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How Did Billie Eilish Get Famous? 8 Facts You Didn't Know About The GRAMMY-Winning Singer
From her raw songcraft to her inimitable voice to her creative bond with her brother FINNEAS, Billie Eilish is a pop superstar. Here are eight facts to know.
By now, it's safe to say that nobody sings like Billie Eilish.
Even at a pin-drop volume, her voice hits you in the solar plexus — which means it amounts to the ultimate vehicle for her astonishingly raw confessions.
Better yet, she has a collaborator bonded by blood: FINNEAS is a mighty musician in his own right, and their adventurousness and trust is part of the reason Eilish has become one of the most revered superstars of her generation.
At this point, you've probably heard Eilish's name, or at least one of her songs, out in the ether. But do you want to know more about what makes Eilish a pop phenom? Look no further than this handy factsheet, which provides a springboard for the seven-time GRAMMY winner to be part of your musical life.
Without further ado, here are eight common questions about the "Happier Than Ever" singer — and, of course, the answers.
What Is Billie Eilish's Real Name?
You're looking at it… well, somewhat. Because Eilish's full name is actually Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell — a mellifluous mouthful!
But when the Angeleno singer/songwriter stormed onto the music scene in the mid-2010s, she shortened it to the first and last name known the world over.
What Are Billie Eilish's Biggest Songs?
Well, from a GRAMMYs perspective, her biggest songs are the following:
"Bad Guy," which won GRAMMYs for Record Of The Year and Song of the Year at the 2020 GRAMMYs, and was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Pop Solo Performance.
"Everything I Wanted," which won a GRAMMY for Record Of The Year at the 2021 GRAMMYs, and was nominated for GRAMMYs for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
The titular theme from the James Bond flick No Time to Die, which won a GRAMMY for Best Song Written For Visual Media at the 2021 GRAMMYs.
Finally, "Happier Than Ever" was nominated for four GRAMMYs at the 2022 GRAMMYs — for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Music Video. (The hit single's namesake album was also nominated for Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.)
Is that the end of the story, though? Not at all — peep her Spotify numbers. “Bad Guy” leads the pack at more than 2 billion streams; “Lovely” (with Khalid) has 1.8 billion; “When the Party’s Over” has 1.3.
Plus, the RIAA database is another way to ascertain which songs made the biggest sales impacts.
Who Is Billie Eilish's Brother?
Why, none other than FINNEAS, who has worked with her throughout her young career and become her inseparable creative facilitator. Basically, whenever you hear an Eilish song, you're hearing her eight-time GRAMMY-winning brother, too. (He has one more golden gramophone than Eilish because he won a GRAMMY for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical in 2020.)
"There's a lot of bulls—t articles about me now, about how I'm not just Billie Eilish's brother. Just being Billie Eilish's brother is all I ever wanna be," FINNEAS once declared.
"I love Billie more than anything else," he continued, "and I'm so grateful to you and I love you."
What Is The Billie Eilish Documentary?
That would be the AppleTV+ documentary from 2021, Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry. Or, perhaps you're talking about the Disney+ music film Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles, which was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2022 for Best Music Film.
Was Billie EIlish's First Song "Ocean Eyes"?
While "Ocean Eyes" was the song to pluck her from the sea of aspiring SoundCloud stars and put her on the map, it actually wasn't her first single. Her debut single was "Six Feet Under," which dropped in 2016 — just one day before “Ocean Eyes.” (At press time, “Six Feet Under boasts more than 368 million streams on Spotify.)
How Many GRAMMYs Has Billie Eilish Won?
To date, Eilish has won seven GRAMMYs and received 17 GRAMMY nominations — and is the youngest artist to sweep the General Field categories, which she accomplished in 2020.
Eilish and FINNEAS have performed at the 2020 and 2021 GRAMMYs. But their most meaningful GRAMMY moment to date might be when she performed "Happier Than Ever" in a thunderstorm at the 2022 GRAMMYs — where she paid tribute to Taylor Hawkins. (But don't forget when Ringo gave them a shout-out!)
Is Billie Eilish Involved With The Fashion & Lifestyle Industries?
Absolutely — she's appeared at the Met Gala, released her own fragrance and made her mark with her variety of visual aesthetics, from high-end, oversized couture to a now-iconic green-and-black ombre hairdo.
Does Billie Eilish Have A New Album Coming?
Well, she just released two new songs, “TV” and “The 30th,” bundled together on Spotify as Guitar Songs. And even though she has released a new album every two years so far (2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and 2021’s Happier Than Ever), this points to new music just down the line — as she’s confirmed to the press.
However Eilish goes on to touch culture in a multitude of ways, it'll always come back to the music. Judging by how things have gone so far, she'll always have a legion of loyal fans patiently waiting for the next track.
Listen: Billie Eilish Releases New Song "What Was I Made For" For 'Barbie' Soundtrack: "Get Ready To Sob"
"This movie is gonna change your lives and hopefully, this song will too," Billie Eilish shared ahead of the release of "What Was I Made For." Check out the cut from the 'Barbie' soundtrack below.
The seven-time GRAMMY winner and 19-time nominee just released "What Was I Made For," her cut from the buzzy Greta Gerwig film — and it came with fair warning. "Get ready to sob," Eilish wrote on Instagram: crane your ear, and you can hear a tidal wave of tears worldwide.
Hushed and incisive in the most Eilishesque of ways, "What Was I Made For" is an emotional crusher with a minimum of musical ingredients. In the video, she wears a Barbie-esque blonde ponytail and getup, and takes inventory of the contents of a Barbie-themed box.
"I used to to float/ Now I just fall down/ I used to know, but I’m not sure now," she sings within brother FINNEAS' diaphanous soundworld. "What I was made for/ What was I made for?"
Eilish said in a statement that the video "makes me cryyyyy.. it means so much to me and i hope it will mean just as much to you. don’t have much to say other than that, i think it will speak for itself🫀 :’’’’) enjoy."
Check out the bright, shiny new Eilish song below, and keep watching this space for more information — and tunes — from the Barbie soundtrack.
Photo: Gerald Martineau/The The Washington Post via Getty Images
7 Artists Inspired By Their Mothers: Billie Eilish, Jacob Collier & More
In celebration of Mothers' Day, take a look at how moms have made a lasting and loving impact on artists including Tupac, Christina Aguilera and Dave Grohl.
These musicians honor their moms through everything from social media posts to actually sharing the stage. In recent years, Lizzo has been vocal about the importance of her mom's support (and supportive of her mom and sister parking a food truck outside of stadium concerts); John Legend praises his mom for always encouraging him to sing in school and church. Swift wrote a song in tribute to her mother’s cancer journey, while Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow have shared important lessons learned from thier moms. Beyoncé tells the world, "I got this s— from Tina."
For Mothers Day, GRAMMY.com honors seven more musicians who celebrate their remarkable moms.
Jacob Collier truly grew up in a house of music. The singer/songwriter was raised to love multiple instruments by his mother Suzie Collier, herself an internationally sought-after violinist and conductor who teaches at the Royal College of Music.
Naturally, Collier's music career began in the family home and recording YouTube videos in a room decked with instruments. For more than 10 years, the Colliers have shared themselves playing lively jazz standards and Christmas songs from this foundational space.
"Really, I was brought up with music as a second language," Collier reflected in an interview with The Irish Times. My mother was extremely encouraging of the sensitivities of my brain. It was this sense of curiosity but never pressure."
Several years and five GRAMMY Awards later, Collier delights his audiences with surprise duets with "Mamma Collier," where they speak this language (and rock fantastic matching jackets) of their own.
Christina Aguilera was taken by her mother, Shelly Loraine Kearns, for singing auditions at the age of 7 and it eventually landed her placement in the iconic "Mickey Mouse Club." Yet childhood was far from perfect for Aguilera. Much of her music written in adulthood is a testament to Kearns' strength and their shared experience of domestic abuse at the hands of her father.
"I watched my mom have to be submissive, watch her Ps and Qs or she's gonna get beat up," Aguilera recalled to Paper Magazine. In considering what kind of woman she wanted to become, she adds, "You can either be, unfortunately, so damaged by it that you take a turn for the worse, or you can feel empowered by it and make choices to never go down that route."
Aguilera powerfully honors her mom's survivorship in several songs, such as "Oh, Mother" and this vulnerable performance of "I'm OK," which offers the chorus: "Bruises fade father, but the pain remains the same… Strength is my mother for all the love she gave / Every morning that I wake I look back to yesterday / And I'm OK."
Afeni's story is as fascinating and complex as her son's. While pregnant with Shakur, Afeni faced a 350 year jail sentence on charges related to her affiliation with the Black Panther Party. She acted as her own attorney in court and served 11 months of the sentence, giving birth as a free woman. While she went on to battle addiction, she and Tupac reunited and she encouraged Shakur in using his creativity in the fight for justice.
This spring, the story continues through a five-part special with the same title on FX Network. 17 year old Shakur accounts in the trailer, "My mother taught me to analyze society and not be quiet."
"My mother taught me to analyze society and not be quiet," he late rapper says in the trailer for an FX docuseries about their relationship. "I think my mother knew that freedom wouldn’t come in her lifetime, just like I know that it won’t come in mine."
Billie Eilish has one of the most recognizable families in music, including her and FINNEAS' mother, Maggie Baird. Baird has appeared in multiple of her daughter's Vanity Fair interviews, documentary, and frequently travels on tour with her daughter. They share a mission in vegan activism and have received environmental awards for their efforts.
Most importantly, Eilish credits her mother for saving her life when she was feeling suicidal. Baird checked in regularly with her daughter giving her permission to take a break from the world stage at any point.
In a most recent birthday post, Eilish affectionately wrote of her mother, "You make the world go round. I told you yesterday that when I think about how much I love you, I want to sob and throw up."
In recent years, WILLOW played homage to her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, for Mother's Day. After a loving video tribute, she planned a surprise performance of a favorite song from Pinkett Smith's former metal band, Wicked Wisdom, alongside its original members. In which, WILLOW mirrors Pinkett Smith’s confidence and vocal range.
Throughout her childhood, WILLOW watched her mother perform with wonder. She elaborates, "I was my mom's biggest fan. Every night, I wanted to ride on the security guard's shoulders and watch her perform. She was a rock star, and I was living for Wicked Wisdom," WILLOW said. "I felt like it was only right for me to pay homage to a time in her life because she showed me what womaning up really is about."
This legacy comes through in WILLOW's most recent explorations in the worlds of alt and pop-punk.
Beyond a shared love of music, WILLOW, Pinkett Smith, and Jada's mother deepen their bond with their show Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch. In which, they share multi-generational, candid conversations on provocative topics ranging from race relations to forgiveness.
Camila Cabello and her mother, Sinuhe Estrabao, traveled far to get where she is today as an international pop-star. The two had a month-long journey when migrating from Cuba to the US when Cabello was six years old. Cabello shares in Popsugar, "I think the most important thing I've learned from my mom has been: You're human if you have fear, but you can't ever let it determine how hard you go at a situation. If anything, it should make you go harder — go for it all the way."
Though introverted, Cabello channeled this courage into making the decision to audition for "The X Factor" as a teenager.
When Cabello received Billboard's Breakthrough Artist Award, she began her acceptance speech by acknowledging her No. 1: "The only reason I am standing here on this stage, in this auditorium, on this soil in this country is because of one woman - and that's my mom."
Dave Grohl has an immense passion for a mother's role in a musician's life, and even hosts and executive produced the documentary series, "From Cradle to Stage." The series features interviews with rock stars and their moms; his own mother, Virgina Hanlon Grohl, wrote a book in 2017 with the same title.
In a NBC interview, Grohl said, "The relationship between a mother and their child — the mother and the artist — is maybe the most important relationship of any musician's life... It's the foundation of their understanding of love, and love is every artist's greatest muse. You know, every lyric you write is rooted in that."
Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MTV Entertainment
10 Artists Who Are Outspoken About Mental Health: Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Shawn Mendes & More
From Ed Sheeran to Janet Jackson, take a look at some of the major music stars who have shared their struggles with mental health — and helped fans feel supported and seen in the process.
Sharing mental health issues with close family or specialized medical professionals can be challenging enough. Add in the pressures of fame and being in the public eye, and any struggles are exponentially more difficult to cope with.
In recent years, though, mental health has become a much more widely discussed topic in celebrity culture. Several artists have used their music and their platform to open up about their own struggles with depression, anxiety and the like, from Bruce Springsteen to Selena Gomez.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, GRAMMY.com highlights the inspirational impact of music superstars who speak out about what they're going through, and how they manage their challenges. These 10 performers are making change through their courage and candor.
Ed Sheeran takes fans behind the curtain of his personal life and struggles with mental health in Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All. The four-episode docuseries, which is now streaming on Disney+, details the pain of losing his best friend Jamal Edwards and his wife Cherry Seaborn receiving a cancer diagnosis while she was pregnant with their daughter Jupiter.
"What I think is really great about the documentary is the themes that it explores, everyone goes through," Sheeran said at the New York City premiere on May 2, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Everyone goes through grief. Everyone goes through ups and downs of their mental health."
Sheeran dives deeper into his struggles — and is more vulnerable than ever before — on his latest album Subtract, which arrived on May 5. "Running from the light/ Engulfed in darkness/ Sharing my eyes/ Wondering why I'm stuck on the borderline," he sings on album cut "Borderline," which touches on battling suicide thoughts.
Like Sheeran, Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi also gave fans an incredibly upfront look at his mental health challenges in a documentary, How I'm Feeling Now. The new Netflix release details his experience with anxiety and Tourette's syndrome, taking viewers to physical therapy with Capaldi and discussing how his medication both helps and hurts the quality of his life.
Capaldi's second album, Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent (due May 19) will further explore his anxieties and vulnerability. While he has admitted it wasn't easy to be so raw in his music and on screen, Capaldi wants to make a difference in other people's lives. "If people notice things that are concurrent with what's going on in their life, then it's all been worth it," he told Variety.
While Billie Eilish's music has been raw and real from the start, her music has become increasingly more vulnerable throughout the years. Whether in her music or in interviews, the star has opened up about dealing with body dysmorphia, depression and thoughts of self-harm — hoping to inspire fans to speak up when they are hurting, and to know that it gets better.
"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help," she asserts in a 2019 video for Ad Council's Seize The Awkward campaign, which features stars discussing mental health.
"Kids use my songs as a hug," she told Rolling Stone earlier that year. "Songs about being depressed or suicidal or completely just against-yourself — some adults think that's bad, but I feel that seeing that someone else feels just as horrible as you do is a comfort. It's a good feeling."
As one of the most-followed stars on social media, Selena Gomez has often used her formidable presence to discuss her mental health and connect with others. In 2022, the singer launched a startup called Wondermind, which is focused on "mental fitness" and helping users maintain strong mental health.
Just a few months later, Gomez further chronicled her own mental health journey in an Apple TV+ documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, which shows extremes she's suffered with her depression and bipolar disorder. She has said she was initially hesitant to share the film, but ultimately reflected on how many others could be helped if she did.
"Because I have the platform I have, it's kind of like I'm sacrificing myself a little bit for a greater purpose," she explained in a 2022 cover story with Rolling Stone. "I don't want that to sound dramatic, but I almost wasn't going to put this out. God's honest truth, a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure I could do it."
In 2019, Shawn Mendes first publicly addressed his struggles with anxiety in the dynamic — and GRAMMY-nominated — hit "In My Blood." Three years later, the singer postponed his 2022 tour in order to focus on his mental health, opening up an important conversation to his legion of fans.
"The process was very difficult," he said in a February interview with Wall Street Journal. "A lot of doing therapy, a lot of trying to understand how I was feeling and what was making me feel that way. And then doing the work to help myself and heal. And also leaning on people in my life to help a little bit.
"It's been a lot of work, but I think the last year and a half has been the most eye-opening and growing and beautiful and just healing process of my life," he continued. "And it just really made me see how culture is really starting to get to a place where mental health is really becoming a priority."
Even an artist as successful and celebrated as Bruce Springsteen has faced depression. In his 2016 autobiography Born to Run, the 20-time GRAMMY winner cites a difficult relationship with his father and a history of mental illness in the family, sharing that he has sought treatment throughout his life.
"I was crushed between 60 and 62, good for a year, and out again from 63 to 64," he wrote in the book. In that time, he released his 2012 album, Wrecking Ball, which featured a raw track called "This Depression." "Baby, I've been down, but never this down I've been lost, but never this lost," he sings on the opening verse.
As his wife, Patti Scialfa, told Vanity Fair in 2016, "He approached the book the way he would approach writing a song…A lot of his work comes from him trying to overcome that part of himself."
The physical and emotional abuse suffered by the famous Jackson family is well-documented in books, documentaries and TV dramatizations. But it's only been in recent years that Janet Jackson has talked about her own depression, which she has referred to as "intense." Her son Aissa has helped her heal from mental health challenges that have followed her all of her life.
"In my 40s, like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value," she wrote in a 2020 ESSENCE cover story. "Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair."
After seeing global success with her debut single, "Ex's & Oh's," Elle King experienced the woes of sudden fame as well as a crumbling marriage. Her second album, 2018's Shake the Spirit, documented her struggles with self-doubt, medicinal drinking and PTSD.
"There's two ways out," she told PEOPLE in 2018, describing her marriage as "destructive," physically abusive and leading her to addiction. "You can take the bad way out or you can get help. I got help because I knew that I have felt good in my life and I knew I could get there again."
Certain public situations can trigger crippling anxiety attacks for Brendon Urie, who has been open about mental health concerns throughout his career. He can perform in front of thousands of fans, but he's revealed that being in the grocery store or stuck in an elevator for too long with other people are among some of his most uncomfortable scenarios in his life.
"You would never tell on the surface, but inside it's so painful I can't even describe," the former Panic! At The Disco frontman — who disbanded the group earlier this year to focus on his family — said in a 2016 interview with Kerrang.
Rapper Big Sean and his mother released a series of educational videos during Mental Health Awareness Month in 2021 — two years after the Detroit-born star started talking about his own long-held depression and anxiety publicly.
"I was just keeping it real because I was tired of not keeping it real," he said in an interview with ESSENCE in 2021. "I was tired of pretending I was a machine and everything was cool and being politically correct or whatever. I just was like, I'm a just say how I feel."
Like many of his peers, he hopes that his honesty will help others. "Whatever they can apply to their life and better themselves and maybe it just even starts a whole journey in a different direction as far as upgrading and taking care of themselves and bossing up themselves," he added. "Whatever they're trying to do, I hope it helps them get to that place."
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Met Gala 2023: All The Artists & Celebrities Who Served Fierce Looks & Hot Fashion On The Red Carpet, From Rihanna To Dua Lipa To Billie Eilish To Bad Bunny To Cardi B To Doja Cat & More
Fashion and music have always been inextricably linked, and the strong longs were on fully on display at the 2023 Met Gala — one of the most anticipated style events of the year. See the red carpet outfits from Rihanna, Lil Nas X, Anitta & more.
It's that time again! The 2023 Met Gala — one of the fashion bonanzas of the year — is in full force. And given that fashion has always been the yin to music's yang, GRAMMY winners and nominees were among the stars studding this glamorous, fashion-forward event.
Presented by gala co-chair Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and global editorial director of Condé Nast, the Met Gala this year is co-chaired by Penélope Cruz, Michaela Coel, Roger Federer and three-time GRAMMY winner Dua Lipa.
GRAMMY winners and nominees as well as today’s leading artists in music are already setting the Met Gala red carpet on fire, with everyone from Dua Lipa, Phoebe Bridgers, Rita Ora, David Byrne, rising rap sensation Ice Spice, and more showing off their fierce fashion looks. Plus, Rihanna and her partner ASAP Rocky made a last-minute surprise arrival on the 2023 Met Gala red carpet, setting the fashion and music worlds ablaze.
Below, check out some of the most eye-catching red carpet fashion looks from music’s biggest stars at the 2023 Met Gala.
Rihanna attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Dua Lipa arrives for the 2023 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2023, in New York | Photo: ANGELA WEISS / AFP
(L-R) Finneas O'Connell and Billie Eilish attend The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Bad Bunny attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Cardi B attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Doja Cat attends the 2023 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Lil Nas X attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Usher attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Sean "Diddy" Combs attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Phoebe Bridgers attends the 2023 Met Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Anitta attends the 2023 Met Gala the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Halle Bailey attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Janelle Monáe attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City | Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images