Ian Streeter ‘20, Social Media Manager
As 2019 comes to a close, it is appropriate that we embark on one of the biggest events of the year: the meteoric rise to fame of 17-year-old singer Billie Eilish.
Before mid-2017, Eilish was relatively unknown on a national scale. Despite pursuing friendships with at-the-time upcoming artists such as Khalid and being signed to Interscope Records, she failed to score hits with early songs such as “ocean eyes,” which was released in November 2016, and “bellyache,” which was released in February 2017. However, due to the inclusion of “ocean eyes” in the movie Everything, Everything as well as her recording music for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, she started to gain some attention. Her EP dont smile at me first entered the Billboard 200 in the fall of 2017. Her success continued into the following year when she recorded “lovely” with the aforementioned Khalid for yet another season of 13 Reasons Why, and it became her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Around the time this song was initially popular was when eighth grader Emma Streeter first became aware of Eilish as an artist, describing her as “really talented”. Due to the continued success of this single, her growing social media presence, and her working with even more established artists such as Denzel Curry, Eilish had found herself rising from an artist in the making to an international star within the span of just a year.
She had still not seen even a fraction of what was to come. After the release of singles such as “you should see me in a crown” and “when the party’s over” that performed moderately well, Eilish announced her debut full-length album, when we all fall asleep, where do we go?, which was eventually released in March 2019. It was massive right out of the gate, debuting at #1 on the weekly Billboard 200, becoming the most streamed album of the entire year, and as the biggest album of all of 2019 according to Billboard. In addition, its accompanying single “bad guy” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent a total of thirty weeks in the top ten of that chart, which is only three weeks off of the current record. On this fact, senior Jacob Field said: “It’s really impressive that she was able to do that.” That same year, she collaborated with Justin Bieber and was shouted out as an example of the future of music by older artists such as Thom Yorke of Radiohead. She seems consciously aware of her meteoric rise to success as well: in October 2017, 2018, and 2019, Eilish was given the exact same interview by Vanity Fair and one of the questions she received was “How many Instagram followers do you have?” In 2017 she answered 257,000, in 2018 she answered 6.3 million, and in 2019 she answered 40.7 million. When presumably asked what she thought of her far lower numbers in 2017 and 2018 compared to what she had in 2019, she reacted in complete disbelief.
With the release of her new single, “everything i wanted”, a touching piano ballad about suicide which has already reached #8 on the Hot 100 within a few weeks of its release, it appears that she is already prepared to continue the massive amount of success that she has gained throughout 2018 and 2019. This is undoubtedly a good sign for any young artist or female artist that is interested in pursuing a career as a star.
Photo courtesty of udiscovermusic.com