October 2018

Billie Eilish: Taking the Crown

Billie Eilish is among the youngest pop singers in the world, but has a mature and unique perspective on her music. 

National Standards: 7-9, 11

Prepare

Have the class read Billie Eilish: Taking the Crown (page 28 of the student edition). The article talks about the young singer’s road to fame alongside her older brother, Finneas.

Key points in the article:

  • As a home-schooled student, Billie grew up surrounded by instruments and songwriters. Both of her parents as well as her older brother are all musicians.
  • Eilish recorded her first smash hit when she was only 13, and she has found nothing but success ever since.
  • Eilish and her brother co-write and produce all of her songs, making sure that every song they put out will be something listeners will want to dance to.
  • Because of her young age, Eilish faces some discrimination. But she defends her artistry, saying that deep emotion and art can be found at any age.

Begin

Discuss with students how background effects an artists’ life and music. Sample topics can be:

  • How being home-schooled effects socialization, education, and interests
  • Eilish says she is influenced heavily by dancing. How “dance-ability” might restrict or control an artist’s music
  • Whether or not students believe songs should be written based purely on real-life situations or if fantasy/fictional scenarios are worth exploring (and if they can have the same impact)

Develop

Play the video that accompanies one of Elish’s most recent songs, “you should see me in a crown”

Ask students the following questions:

How does this video reflect her attitudes towards “reverse age discrimination?”

What makes her artistry stand out among other artists her age?

What do you think is more important about an artist, whether or not the music is liked or whether or not the music is unlike anything heard before?”

Expand

Play the video of Billie Eilish’s video for her song “Bellyache”

  • What is different about this video than the one that accompanies “you should see me in a crown”
  • Does this song highlight Eilish’s strengths as a vocalist?
  • What are some of the unique artistic aspects of this video?

Quiz

Students can take this quiz on the website here. All questions and answers are listed below. Correct answers are italicized.

  1. How old was Eilish when she recorded her first song, “Ocean Eyes?”
  • 12
  • 13
  • 11
  • 14

2) What other art form are Eilish’s songs primarily inspired by?

  • Musical Theater
  • Poetry
  • Painting
  • Dance

3) “Ocean Eyes” was originally written by:

  • Billie
  • Finneas
  • Billie’s father
  • Billie’s friend

4) What music streaming platform did Billie and Finneas release “Ocean Eyes” to where it originally became popular?

  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora
  • SoundCloud
  • Pandora

5) What popular TV series was Billie’s single “Bored” featured on?

  • Shameless
  • Stranger Things
  • Atypical
  • 13 Reasons Why

6) Billie believes that all songs should be written from real-life scenarios

  • True
  • False

7) Which of these artists was Billie not influenced by as a child?

  • Childish Gambino
  • The Beatles
  • James Taylor
  • Sarah McLachlan