Young artist challenges expectations of mainstream indie genre

Have you ever wanted to become a famous musician overnight? If so, you’re in luck, because in this day and age, it’s completely possible. Music programs like SoundCloud and Bandcamp are making it incredibly easy for small-town, unknown artists to be heard without ever having to leave their own bedrooms. 

Homeschooled, 15-year-old Billie Eilish is a singer from Los Angeles who used today’s mainstream applications to transform herself into a rising indie star. Eilish is “pop’s next it girl,” according to Vogue.

The artist’s unique, dulcet sound started from her own room. Eilish dabbled in songwriting her whole life, but as she grew up, she started playing around with the music-editing program GarageBand—and it was GarageBand that began to make her songs come to life. 

Eilish released her first songs with her brother, “sHE’s brOKen,” “Six Feet Under” and “Fingers Crossed,” and quickly established a large fan base. With the release of her first extended play album Ocean Eyes, Billie Eilish started developing a real name for herself on and off Soundcloud. 

In fact, big names on SoundCloud like Blackbear and Goldhouse started remixing her songs, and suddenly 15-year-old Billie Eilish became a better known indie singer. 

The artist’s soft, almost childlike voice when combined with her surprising maturity as a teen allow Eilish to stand out from other rising artists. Eilish isn’t singing about rainbows and butterflies; she sings about genuine heartbreak, love and her touching, yet depressive thoughts in a youthful manner. 

“No fair, you really know how to make me cry when you give me those ocean eyes,” she sings in her first hit single, “Ocean Eyes.” “I’m scared, I’ve never fallen from quite this high, falling into your ocean eyes.” 

The lyrics are strong and sentimental, but still have an innocent aura to them with phrases like “no fair” and “I’m scared.”

As Eilish’s music progressed, her once innocent and childlike sound matured and took an edgy turn. In her next big hit “Bellyache,” Eilish sings, “Maybe it’s in the gutter where I left my lover, what an expensive fate. My V is for Vendetta, thought that I’d feel better, but now I got a bellyache.” 

This tune contains a few suggestive phrases and likely references to her sex life, which could be considered taboo for a 15-year-old singer, but gives her music its gritty feel.

Another one of Eilish’s songs, “Bored,” was featured in Netflix’s popular original series “Thirteen Reasons Why,” which may sound innocent because of its deceiving title, but is much darker and raunchier under the surface.

Artists in the indie industry aim at target audiences ranging from 16-20 years old, so being under the age of your target audience surely puts you at disadvantage. 

It seems to be, however, clear that Eilish is striving to showcase her success as a young musician, and as a result she can be taken just as seriously as any other popular musician today.u