brother, Finneas, agrees, telling Your Teen Magazine: “Being homeschooled is all about self-discovery. It’s something that I’ve really enjoyed and thrived under. I’m not at a high school where I have to base my self-worth off what other people think of me. I have to think, ‘What would I like to be doing? How would I like to be as a person?’ I think that’s an enormously positive thing.”

2. She loves freaking people out

Spiders, strange masks, and funky-colored hair are among the ways that Eilish expresses her love of horror. Anyone who has seen her dark, expressive videos is likely not surprised to read that. What may come as a surprise to some is that Eilish has synesthesia. That neurological condition increases her visual acuity as she works on music.

“I think visually first with everything I do, and also I have synesthesia, so everything that I make, I’m already thinking of what color it is, and what texture it is, and what day of the week it is, and what number it is, and what shape,” she said in a video for YouTube Music.

“I love bugging people out,” Eilish told the New York Times Magazine. “Freaking people out. I like being looked at. I like being in people’s heads. I feed off it.”

3. She has a fear of whales

Is someone who loves horror and “freaking people out” without angst? Not in the case of Eilish. She has given several interviews where she discussed her fear of whales. Plus, she tells Billboard she’s also afraid of the ocean. So what is it about the whales that keep Eilish up at night—and away from the ocean? She says the look of the whales and sounds they make are “f*****g creepy as hell.”

Of course, that’s not her only phobia. Eilish tells the outlet that while she isn’t afraid to die, the Grim Reaper scares her. “That’s like, all I think about all the time,” she said. “I think that’s probably my biggest fear is losing the people around me. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m afraid of people I love dying.”

4. She used to cut herself

Eilish chose to wear form-fitting clothes for a Vanity Fair cover but was horrified by the praise the photo brought. 

“I think that the people around me were more worried about it than I was because the reason I used to cut myself was because of my body,” she tells Glamour. “To be quite honest with you, I only started wearing baggy clothes because of my body.

“I was really, really glad, though, mainly, that I’m in this place in my life because if that had happened three years ago when I was in the midst of my horrible body relationship—or dancing a ton, five years ago, I wasn’t really eating. I was starving myself…I remember taking a pill that told me that it would make me lose weight, and it only made me pee the bed—when I was 12. It’s just crazy. I can’t even believe, like I—wow. Yeah.”

5. Justin Bieber helps her cope

When Eilish was interviewed on SiriusXM Hits 1’s Morning Mash Up, she praised Justin Bieber and his support of her. In fact, she called him “just the sweetest baby ever,” according to Billboard. “He’s a good friend of mine. He, you know, has been so helpful for me in terms of just, like, dealing with fame. And he’ll call me sometimes and just say stuff that makes me just feel heard, and like there’s somebody else that goes through the same stuff. So it’s really nice to have him.”

Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images for ABA

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