To put it mildly, Billie Eilish is having a moment. She made history at the 2020 Grammy awards by being the youngest singer to ever win an award in all four of the main categories. If that’s not enough, she is also the only woman to win those four major awards in the same evening.
Despite her mega-fame and insane success, there are things about Billie Eilish that many people just don’t know. This includes secrets about her family, her background, and even the motivations behind her hit music. Here is the untold truth of Billie Eilish.
The Brother From the Same Mother
Over the years, Eilish had a little help becoming a musical sensation. However, his name is unfamiliar to the general public: Finneas Baird O’Connell.
O’Connell (known better as Finneas) is the brother of Billie Eilish. He’s had his own creative career (including roles as an actor and a singer and songwriter for a group known as The Slightlys) over the years. But he really hit his stride working with his sister.
Finneas has written, co-written, and/or produced many of her biggest hits. Without his help, her music may have ended up dramatically different.
It’s pretty common to wonder how stars achieve fame. When it comes to Billie Eilish, fame came almost entirely by accident!
She trained in dance from a young age, and one of her dance teachers hit her up with a creative challenge: to write a song that she could choreograph a dance to.
With her brother’s help (he had previously written the song but thought it would sound better with his sister’s pipes), they put the song on Soundcloud for their teacher.
And the name of that song? “Ocean Eyes.” It became a viral online sensation and basically launched Billie Eilish to fame. Or, as she put it in an interview, “This changed my life.”
Hidden Medical Diagnosis
It’s human nature to wonder what medical issues our favorite stars may suffer from. This is just one more way we can see that stars are also regular people who also experience some of life’s really annoying moments.
For Eilish, that annoyance is Tourette’s. She suffers from small tics due to Tourrette’s that are imperceptible to most people. But when internet sleuths started wondering about the tics, she opened up about her diagnosis to her Instagram fans.
Understandably, Eilish didn’t want to talk about it at first. But by speaking up, she became an inspiration to others who have Tourrette’s.
From Zombies to Fame
It turns out that “Ocean Eyes” wasn’t the only hit song that came from a teacher’s assignment. In the case of the song “Fingers Crossed,” Eilish created a new hit with the help of two unexpected sources: her mom and The Walking Dead.
Her mother was a homeschool teacher for both Billie and Finneas. She assigned a pretty cool challenge: to produce a new song. And to do so, Billie had to watch a movie or TV show and write down things that could make for entertaining lyrics or hooks for a song.
The show she chose was The Walking Dead. And Eilish insists if you check out the song’s lyrics, you’ll find several bits of show dialogue and episode titles.
She Can Bust a Move
Billie Eilish is mostly known for her haunting music. However, we see her bust out some very silly dance moves in the music video for “Bad Guy.” As it turns out, you need serious training to look that silly!
She was trained as a dancer early on (remember, it was her dance instructor’s assignment that led to “Ocean Eyes”). According to Eilish, “Dance has always been my passion,” and she was very happy to belatedly provide choreographed moves for the “Ocean Eyes” music video.
If not for that love of dance, we would never even know about her insane musical talent.
Homeschooling: Key to Creativity
Homeschooling sometimes gets a bad rap among students, teachers, and parents. After all, most homeschooling experiences don’t provide too many chances to socialize with other people. But the upbringing of Billie Eilish highlights some of the greatest strengths of a homeschool background.
According to the singer, homeschooling allowed her to focus on what she was really passionate about “instead of doing something I was forced to learn.” And her assignments allowed her to channel her creativity, leading to awesome songs like “Fingers Crossed.”
Imagine if you had produced songs and created choreographed routines instead of playing boring games during PE. You might have become a musical star as well!
Emo and Empathy
For most singers, there is a big gap between their songs and their lives. It’s a bit like being in high school English, and the teacher needs to remind us about the difference between the writer and the speaker of a poem.
However, Billie Eilish keeps things pretty damn real. We can see that with her song “idontwannabeyouanymore.” This is a song about self-loathing, with a speaker who hates to look at herself in the mirror every day.
In an interview with Genius magazine, Eilish got very serious about her inspiration for that song. She said “I really… hate myself” and “you can feel so unbelievably lost and horrible and like you’re nothing and you’re invisible for no reason at all.”
And there it is. Billie Eilish is proof that even those on top of the world must deal with depression and anxiety quite regularly.
Nothing Scarier Than the Comments Section
Want to know what doesn’t help with depression and anxiety? The comments section!
Early in her career, Eilish embraced the role of troll and provocateur to her fans. In a 2017 interview, she said, “I like getting in people’s heads whether it be a good or bad thought. I don’t care if you think I look bad or you don’t like me. You’re still thinking about me, and I’m going around in your head.”
As you might imagine, this didn’t last that long. Less than two years after claiming she didn’t mind being judged by fans, Eilish admitted she now avoided social media due to fan commentary. She summed it up pretty nicely to NME: “I just don’t wanna see all the horrible things people say.”
Same, girl. Same.