Billie Eilish is 17. Her hair is turquoise. Sometimes she wears a princess tiara. Live spiders crawl over it. There’s a chorus she likes to sing, “Quiet when I’m coming home and I’m on my own. I could lie, say I like it like that.” The standard melancholy and eccentricity of an American teenager, you might say. Except that she (de)constructed her adolescence under the watchful gaze of hundreds of millions of people, the Angeleno’s songs having garnered her 285 million views on YouTube (for her hit Lovely with Khalid). Shot in iPhone style, the video for You Should See Me in a Crown (the one with the big live spiders) has notched up 80 million views.
Billie Eilish has inspired Takashi Murakami a short film and a series of visuals.
The crystallization of a teenage icon is a fascinating phenomenon. At 14, Eilish had her first brush with success with her track Ocean Eyes. She could have become a precocious pop sensation à la Britney Spears, Justin Biba or Troye Sivan, but Eilish triggered something else. Fascinated by her, Stromae and his brother made the video for her track Hostage, and, for the release of her first album at the end of March, Takashi Murakami made a short film and a series of visuals. When we asked him to photograph her in Los Angeles, Tim Richardson came back with these incredible shots of her metamorphosing into a digital creature. Eilish is nothing if not inspiring.