Photo: Paras Griffin/WireImage
Billie Eilish: "People Underestimate The Power Of A Young Mind"
It’s not a stretch to say that Billie Eilish is breaking traditional stereotypes. Amidst the 17-year-old’s singer/songwriter’s critical success is a love for oversized clothing and unconstrained use of the middle finger, all of which has the media debating her “It Girl” and “Pop Star” status.
Since releasing her first single in 2016, Eilish has caught the attention of a lot of fans with her singles and her Don't Smile At Me EP, which showcases her soothing vocals and R&B-pop sound.
The EP has reached over a billion streams and her 1 By 1 tour sold out in under a minute in 2018. This is still just the beginning for her; Apple Music Beats 1's Zane Lowe has said that 2019 will be hers "for the taking." And with her long-awaited debut studio album due sometime this year, there's no doubt that Eilish has much more to show the world.
In a new interview with NME, the Los Angeles native gets candid about some of the conversations about her, revealing her thoughts on age and gender, the double standards women face in the music industry, and how, because of her gender, people might feel like they have a right to comment on her life and appearance.
"If I was a guy and I was wearing these baggy clothes, nobody would bat an eye. There’s people out there saying, ‘Dress like a girl for once! Wear tight clothes you’d be much prettier and your career would be so much better!’ No it wouldn’t. It literally would not," she said.
Negative comments on her social media (she currently has 11 million followers on Instagram and almost one million on Twitter) keep her out off of social platforms. “F**k that sh*t. I just don’t wanna see all the horrible things people say," she said. But the negativity has not kept her from using her platform for change and inspiring young people.
"People underestimate the power of a young mind that is new to everything and experiencing for the first time,” she said. "We’re being ignored and it’s so dumb. We know everything."
In the fall, Eilish worked with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to get eligible people to register to vote during the midterm elections in November. "Bro, teenagers know more about the country that we’re living in right now than anybody," she said.
The singer also reveals that she didn't have a wealthy upbringing, as some might assume. Eilish grew up in a historically underserved neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles called Highland Park, which lately has been experiencing changes due to gentrification.
"Highland Park has become popular now but growing up there, it was not like that at all,” she said. "There were gunshots and shit, y’know – it was really sketchy. People just have a different vision of how I was raised and that’s not correct."
While people wait for her album to drop, Eilish has been busy booking festival performances. She recently announced her Coachella performance in April, and late last year shared that she will be at Stockholm's Lollapalooza in June. Eilish will also tour Europe in Feb.