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The Highs and Lows of Being Billie Eilish

The singer hit Record in her bedroom and her world exploded. Now she makes sense of it all.

12.9.2019

“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m finally okay,” billieeilish told ELLE. “For anybody who isn’t doing well, it will get better. Have hope. Being famous is great, but it was horrible for a year. Now I love what I do, and I’m me again.” ELLEWIM

The singer hit Record in her bedroom and her world exploded. Now she makes sense of it all.

for"all the good girls go to hell." By nightfall, it had been viewed over 5 million times.

Eilish is neither the commercially Napoleonic Taylor Swift nor an insomniac version of girl-next-door Britney Spears. She is the sister and daughter of something closer to homegrown. She is Billie Eilish before a hit song or an album campaign—a person before a phenomenon.

It’s 11:45 a.m., and Eilish is in the kitchen. You can hear her roar (“Argh!”) every time Baird opens the door to check up on her as she FaceTimes a child with leukemia for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The house may be her empire’s HQ, but it’s keeping her humble. There’s only one poster on the wall and one framed review from the Los Angeles Times. Both are for the 2013 movie

When she gets off the phone, Eilish attacks like a friendly Rottweiler.“Hello!” she says, almost jumping in the air. She’s not as mobile today because she’s finally resting her sprained ankle—one of countless injuries incurred from her onstage pogo-ing. “Ew!” she says about injuries.

She admits, “This was the first tour I enjoyed. That means I haven’t really enjoyed the rest of them.” The earlier tours were stressful. Eilish’s meteoric fame became too great for her environment; the smaller venues weren’t equipped to keep her safe. Sometimes it wasn’t smart to meet fans outside. “When there are a thousand people outside, nobody’s going through security; I don’t know that you’re all here for me, or for good things. It’s such a bummer.” She has security now, and the venues are bigger. She also brings friends on the road. “I need people. I’m a people person,” she says. “For a while, I would be gone for months and wouldn’t see my friends. I’d come back, and they wouldn’t be friends with me anymore. That’s not their fault. You’re not gonna forget me, but you’re gonna forget what it felt like to love me. It sucked.”

The way Eilish performs sets her apart from mainstream pop stars predating her. Her shows aren’t about displaying her voice perfectly or fabricating some fantastical escape from reality. They’re a place where Eilish can unpack her truest emotions onstage. The energy is more like a hardcore show than a pop spectacle.

On her European tour in February, Eilish got shin splints in both calves.

Her music is emblematic of this: soft and jazzy in her voice, but couched in hard-driving, beats-driven production. That’s the way teenagers have to be now—steely on the outside, but tender at the core.

She says she prefers listening to music to making it. Conveniently, her brother is the opposite. Old home videos show Eilish doing hand-stands in the living room while Finneas plays the piano. “He wanted to make music, and I liked feeling it, singing to it, listening to it.” Performing to it? “Yeah,” she says.

“I was just making songs with my brother. Now it’s like a thing: I’m this artist who’s going against the whatever-the-fuck.” She puts her hands up. “Where?! I wasn’t saying, ‘Fuck pop!’ I was just making what I wanted.”

If my parents had said,‘Here’s a guitar, here’s a microphone, sing and write,’ I would have been like,‘Goodbye! I’m gonna go do drugs.’”

A few days ago, Eilish wrote something down to share with friends, and it describes a new feeling.“I’m finally—” she says, hesitating. “I’m finally not miserable.” When Eilish looks back at interviews, even from the start of this year, it reminds her of how much she was suffering.

Happiness is a “crazy” feeling, she says. “I haven’t been happy for years. I didn’t think I would be happy again. And here I am—I’ve gotten to a point where I’m finally okay. It’s not because I’m famous. It’s not because I have a little more money. It’s so many different things: growing up, people coming into your life, certain people leaving your life. All I can say now is, For anybody who isn’t doing well, it will get better. Have hope. I did this shit with fame riding on my shoulders. And I love fame! Being famous is great, but it was horrible for a year. Now I love what I do, and I’m me again. The good me. And I love the eyes on me.”

Eilish can’t go out in the neighborhood. “No, I can’t go anywhere,” she says. “But that’s okay. What am I gonna do? Go get some soap? At some store? Ha-ha, I’m good.” Sometimes she wishes she could press a button and stop it all for 10 minutes. “When I go to the airport,” she says. “I wish I could turn it off then. When I’m in the plane and two girls come and tap me on the fucking face and take a picture of me while I’m trying to sleep. Don’t get me wrong—I love every person that gives any fucks about me. But there are lines. People forget what respect is.”

she shrieks."At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs!" She's a minor, and even CNN wrote a story about Eilish's boobs.

Read more: ELLE Magazine (US)

billieeilish where’s the nicki cover

The Highs and Lows of Being Billie Eilish“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m finally okay,” billieeilish told ELLE. “For anybody who isn’t doing well, it will get better. Have hope. Being famous is great, but it was horrible for a year. Now I love what I do, and I’m me again.” ELLEWIM billieeilish Billie is a strong person with people around her who care but fame on a huge scale can be tough enjoy your fame Billie

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The Highs and Lows of Being Billie Eilish“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m finally okay,” billieeilish told ELLE. “For anybody who isn’t doing well, it will get better. Have hope. Being famous is great, but it was horrible for a year. Now I love what I do, and I’m me again.” ELLEWIM billieeilish Billie is a strong person with people around her who care but fame on a huge scale can be tough enjoy your fame Billie

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