Billie Eilish is pop music’s 16-year-old lyrically profound sensation
Billie Eilish, aka @wherearetheavocados and Galore’s newest Cover Girl, has been singing since she was four years old. She is now pop music’s sweetheart.
Her and her brother, Finneas, write her music together. Finneas also helps her with producing, and they basically work together and bounce ideas off of each other as a dynamic brother/sister duo.
After Billie posted her single, “Ocean Eyes,” on SoundCloud, her career blew up. How can a 14-year-old 1. sound so ethereal and 2. sing about profound feelings that most adults have a hard time putting into words?
The world became fascinated by Billie and her angel-like, airy voice and her intensely mature lyrics – that, even still, contain a certain whimsy about them, with lines such as, “You really know how to make me cry.”
Billie has now garnered tons of fans because of her fantastic voice, her unique fashion sense, and her ability to seem so down to earth during a whirlwind of fame. Even celebs are obsessing over Billie and how she always seems to stay true to who she is. She recently took a selfie with Lana Del Rey that blew up the Internet, because who wouldn’t be this stoked to meet Lana?
Those who are authentic and genuine are hard to come by, and I believe that’s the main attraction to Billie. She is also talented as hell, driven, and keep in mind, this girl is just 16.
Billie recently released her song, “Lovely,” with Khalid on as the featured artist. She’s also worked with Vince Staples and Sofi Tukker. These are big names in the business to be working with at such a young age, but none of it seems to phase Billie. She just wants to work with other artists that care about producing good art as much as she does.
Chloe Grace Moretz sits down with Billie Eilish to discuss her love of all things thrifted, what it’s like working with a sibling, the toxicity of social media, and the inspiration of growing up in LA. Check out the exclusive interview with Chloe Grace Moretz and photos below!
Who are your favorite current brands? Favorite vintage brands?
I mostly thrift. But, I don’t really thrift at most vintage stores, because most of it is overpriced and it is stuff that you could find for $3 or $5 elsewhere. So, I normally just go into thrift stores and spend around fifty bucks to buy like three huge bags of clothes, which is tight. It is between that and designer brands like Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Belanciaga, Joyrich, New Future London, and new upcoming brands.
What do you think sets you apart from other musicians?
I think I would leave that up for other people to decide. Whatever you see in me is exactly what I want you to see in me. I think everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and I don’t want to tell people how to feel about me.
I know from when we’ve met and talked that you have a very tight knit family! Whats it like working so closely with your brother?
It sort of depends. He is my best friend, so sometimes it is really, really easy because of that, but other times it is hard because of that. Because we’ve known each other our whole lives and because we’re best friends.
We’re real with each other and know everything about each other. There’s no space, there’s no emptiness. We kind of know everything and are a huge part of each other’s lives so our creating goes hand in hand with that.
How do you guys compliment each other?
Finneas is a really incredible writer and producer – and everything, really. But, as a writer in general, he is just so easily amazing. It just flows out of him naturally. It is his forte and for me it isn’t. Singing is my forte and knowing exactly what I want and how I want things to sound like and the vision.
So, they kind of go hand in hand. I write a lot of melodies so sometimes he’ll write the lyrics and I’ll write the melodies. And when he produces my stuff, I sit with him and we talk about what sounds good and “let’s change this and let’s do this. Let’s make this longer.” I mean it is always different, but these things keep us synced.
Do you write all your music together as well?
Most of it. Sometimes he writes a whole song and he’ll bring it to me and say, “Here’s a song I wrote,” and I will love it. Or, I will write a song that is just me and then I will bring it to him and we will add to it or not. It is always different, which keeps it interesting and keeps us from writing the same song every time.
How would you describe your sound?
I wouldn’t, really. Again, I like to leave that up to other people to figure out and to want to know. I mean, from my point of view I don’t really have “a sound” or a genre because I think with music, if it is good, it’s good. It doesn’t matter what kind of song it is or what kind of artist it is – it is art and if you like it you like it.
Who, if you had to choose, inspired you to start making music?
It is a lot of people and it is also no one, because I just wanted to do it from the beginning. Maybe Aurora, Lana Del Rey, and Tyler the Creator. Actually, Tyler and Childish Gambino were the people who made me want to be an “artist,” and “make art” – not just do music or just make clothing or whatever. They are really good examples of artists who are doing everything they can.
What is your background in music like?
I always sang, ever since I was little. I joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus when I was eight and that is how I learned to read music and how to take care of my voice. We sang in a lot of different languages, so that was cool.
My mom is a songwriter and she taught me how to write songs. I didn’t officially take any piano or guitar lessons. My dad taught me some chords on the piano and then I just taught myself. And YouTube is kind of my best friend for that. You can learn anything on YouTube.
What do you want people to take away from your songs?
I would say, I talk about wanting to get more out there in the world and that doesn’t mean fame at all because, fuck that, I never want more of that. But, what I mean is that I want to get more known by people so that they can “feel” me.
Have a piece of art that they can keep as theirs and relate to and even “own” – almost more than I do. And if I am saying something that someone else feels and they didn’t even know that they felt that way, that’s what I want.
How do you see your sound shifting with you as you grow up? How have you seen it change since your first single?
Yes, I see it changing for sure and it already has. I am going to make music in different genres my whole life. If I want to make a song that is a completely different genre than people think I make, that won’t stop me.
How did you enjoy collaborating with Vince Staples on your remix? Are you interested in collaborating more with different artists?
It was tight. It was really crazy because I have been a fan of his for years and seen three of his shows and he is amazing. He is on the song because I was asked if I could get any artist to be on that song, who would I want and I said him and somehow he said yes.
I said him not even thinking it could possibly happen and it did. I have a lot of wishes for collaborating with other artists and I have, and hopefully those will come out soon.
What’s your dream collaboration?
I love collaborating with other artists. That is the kind of collaborating I like. More than writing with other writers or producers, I really love working with artists I love and respect and look up to as people.
I have been saying Tyler the Creator for a long time because he is so creative. I think Smino is a genius and I would love to see that first hand. I just think he is so smart and the way he works is really interesting to me.
You’ve been touring nonstop, how has it been connecting with fans all around the world?
Bro, it is crazy. It is so surreal. I can go to like, Milan, Italy, where I have never been in my life and see fans waiting in the freezing cold outside down the block. It’s insane to me. The idea that I have reached people that far away is just something I don’t understand. The internet is crazy. I don’t even understand.
What’s one thing you try to do in every city you travel to?
Not lose my mind and find something to eat – which isn’t always easy.
What are your essentials for tour if you had to choose 5?
Lotion, deodorant, hair products (my hair is high maintenance), toothbrush, and perfume. My mom’s list for essentials for me are humidifier, steamer, zicam, essential oils, and face masks for the plane.
If you were to cover a song acoustically what song would it be and why?
I have done it before many times, and have been asked to do it more lately. I guess there are a lot of songs I want to cover eventually, although I mostly enjoy writing and performing original songs and don’t think of myself as a cover artist.
What are your fashion essentials right now?
Chains, rings, hats, hoodies, and currently a fannypack.
Growing up in Los Angeles, have you found inspiration for your music or style from the musicians and artists who have come out of the LA/West Coast?
Yes, definitely. LA is kind of like art everywhere. It is kind of competitive so everybody is trying to be better which is both good and bad. I sort of get inspired by anything. You can see the bottom of someone’s shoe and be inspired to turn that into something else. So, I have found inspiration from people everywhere. LA or somewhere else.
In this social media driven world, how do you choose to use it? Is it to connect to fans, to find inspiration, or to express yourself?
Social media is kind of hard right now, so I don’t know. I try to sort of connect with as many people that support me and love me as I can, because they are the reason I am who I am and exist as an artist. Now, though, I try to stay off of social media. I go on my phone and look at stuff but I think, especially at this point, it kind of makes me go crazy so, fuck it.
Photos by Jacqueline Kulla
Set by Kade Jones
Art Direction by Lisa Yoo
Lighting by Diego Patino
Styling by Samantha Burkhart
Makeup by Robert Rumsey
Hair by Joseph Chase
Shot at Mack Sennett Studios