Billie Eilish has New Sadness in her Ocean Eyes

The name Billie Eilish just sticks. It’s special enough to make an impression and has an almost mysterious cadence. It sounds gentle and fluid, yet striking and original. I had insights about Billie Eilish just based on her name when I heard it sprinkled around in conversation and online in 2018. I knew she was up-and-coming in the music industry, but I had not sought out her songs until winter break. I guess I was living under a rock. I have a friend from home who always updates me on the best of the music scene. She told me that I needed to listen to Billie Eilish.billie eilish bellyache GIF by Interscope Records

“She’s literally only 16, and her music is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. “You would love her.”

By the time I returned to school in January, I had Billie’s entire discography emblazoned on my mind. I tanned and went on walks while listening to “lovely,” “my boy,” and “bellyache” on repeat. The young artist’s honest lyrics intermingle magically with her therapeutic rhythm and quirky beats. Her angelic yet bold voice seals the deal for me. Her songs can be described as “melancholy,” but they oddly don’t make me sad. They make me feel relaxed and ready to take on the world.

I am not the only one who hopped quickly on the "Billie Bandwagon." The teenage star gained six million followers on Instagram in a year and regularly texts stars like Khalid, Millie Bobby Brown, Miguel and even met her idol, Tyler The Creator. Billie now sells out shows in huge venues regularly when, in 2017, her biggest audience consisted of 500 people.

Surely, it would seem as though she has it all because her success and fame have only snowballed. However, you can’t judge a star’s happiness by their fame.

Vanity Fair interviewed Billie at the end of 2017 when she was fifteen, and at the end of 2018; they produced a video where they asked 16-year-old Billie the same exact questions. The videos of both interviews were placed side by side.

On the left, Billie glowed with clear and porcelain skin, her eyes were eager and shining blue. Her hair looked like a silky waterfall that was blueish and silvery, with a half bun folded on the top of her head. She was wearing a simple gold chain and on her resting face was a soft smile. On the right, the version of Billie that exists today was not wearing any makeup. Her skin was irritated and breaking out in a few places, and her once-excited eyes were now jaded and sat on top of dark, tired circles. Her hair was now a darker, deeper blue and looked greasy, carelessly thrown into messy bun with a few stringy pieces dangling out. Around her neck were a dozen heavy chains with spikes on them, weighing the young girl down.billie eilish eye roll GIF by Interscope Records

Besides her outright appearance, Billie’s entire energy seems diminished. In the video, she answers questions like what her biggest show has been, how many likes her most popular photo on Instagram has, and how often she gets noticed in public. Her answers all exhibit just how quickly Billie has risen to be one of the world’s top artists in only a year.

However, when she reveals how much her life has changed, she does not do it with pride or even an air of joy. It is one thing to be humble, but in her ocean eyes, there is palpable sadness and despair. Without saying it outright, Billie’s responses to the questions show that she is really going through struggles she could have never foreseen just a year ago.

Fifteen-year-old Billie answered that her favorite color was bright green. Sixteen-year-old Billie responded that her favorite color was black.

“It’s been pretty dark lately, so I just want to be dark with it,” Billie said with an empty smile.billie eilish watch GIF by Interscope Records

In the video, the star watched her interview from a year before, and pouted her face over how innocent, cute and naïve younger Billie was. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. The entire video had a mildly gloomy song playing in the background.

Under the video, almost 100 percent of the comments related to feeling sad for Billie.

“She looks so dead inside.”

“She looks so broken.”

“One like = one hug for Billie.”

“This really got me tearing up.”

It’s always fascinating to see a star rise to fame. For many, it’s a slow crawl up the celebrity ladder, and musicians are lucky if they can sell out a venue in the first three years of going on tour. Billie surpassed the common timeframe of becoming a household name. Her expressive music might just become her outlet where she deals with the pain of being under such intense scrutiny.