How Billie Eilish became one of the world's most famous teenagers
In 2016, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell started working on the album that would propel her to global stardom.
Back then, they were creating music in a tiny bedroom studio at their parents’ home in California, not thinking it would “win anything, ever”.
Following its release last year, the highly anticipated When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? topped the charts in the UK, the US and around the world, and made Eilish a household name.
After celebrating her 18th birthday on 18 December, just a few weeks later it was announced the singer would become the youngest artist ever to record the James Bond theme, following in the footsteps of the likes of Adele and Sam Smith.
These add to an ever-growing collection which already includes two American Music Awards, two Guinness World Records and three MTV Video Music Awards.
Born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the young singer hails from Los Angeles and was raised in a musical family.
A fan of The Beatles and Linkin Park, and inspired by young Norwegian singer Aurora, she began writing songs at the age of 11, and also joined the Los Angeles Children’s Choir.
She has garnered a loyal fanbase since breaking onto the scene in 2015 with her debut single Ocean Eyes, which was written by her brother.
But it was Bad Guy which propelled her to number one for the first time on the US Billboard Hot 100.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was reported to be the highest-selling debut album of 2019 and the biggest North American debut of the decade, shifting 313,000 units in the first week.
Eilish also became the youngest female solo artist to score a number one album in the UK. Just a few weeks later, it was announced her performance at Glastonbury 2019 was being bumped up the Other Stage, the festival’s second biggest, to cope with her soaring numbers of fans.
This year, Eilish will embark on her Where Do We Go? world tour, with dates in Europe, South America and North America, as well as five dates in the UK.
The teenager has spoken openly about dealing with mental health issues, including anxiety, self-harm and depression, since the age of 13.
She was diagnosed with Tourette’s as a child, and has said the syndrome can make “easy things a lot harder”.
Just a few days before the Grammys, she spoke about having suicidal thoughts in an interview with The Gayle King Grammy Special.
“I was so unhappy last year,” she said. “I was so unhappy and I was so like, joyless.
“I don’t want to be too dark, but I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it to 17.”
Eilish credits her fans and their response to her shows with helping her get through those dark times.
So her Grammys thank-you to music fans at being named best new artist was fitting.
“They’re the only reason any of us are here at all.”
The singer seemed shocked every time her name was called.
“This is my first Grammys. I never thought this would happen in my whole life,” she said. “I genuinely wanna say I am so grateful and I only wanna say that I am so grateful.”
With her star continuing to rise, it looks likely to be the first of many.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK
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