Billie Eilish made her Saturday Night Live debut on Sept. 28, during the show's 45th season premiere. Although only 17 years old, the California native has quickly established herself as a force in popular music with her unique style and mix of influences. Her appearance on SNL comes ahead of her upcoming world tour.
Eilish shot to fame with her debut single, "Ocean Eyes," which hit YouTube in 2016 and has more than 165.8 million views. The track was later featured on her eight-song EP Don't Smile At Me, which became a sleeper hit on the Billboard charts. In March, she released her first full-length studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. The album was met with critical acclaim and features the hits "You Should See Me in a Crown," "When The Party's Over" and "Bad Guy."
Scroll on for a look at everything you need to know about Eilish before she takes the stage at Rockefeller Center.
SNL airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Eilish's full name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell. She was born in Los Angeles on Dec. 18, 2001 to Maggie Baird and Patrick O'Connell, who are also in the entertainment industry. Her 22-year-old brother, Finneas Baird O'Connell, is a singer, songwriter and actor who performs under th stage name FINNEAS.
Finneas has co-written and produced much of Eilish's work. As an actor, he appeared in two episodes of Modern Family, four episodes of Glee and had a role in the 2011 Cameron Diaz comedy, Bad Teacher. He has also worked with Rebecca Black, Ashe and The Knocks.
Eilish started writing songs when she was only 11 years old, following in the footsteps of her brother, who also started writing at a young age.
"I’ve been in the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus since I was 8. And my brother has as well," Eilish explained to Vogue. "That’s where I’ve gotten all my singing technique, even though it’s mostly choral stuff. It’s helped me learn the proper way to sing and not ruin my voice completely. But I’ve just always sung, all the time. I sang so much that my family had to shush me. Then I started writing when I was about 11."
Finneas wrote "Ocean Eyes," a song he performed with his band. Once Eilish sang it, they fell in love with her performance.
"He’d been doing it with his band before, but of course I’d heard it because I was right next door. I sang it, and we both loved it. It’s just a beautiful song, and [my brother] Finneas is an amazing writer. I loved it and I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks," she told Vogue.
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When When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was released in March, the album was an instant success. During its first week of release, it moved 313,000 album equivalent units in the U.S., debuting at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. It was the second-largest sales week for an album in 2019 up until that point. It is also only the seventh album by a woman to earn over 300,000 unites moved in at least one week.
Amazingly, the album sold 15,000 vinyl copies in its first week, the biggest sales week of 2019 for a vinyl album through April. It was the biggest week for a vinyl album since Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked sold 26,000 copies in July 2018.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Eilish and her parents opened up about the challenges she has faced in life. Eilish had severe separation anxiety, sleeping in her parents' bed until she was 10. Her father said one of them had to be with Eilish all the time until she was 12.
“Both kids were hard, but in different ways,” her mother said. “Finneas tortured you, but he was tortured himself, so you felt bad for him. Whereas Billie enjoyed torturing you. She had no sympathy at all. She was like, ‘Oh, you’re crying? You’re weak.’ ”
“I was horrible. My goal was to get you to scream," Eilish added.
Eilish was also diagnosed with Tourette sydrome as a child. Her symptoms include barely visible tics, which she can usually suppress. She also has experience with synestheisa, which leads her senses to blend together.
Eilish has been open about her struggles on Instagram, connecting with fans who also struggle with Tourette syndrome.
"I think I also really learned that a lot of my fans have it, which made me feel kind of more at home with saying it, and also I felt like there was a connection there," Eilish told Ellen DeGeneres.
Eilish's music is unique, in that people from all sorts of age groups have latched onto it. Eilish told Vogue that she's had adults tell her they like her music.
"I feel like it’s not really a certain age. It’s all around," Eilish told Vogue. "I have little kids who come up to me, but there are also adults. I don’t really see it as a bunch of adults or a bunch of kids, or even a bunch of teenagers. I mean, if you like it, you like it. It’s great because they don’t treat me like a child, because I’ve always looked older and acted older than I am. One time I went to the county fair where they guess your age, and someone guessed that I was 20. I was like, 'No, I’m 12.' But all these producers know I’m 14, and they probably think that I’m not going to be that mature."
Back in February, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl talked about how impressed he was with Eilish's performance. During the Pollstar Live conference, Grohl compared her connection to the audience to the one Nirvana built with their fans in 1991.
"I went to see Billie Eilish not too long ago. Oh my God man. Unbelievable," Grohl said at the time. "My daughters are obsessed with Billy Eilish. And what I'm seeing happening with my daughters is the same revolution that happened to me at their age. My daughters are listening to Billie Eilish and they're becoming themselves through her music."
Grohl continued, "She totally connects to them. So we went to go see her play at the Wiltern, and the connection that she has with her audience is the same thing that was happening with Nirvana in 1991. The people in the audience knew every word. And it was like our little secret. So I don't know... and her music is hard to define! I don't know what you call it! I try to describe her to people and I don't know... I don't even know what to call it. But it's authentic. And I would call that rock n roll. So... I don't care what sort of instruments you use to do it. When I look at someone like Billie Eilish, I'm like... s– man... rock and roll is not even close to being dead."
At this point in her life, with so much success under her belt, Eilish recently wrote to her friends that she is no longer miserable.
"Two years ago, I felt like nothing mattered; every single thing was pointless. Not just in my life, but everything in the whole world. I was fully clinically depressed. It’s insane to look back and not be anymore," Eilish told ELLE.
Some critics accused her of "faking" depression, which was painful to see.
"It hurt me to see that. I was a 16-year-old girl who was really unstable. I’m in the happiest place of my life, and I didn’t think that I would even make it to this age," she told the magazine.
Eilish went on to call happiness a "crazy" feeling.
"I haven’t been happy for years. I didn’t think I would be happy again," she continued. "And here I am—I’ve gotten to a point where I’m finally okay. It’s not because I’m famous. It’s not because I have a little more money. It’s so many different things: growing up, people coming into your life, certain people leaving your life. All I can say now is, For anybody who isn’t doing well, it will get better. Have hope. I did this shit with fame riding on my shoulders. And I love fame! Being famous is great, but it was horrible for a year. Now I love what I do, and I’m me again. The good me. And I love the eyes on me."
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The day before her SNL debut, Eilish announced her Where Do We Go? World Tour. The tour kicks off on Mach 10 in Orlando, Florida and finishes up on July 27 at The O2 in London.
"IM GOING ON TOUR AGAIN AND IM ACTUALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT THIS TIME. can’t wait to see you all," Eilish wrote on Instagram.
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Eilish is a big fan of The Office. She even used samples from the "Threat Level Midnight" episode in "My Strange Addiction." Rainn Wilson even visited her home to quiz her in a special video for Billboard.
Eilish also admitted to loving Justin Beiber.
"That was like my first love. That was the person I was in love with, in my head he was in love with me, it was like a relationship with a person," she said in a KROQ interview. She also met him at Coachella in April.
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