Billie is the daughter of Maggie Baird, an actress, voice artist, singer-songwriter and screenwriter (she’s Samara in the Mass Effect games), and Patrick O’Connell, a construction worker. Billie’s middle name, Eilish, was meant to be her first name, with Pirate to be her middle name, but her uncle objected to it since pirate has a negative connotation. However, while Maggie was pregnant with Billie, her father, Bill, died, and they named the young girl after him.
Billie was homeschooled alongside her brother Finneas, and she credits him and her mother for inspiring her to get into music. Billie wrote her first “real” song at age 11, and in 2015, she recorded “Ocean Eyes.” Written and produced by FInneas for his band, the duo recorded this version after her dance teacher asked them to produce a track for a dance routine. Afterward, Billie and Finneas published the song on SoundCloud, like they’ve done in the past. However, this time, the song blew up, getting love from various outlets, radio stations, and music personalities. The buzz resulted in Billie signing a deal with Platoon, an A&R company that preps stars before they sign to a major label.
In August 2016, Billie signed with The Darkroom, an imprint of Interscope Records. At the start of the following year, Billie released an EP with four remixes of “Ocean Eyes.” The song would peak at No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2019, a year after it was certified platinum by the RIAA.
Billie released her debut ep, Don’t Smile AT Me, in August 2017. It contained singles “Idontwannabeyouanymore,” “My Boy,” “Copycat,” “BellyAche,” and “Watch.” The EP has been credited with putting Billie’s sound in a more dark, alluring direction. Over the next two years, she would continue to build a buzz with performances and high-profile appearances. In April 2018, she collaborated with Khalid for the single, “Lovely,” which was included on the soundtrack for the second season of 13 Reasons Why. The track would also go on to be certified platinum. In January 2019, Don’t Smile at Me reached a billion streams on Spotify, making her the youngest artist to achieve 1B on a project. In March of that year, she released her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?.
The first single from the album was “You Should See Me In a Crown,” and was released in 2018, along with the second single, “When The Party’s Over.” Billie also released “Bury a Friend” and “Wish You Were Gay.” As of 2020, all those singles have been certified Platinum, to a variety of degrees. The fifth single from When We All Fall Asleep propelled Billie onto the next level: “Bad Guy.” Released on the same day as her debut album, “Bad Guy” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, while her album debuted at the top spot of the Album 200. “Bad Guy” would reach No. 2 (and stay there for nine weeks) before dethroning Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” for the top spot.
In the months after her debut album’s release, Billie was everywhere. She also won practically everything. In November 2019, she was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist. She would go on to sweep those four categories at the 2020 ceremony. In 2020, she released “No Time To Die,” the title track to the James Bond film of the same name. It became the second Bond theme song to top the British official charts and Billie’s first No. 1 single in the UK.