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What's the deal with… Billie Eilish?

Meet the precocious LA singer who's impassioned pop will make you feel all fuzzy inside

Lisa Wright
Written by
Lisa Wright

Billie Eilish? How come I’ve been hearing that name around so much lately?
Because she’s one of the buzziest new US pop stars on the block. Having uploaded debut single ‘Ocean Eyes’ to SoundCloud back in 2016, the subsequent viral success of the song caused a good old-fashioned label scrum. Now Eilish is a fully paid-up major label star in the making. At South by South West last month, she was the talk of the town and everyone else is getting in a tizz about the LA singer too. Oh yeah… she’s only 16.

Sixteen! That reminds me of another young Billie…
Yes, but that’s where the similarities end between Eilish and Piper. You won’t find Billie E shouting playground chants about turning the music up any time soon. Instead, she’s a very modern kind of pop star. Read: terrifyingly worldly and mature for her minimal years, singing about love and relationships with impressively sassy nuance. Take the opening of ‘My Boy’: ‘My boy loves his friends like I love my split ends / And by that I mean, he cuts ’em off’.

When did teenagers become so cool?
We have no idea. Scary, isn’t it? Anyway, this one’s at the top of the pack, with the likes of Charli XCX, Vince Staples and Sofi Tukker all firmly in Team Billie. It’s not just hype, either. Landing somewhere between Sky Ferreira’s icy detachment and the tougher end of Lana Del Rey’s stylised melancholy, last year’s debut EP ‘dont smile at me’ (because capital letters are for squares) was a pop masterclass.

Sounds good. What should I listen to first?
You could start with ‘Copycat’, which channels Lana DR’s ‘Off to the Races’ and is a deliciously pissed-off modern pop song that pits siren coos about someone trying to ‘cop my glamour’ with subtle, menacing synths. Recent single ‘bitches broken hearts’, meanwhile, is simply a flat-out gorgeous R&B slow jam.

Is she coming to the UK soon?
Well, you just missed her recent headline show at Heaven, but she’ll no doubt be back over soon. Or, if you fancy a bit of a holiday, she’s already announced festival dates in America and Japan this summer. Why not, eh?

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