Billie Eilish: A Gen Z Pop Star Prodigy

January 29 - Sarah Ashlock


If you’re a band’s #1 fan from day one, then you definitely have opinions about the progression of their music. “Their third album is total garbage!” “They’ve sold out!” Sound familiar? I have definitely been there, and honestly, I stand by it. It got me thinking about how it’s actually much, much weirder for people to stay the exact same. If a 30-year-old dude from your hometown is no different from when he was 15, that’s odd. You see, we’re supposed to evolve, hopefully into a better version of ourselves. With age comes a clearer picture of who you are and what matters to you. When it comes to some of my go-to singers who have lost my favor, that’s OK; they’re allowed to reinvent. And isn’t it so special that we’ve seen their progression?

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 16.8 Percent

I remember after going to a concert with a friend, I thought a way for us to bond together would be to get a tattoo related to the band. She looked at me as if I were crazy, explaining that we might not like them in a decade. Five years later, I realized she was kind of right. As integral as music is to the human experience, a surprising amount of musicians don’t reflect the fact that half of the world is made up of women. For example, in 2017, less than a quarter of musicians, or 16.8 percent, were of the female persuasion.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Billie Eilish, Singer and Songwriter

Though our parents and grandparents might argue that music isn’t what it used to be, I beg to differ. Sure, we’re not sitting around the radio, trying to call in to win a limited edition Troll doll. But thanks to our digital connectivity, we’re discovering musicians from Shanghai to San Jose. Today’s young Woman to Watch, Billie Eilish, might just be that next most-played artist on your Pandora account.

Vogue called Billie “Pop’s Next ‘It’ Girl” for her breakout single “Ocean Eyes.” Take a listen and you’ll be singing it (poorly) to yourself all week. Billie’s brother wrote the song and she uploaded it to music platform SoundCloud. A year later, Interscope Records signed her and ever since, she’s been met with some astounded listeners. For one, they’re blown away that a 17-year-old could such sing harrowing lyrics in such an angelic manner. Harper’s Bazaar called her a pop prodigy for her blissful melodies and social media prowess.

Billie credits some of the creativity that’s driven her stardom to her homeschooling days. Yep, that’s right. Billie was homeschooled. Growing up, she once made a claw machine out of cardboard, filled it with her stuffed animals and let kids play with it for keeps. Being homeschooled, she says, gave her the time and freedom to explore new hobbies, like making music.

Billie has spoken up about how she has Tourette's syndrome after a video compilation of her tics hit the web. Described as a neurological disorder causing a person to have physical and/or verbal tics, Tourette’s is something Billie doesn’t want to be defined by. Though she was thrown into the limelight during the social media era, she takes advantage of it: Through platforms like Instagram, Billie can craft her own narrative. Despite her struggles, Billie calls this time in her life a dream and the job of creating music a reward.


As Billie Eilish said:

"I'm trying to show everybody that I'm a girl, and I'm five foot four, and you can do anything you want, no matter your gender. It's your world, too!"

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