Billie Eilish is 20 years old, her hair is dyed green and her videos generate 400 views per minute on YouTube. His followers on Instagram went from 47 to 106 million during the night of January 26, 2020, when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States gave him the five most important: Best New Artist, Recording, Song and Album of the Year and Pop Vocal Album.
The fifth time Eilish took the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to collect her award, she fell silent. The cameras detailed her hands wrapped in gloves Gucci, like his clothing adorned with the logo of the Italian firm. At that time she checked if she forgot to mention anyone in her previous speeches and since she didn’t, she just said thank you and walked off the stage.
Amid applause, the Academy reminded the artist that she had become the first woman to win all the recording awards of the year in the same edition and the second person, only after Christopher Cross did it in 1981.
“It is not unusual what happened with Eilish. He began his musical career at the age of 11 when he wrote his first song, he released his first hit with the help of his brother at 13 through Soundcloud and shows an important lyrical maturity with which many young people identify,” says María Isabel de los Ríos, an expert in music business from South Hampton College in New York, founder and director of Red Music Entertainment.
A movie start
Patrick O’Connell and Maggie Baird, musicians, actors, screenwriters, songwriters and parents of Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell (yes, that’s her full name) decided that their daughter, along with her brother Finneas O’Connell, would be educated at home.
This bet left the Eilish brothers with a lot of free time, who were surrounded by guitars, pianos, keyboards, drums and even a sound console. From there they began to compose and draw the attention of the world’s major record companies, who were alerted to an unusual movement of Internet users that caused a reaction in young people through the SoundCloud platform.
“We are still making music together in the room. This message goes out to all children who do the same. I assure you that one day you will have one of these,” Finneas said, pointing to the Grammy statuette.
“When we talk about such a creative aspect as music, time counts. Working without pressure and without the obligation to meet certain deadlines gave these brothers the ability to do something unique,” says de los Ríos.
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Sound of silence
“When Eilish makes music in a room with her brother, she is not thinking about pleasing people, something that does not happen in Latin America, where we stick to this rule so much that almost all artists follow a pattern dictated by the market,” explains Benny. Guevara, producer of Audio Lirica Entertainment, a Colombian production company.
Hence, unlike other artists, Eilish decides to lower the volume, give relevance to the bass and put silence as the protagonist to accentuate the contrasts in her songs, as de los Ríos explains: “The music industry is saturated with pop sounds , with those sound brilliances that become even scandalous. Hence the success of Eilish, who shows that people want to go back to basics with slower and quieter songs.
Guevara, for his part, finds in Eilish clear influences from soul, R&B, trap and electronica: “Because of her way of breaking standards she reminds me of Amy Winehouse, with an air of Marilyn Manson, with R&B vocal melodies and a mixture of genres. who are influenced by Finneas, his right-hand man.”
There is not point of comparation
When Eilish received her Grammy for Best Album of the Year, she said: “Can I say that Ariana deserves it?”, to which the public applauded and at the same time sparked a conversation on Twitter in which Lana del Rey fans assured that Eilish used the same formula as the 34-year-old New Yorker.
“There is no point of comparison, the musical quality of Eilish cannot be compared to that of Lana del Rey. In addition, she has a very important factor and that is her age and personality. At the awards she didn’t have to show skin, because her music is more important to her than her body. She is the anti-star that everyone wants”, highlights de los Ríos.
On the other hand, Guevara says that Eilish, in addition to having the talent, knew how to surround herself with the right people. “She has Universal Music, which is one of the strongest multinationals in the world, and Interscope Records, which gives them the freedom to compose. They are also clear that they are not doing what everyone else does and that they do not need five producers, ten arrangers and four people to write a song, as it happens with others. It’s quite a phenomenon.”
Lyrics that go beyond love and heartbreak
Billie Eilish does not write about her love problems or adolescence, which is a valid formula in the music industry. The young woman, along with her brother, prefers to deal with more transcendental issues such as that humanity is the world’s flu and that is why she should be in hell, as she says in her song All the good girls go to hell.
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“She’s a girl who must have listened to a lot of soul music for what she does. It has metaphorically heavy lyrics, which, although they are not new, once again set a pattern, as Marilyn Manson, Papa Roach or Korn did at the time, which have nothing to do with what is aesthetically acceptable”, comments Guevara.
Meanwhile, de los Ríos recalls that this success has been seen in Adele’s careers for her vocal projection, or in Michael Jackson’s, with his talent for singing and dancing. “In the case of Eilish we are talking about a super developed talent at her young age, she manages to talk to the entire generation about her at the end of the day.”
With 18 years and five Grammy awards in her pocket, Billie Eilish is ready to start a new facet of her career, where her music will have more echo and her networks will be saturated with likes.
Now it only remains to wait if his formula will last longer, or will he have to change his strategy, as Guevara recalls with Eminem’s career. “It’s just like when this young white guy came out, rapping to a mostly black community and making his space. Ten years after that he had to release a standard song with Rihanna to stay current.”
However, de los Ríos is more optimistic: “I think he will have a successful career. Turning 18 is a turning point, but it will surely bring a promising future. It has music, style and lyrics.”
Finally, Billie Eilish, with her blue eyes and her nose that sometimes bleeds, is the one who decides her life and her future: “If I want to finish everything I’m doing, I’ll do it. If tomorrow I want to be someone else, I’ll do it. I don’t like closing doors, you know? I just do what I want, I don’t do it to please people, ”she commented in an interview with Billboard.
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Billie Eilish: the “antistar” that everyone wants
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