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Billie Eilish on public pressure: “Felt like a failure”

Billie Eilish in Los Angeles in August 2021.

Billie Eilish in Los Angeles in August 2021.

Image: Getty Images North America / Jesse Grant

Claudia Florkowski

Billie Eilish is one of the youngest and most influential artists in the world. The 19-year-old has already won a number of prizes and only recently released her highly anticipated second album at the end of July. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA she reached number one in the charts with the record.

Billie is also one of the absolute superstars on social media, with over 90 million fans following her on Instagram, for example. Despite her gigantic community, the American tries to be approachable and in contact with her followers. At intervals, she also reveals intimate details – recently she was upset about the size of her breasts, among other things.

The “Lost Cause” interpreter spoke in an interview with British rapper Stormzy about the negative consequences that public pressure exerts on her and that she is in two minds about how much private things she should share with the world.

Billie Eilish thought she was a failure in various situations

First of all, both stage stars showed that they have a lot of respect for each other’s work, even if they serve completely different genres, come from different countries and there are almost ten years between them.

The conversation quickly turned to the topics of success and failure – Billie was particularly open about the latter and confessed: “I’ve felt like a failure many times in my life. And it’s really easy to feel that way when so many people see you and tell you you are.” Part of the blame for this is primarily the Internet, with which she grew up. She further explained:

“Then you come across videos that say you are ugly and you are terrible and that makes you feel like a failure.”

In fact, until recently, the singer always hid her body from public view and wore loose clothing when performing. When paparazzi photos of her finally surfaced showing her in everyday clothes, her body shape was hotly debated on social media.

But other, concrete situations sometimes make Billie feel like a “failure”: “For example, when I disappoint myself, when I don’t feel the way I wanted to.” After all, failure is an interesting thing that she worries a lot about. She said: “It’s like success, it only exists in your head. Success and failure are all about perspective.”

Share or leave private matters – a dichotomy for Billie

What exactly Billie should reveal about herself online is an inner conflict for her. She doesn’t always want to share the most intimate things with the general public and that people know everything about her: “But at the same time, I want people to feel seen and heard when they experience something similar to what I’ve experienced. I want people to realize that it’s okay for everyone to go through this.”, described her dilemma.

First and foremost, however, she does not want to be known through personal things and take place in the news, but because of her artistic work: “I just want to make music. Why do people always have to form an opinion about what I do? I’m just a girl who loves to sing. It’s not that deep. Just listen to the music and shut up about my life”, she clarified in the conversation.

Billie’s goal is to be as realistic a role model as possible on social media: “If people have unreachable role models or dream of an unattainable life, or want to emulate an unreachable face or body, that’s not healthy for children in particular. We are all real people. “

Why she wrote a song about pornography

In the interview with Stormzy and Billie, things got particularly personal after all. The “Vossi Bop” interpreter asked her about her song “Male Fantasy”, which he judged to be particularly interesting from a lyrical point of view. It’s about pornography. The artist said:

“I’ve been thinking about how stupid, unrealistic, misogynistic and totally ridiculous the world of porn is. I decided that talking honestly about pornography would be a really good idea for a song because it’s an awkward thing to do about it speak.”

It’s also about her current emotional state, about which she has rarely written songs so far: “I find it much easier to write about my past and past feelings and to find a new perspective on what happened to me”she revealed. However, it was “revealing, satisfying and also incredibly cathartic” to write songs with this new perspective.

Overall, Billie wants to deliver not only good songs, but good albums as a complete work. Good lyrics are particularly important for this: “Texts are often underestimated or not heard enough. When a song has good lyrics, I really appreciate it.”


Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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