Billie Eilish At The 2020 Oscars Finally Made Me a Billie Eilish Stan
When I first heard the name Billie Eilish, I gotta be honest — I wasn’t an immediate fan.
Granted, my first introduction to the eighteen-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer was in 2018, via a recommendation from an ex-friend of mine who thrived on listening to the likes of Halsey, Troye Sivan, and Charlotte Lawrence, amongst other EDM-influenced artists. I’d often find him in the college library, headphones atop his head, totally zoning out to whatever music was playing in his ears. When I would ask him what he was listening to, more than half the time Billie Eilish was his answer.
I’d watch him do this constantly, and yet I couldn’t understand what made him so bonkers over Eilish’s music.
“You have to give her a chance,” he would repeatedly tell me after catching him bop his head for the gazillionth time to yet another Eilish track. “There’s something hypnotic about her voice and attention to music.”
So… I tried to do just that.
I spent some time attempting to listen to “Ocean Eyes,” “Bored,” and “Lonely (feat. Khalid).” I watched her music videos, bringing me more confusion than before I typed into YouTube. I even watched her famous “Same Interview” series she did with Vanity Fair.
Despite my deep dive into what exactly makes Billie Eilish so appealing… I still couldn’t figure it out.
One year and one major friendship fallout later, I found myself sitting in my family den, watching the premiere episode of the 44th season of “Saturday Night Live,” where lo and behold — Billie Eilish was the musical guest. I wasn’t thrilled to see her on the television screen, but as a long-time fan of SNL, it was my duty to watch the musical performance.
I didn’t want to admit it, but I found Eilish’s live performance of her smash hit “Bad Guy” fascinating. Everything about it was so cool — from her confident bad-assery (aka just how comfortable she was while moving onstage) to watching her climb the walls of the makeshift set. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but… maybe there was something in Eilish that I was starting to see and understand.
But that got me wondering: what was it that was getting me to see her charm?
Was it Eilish’s quirky and unapologetic sense of humor whenever she appeared on any late-night talk show? I was laughing with her never-ending jokes and her give-no-fucks attitude. She’s clearly likable, with her 3.6 million Twitter followers and her staggering 53.2 million Instagram followers, boasting from Drake and Justin Bieber to Avril Lavigne, who Eilish has said was “everything to her” growing up.
(Side note: is there an app that could give me the same following she has? I’d really like to know).
Was it Eilish’s approach to fashion? In a Calvin Klein ad that ran last year, the singer said that the reason she adopted an androgynous taste in fashion is so that no one has the chance to sexualize her body. “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath,” she tells in the ad — and I have to give her props for sticking to her guns and not bending to the societal norms for how an American woman should behave.
But despite every reason I could give of what I liked Eilish — there was something in my head that still made me wonder about what exactly made her America’s teen musical sweetheart.
After watching the 2020 Oscars, I finally got it.
As I watched Eilish perform her rendition of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” during the “In Memoriam” segment of this year’s ceremony, it struck me just how talented the singer actually was.
In an uncharacteristic move, Eilish, dressed tastefully in a modest black ensemble and a simple, pulled-back hairstyle, sang with only a piano (played by her brother and music producer, Finneas O’Connell) as the backing music, letting her true voice shine. As the photo montage of the Hollywood names we lost played behind her, Eilish let the world be vulnerable along with her. She gave her all into the three minutes without all the hoopla and lights. She found light and positivity to a very somber moment. And I — along with the millions of people watching — became enamored with the singer.
Billie Eilish stripped away the persona she built for herself — and I found a sincere young woman that I not only want to be friends with, but someone I could madly respect.
So am I going to be blasting “Bad Guy” or “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” any time soon? Maybe. But I’m going to ride with Billie and I can’t wait to see what comes next from her long and certainly illustrious career.