If you’re a member of Gen-Z, you’re likely already familiar with Billie Eilish. If you're anyone else, and aren’t into keeping up with what the teens deem as cool, "Billie Eilish" might just sound like some form of Celtic slang.
But Billie Eilish is, in fact, a pop star -- and an incredibly strange one at that. Within just two years of her young career, the 17-year-old solo artist born and raised in LA has subversively and rapidly become one of the biggest, most interesting names in pop music.
In many ways, her story is one that mirrors most acts who’ve burst onto music scenes in the digital age: a track goes viral via Soundcloud and catches the attention of industry heads. Then, basically overnight, they’ve garnered a record deal and millions of Spotify plays. Eilish followed this same path, beginning with the release of her emotional single "Ocean Eyes," which she wrote in collaboration (like she does all of her songs) with her now 21-year-old brother Finneas O’Connell, while they were homeschooled together. Listeners and blogs took notice, and she ended up signing with hot record label Interscope's roster, among heavy-hitting names like Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga. Three years later, "Ocean Eyes" is certified platinum, a handful of Eilish's tracks have reached nearly half a billion streams, and she's gone on to be the subject of an expansive New York Times profile.
But there’s something about Eilish that comes off as an anomaly for successful mainstream pop artists. Her music and videos are incredibly depressing, if not outright disturbing, and she dresses like a hypebeast who'd be first in line for the latest Supreme drop. Trendy teenagers literally lose their minds over anything she does -- just check any footage from any of her sold-out concerts or 2018 Lollapalooza set. This all very thrilling, though, because her vulnerability, seductive goth-ness, and innovations in alt-pop production is what the mainstream landscape could use -- especially if young people see the heartbreaking anthems she's preaching as their remedy to teen angst.