Billie Eilish Performs with Damon Albarn at Coachella: “This Man Changed My Life”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

On Saturday night (April 16), Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter Billie Eilish took the stage at Coachella for her headlining set.

And she brought a few guests with her, too.

Near the conclusion of her show, Eilish brought out Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz for a surprise appearance. The two covered Happier Than Ever’s “Getting Older,” which Albarn had covered on his own a couple of months ago. Eilish also brought out De La Soul’s Posdnuos and together they performed the Gorillaz’s 2005 Demon Days single, “Feel Good Inc.”

“Shut the fuck up and please give a warm welcome to Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn,” Eilish said as she introduced Albarn. “This is the craziest shit I’ve ever experienced. This man changed my life in a lot of ways and changed my complete view of what music could be and what art could be and what creation could be. My first favorite band ever was the Good, The Bad, And The Queen when I was six years old, and Blur changed the world and Gorillaz changed the world and this man is literally a genius, and that’s that.”

Eilish also brought out R&B crooner Khalid to perform their collaboration, “Lovely.” Check out some of the performances below.

Earlier this year, Albarn drew criticism after remarks he made about Taylor Swift in comparison to Eilish and her all-star musician brother FINNEAS. Albarn said of Eilish and FINNEAS—they are “really interesting songwriter[s]” compared to Taylor Swift, which Swift did not like.

The statements in question arose out of an interview that he did with The Los Angeles Times. In this conversation, Albarn expressed his opinion on the pop icon’s writing process and even her musical style.

“I know what co-writing is. Co-writing is very different to writing,” Albarn stated in the interview when discussing Swift’s co-writers. “I’m not hating on anybody, I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes. Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great.”

“And some of the greatest singers—I mean, Ella Fitzgerald never wrote a song in her life,” he continued. “When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there. I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense. A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker—less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”

Once this interview was published, many industry professionals and fans spoke in defense of Swift, including her producer Jack Antonoff, the National member Aaron Dessner, and even the president-elect of Chile.

Swift also quickly responded to Albarn’s statements. “I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this,” she wrote on Twitter. “I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW.”

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