SITTING cross-legged on her brother’s bed, Billie Eilish looks like any other angst-ridden teenager as she angrily scrawls in a notebook.
But these are not words of frustration at unrequited love or a row with friends.
A new documentary follows Billie Eilish as she quickly becomes one of the world’s biggest and most critically acclaimed pop starsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
They are the lyrics to the new James Bond theme song.
This is how Billie, 19, and older brother Finneas, 23, write all their music together, crouched over notebooks and microphones in the small Californian family home they grew up in.
Footage of the surprisingly wholesome process is shown in new documentary film Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, out today on Apple TV+.
It starts with footage of Billie as a 16-year-old before the release of her 2019 multi-Grammy-winning first album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, co-written with Finneas.
Billie at home with her father PatrickCredit: AP:Associated Press
And it follows her path as she quickly becomes one of the world’s biggest and most critically acclaimed pop stars.
But it has not been an easy path to success for Billie.
Speaking aged 17, she matter-of-factly tells the camera: “To be honest with you, I never thought I’d make it to this age.
“I’m never happy. I feel the dark things. I’m bad at taking care of my mental health.”
She also reveals that she self-harmed aged 14 to 15, hiding razors around the house and locking herself in the bathroom to “make herself bleed”.
She states: “I thought I deserved it.”
Billie still lives at home with her mum Mary, above with the singer, and dad PatrickCredit: AP:Associated Press
In one interview, Billie said: “It’s funny. When anyone else thinks about Billie Eilish at 14, they think of all the good things that happened.
“But all I can think of is how miserable I was. How completely distraught and confused. Thirteen to 16 was pretty rough.”
With her dyed green hair and often surly expression, Billie may appear as every parent’s worst nightmare.
But she was a remarkably well-behaved and clean-living teenager.
Openly anti-drugs and alcohol, she said in an interview: “I’ve never got high, I’ve never smoked anything in my life.
The star talks about feeling ‘completely distraught and confused’ when she was in her early teens
“I don’t give a f**k, I never have. It’s just not interesting to me. I have other s**t to do.”
Mental illness has not been Billie’s only battle. She also suffers with Tourette’s syndrome, and footage in the film shows her having tics and twitches during stressful times on her tour.
After an online video emerged of her facial tics in 2019, she said: “It’s confusing when someone is making a weird face gesture or throwing out their neck.
“The internet hasn’t really seen the bad [tics] because I’m really good at suppressing them.
“The thing is, the longer you suppress them, the worse they get afterwards.
Speaking in the documentary aged 17, she matter-of-factly tells the camera: ‘To be honest with you, I never thought I’d make it to this age’Credit: Getty Images – Getty
“I’m sure one day everyone will see the tic attacks that happen when I’m stressed and haven’t slept.
“But it could be a lot worse and it’s not, and I’m grateful for that.”
In between showing her touring the world and performing to hundreds of thousands of people, the documentary also sees her doing her own laundry, nervously taking driving lessons and having an ice-skating party for her 17th birthday.
And despite her enormous success, Billie still lives with parents Maggie Baird, an actress and screenwriter, and Patrick O’Connell, a construction worker.
Growing up, she and Finneas were taught to play lots of instruments by their musical parents, who were always singing and dancing.
Billie and her brother Finneas performing at the 2019 Reading FestivalCredit: AP:Associated Press
Old footage shows a very young Billie playing piano along with her brother. The pair were home-schooled and spent countless hours writing music together.
They put the first of their successful singles, Ocean Eyes, on music-sharing platform SoundCloud when Billie was 13.
They were quickly snapped up by record companies and the song went on to rack up 200million Spotify streams.
From there, world domination was on the horizon — and Billie’s debut album reached Number One in 37 countries.
Despite her success, she still faces the same ups and downs — and first loves and break-ups — as most teenagers.
With her dyed green hair and often surly expression, Billie may appear as every parent’s worst nightmare – but this could not be further from the truthCredit: Reuters
In the documentary we see her stepping off stage as the headline act at California music festival Coachella in 2019 only to become immediately preoccupied by issues with her boyfriend Q.
Phoning him, she questions why he can’t come to see her.
And like a million other teenage girls before her, she throws her tear-stained phone across the room in frustration.
The pair later split up after “self-destructive” Q breaks his hand punching a wall. She says: “I can’t fix him. I tried.”
In one poignant moment we see Billie meet her childhood hero Justin Bieber — and he agrees to sing on one of her songs.
Openly anti-drugs and alcohol, she said in an interview: ‘I’ve never got high, I’ve never smoked anything in my life’Credit: Getty – Contributor
Even with her huge success, she cries uncontrollably when seeing the pop prince and recalls: “I would sob into my pillow because I thought if I ever got a boyfriend when I was older, no one would compare [to Justin].”
It becomes clear in the documentary that Billie is both a workaholic and perfectionist.
She will record the same line of a song continuously and screams that her beautiful voice sounds “horrible”.
She films her mum in the garden with a camcorder to use as a guide to a director she is due to work with on exactly how she wants her music video made — all while her brother picks up dog mess and a dead rat from the lawn.
The star confesses: ‘I’m never happy. I feel the dark things. I’m bad at taking care of my mental health’Credit: Getty – Contributor
After filming the actual video, Billie gets frustrated with the director and rages: “I’m going to direct my own videos from now on.”
With all her incredible talent, Billie is still hugely concerned about what people think of her online.
During a disagreement with Finneas over some lyrics, he moans to their parents: “She’s so, so woke about what people say about her on the internet.”
Understandably for someone so young, she often grapples with fame and her devoted fans, many of whom dress as Billie and often tell her that her music saved their life.
Mental illness has not been Billie’s only battle. She also suffers with Tourette’s syndromeCredit: PA:Press Association
Reflecting on watching others struggling with fame as she is now, she told a magazine last year: “As a fan growing up, I was always like, ‘What the f*** is wrong with them?’
“All the scandals. The Britney moment. You grow up thinking they’re pretty and they’re skinny, why would they f*** it up?
“But the bigger I get, the more I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, of course they had to do that’.
“In my dark places I’ve worried that I was going to become the stereotype that everybody thinks every young artist becomes, because how can they not?
“Last year, when I was at my lowest point during the tour in Europe, I was worried I was going to have a breakdown and shave my head.”
Despite her success, she still faces the same ups and downs — and first loves and break-ups — as most teenagersCredit: Getty Images – Getty
But Billie later reveals that she does feel better emotionally now than she did when she was younger.
Speaking on her Apple Music show Me & Dad Radio, she says: “There was a period where I cried every single day of my life when I was like 13, 14, 15.
“Every single day I cried. And 17, 18, I cried barely at all.
“I’m proud to say I barely cry any more and it’s one thing I’ve overcome.
“This is a big deal. Not that it’s wrong to cry but it’s a good thing I feel happier in my life and I don’t want to cry any more.”
Billie’s meteoric rise has been breathtaking.
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, out Friday on Apple TV+
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
She is listed on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list with earnings of £38million and was picked to write the theme song for long-awaited Bond film No Time To Die.
She became the youngest person to be nominated for six Grammys, going on to win five, including Best New Artist, Best Album and Best Song.
As Billie and her family celebrate the Grammy nominations in the film by lighting sparklers in their garden with the dog running around their feet, she looks around herself and laughs — before adding: “I’m nominated for six Grammys and we’re still in this s****y back yard!”
BILLIE IN NUMBERS
Billie is worth an estimated £37.5m according to Forbes
In 2020 she won five Grammys, including Best New Artist and Song Of The Year
2019 album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? has sold 2.5m copies and been streamed 2.3bn times
Her YouTube channel has 38.8m subscribers while her Instagram has 76.4m followers
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