2021 has been the year of evolution for Billie Eilish. She took the music industry by storm with her debut album, and the anticipation for her second album was high. This year, she delivered and then some with Happier Than Ever, a new fragrance, her debut Met Gala, her style evolution, and so much more. She’s one of the most relevant voices of Gen Z, and her work this year reminded everyone why. All this is to say, Billie Eilish is not going anywhere but up!
Billie began the year with a bang by adding some more hardware to her rapidly growing collection of awards. At the 63rd GRAMMY awards, she won Best Song Written for Visual Media for her James Bond theme song ‘No Time To Die,’ and Record of the Year for her 2019 single ‘Everything I Wanted.’ This followed her record-breaking year at the 62nd GRAMMYs, where she became the first woman and youngest artist ever to win all four main categories.
‘Lo Vas a Olvidar’ With Rosalía
As part of HBO’s Euphoria soundtrack, Billie collabed with renowned Spanish artist Rosalía for this ethereal, haunting bilingual ballad. The collab was a long time coming, teased for nearly two years, and Billie was coached by Rosalía on pronunciation and translation so she could sing mostly in Spanish. The song is both ominous and moving, and well worth the wait.
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry
While social media allows a feeling of familiarity to develop between fans and artists, documentaries like this give us an even more intimate look into the lives of our faves and their creative processes. Directed by R.J. Cutler, Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry was critically-acclaimed and offered an in-depth portrayal of the young singer. As a history-making young artist, her rise to fame is a unique one only recognizable by few (such as Billie’s own idol Justin Bieber). This film gave us an inside look into her world and what it’s like to navigate the explosion of superstardom.
Happier Than Ever
Despite the common “sophomore slump” that some artists go through, or the unfounded claims of a “flop era” on social media, Billie came back this year with a mature, exploratory second full-length album on July 30th. The public’s opinion and attention is fickle, but despite the “flop era” claims, she soared to new heights with Happier Than Ever and continued releasing smashes like title track ‘Happier Than Ever,’ a building, raw ballad-slash-banger. The album carried the same distinctive energy as her previous work, but continued expanding her style and presented an artist that’s still finding herself. Plus, the album ushered in Billie’s iconic blonde era!
Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles
In September, she released her concert film Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles on Disney+, celebrating the layers of her hometown city. Performed at the Hollywood Bowl, the show featured guests Los Angeles Philharmonic, and animated versions of Eilish interspersed. The show paid tribute to the legends of Los Angeles, and amped up the Hollywood mystique that played a part in shaping Billie as an artist.
This year, for her first-ever Met Gala, Billie served as one of four co-chairs. For her debut, she wore a Barbie-inspired, Marilyn Monroe-esque Oscar de la Renta gown with a glamorous train. The Met Gala marked an important evolution of style for the artist as she enters her twenties. This moment will be a legendary Met Gala one, and further expanded her Happier Than Ever era.
Billie was featured in TIME’s Most Influential People of 2021, cementing her status as one of the most important and defining Gen Z voices. Her tribute was written by 2020 honoree Megan Thee Stallion, who said, “Billie Eilish is a unique soul, with a voice, style and attitude all unapologetically her own.”
In November, Billie set foot into the beauty world with the release of Eilish, her debut fragrance. It features notes of vanilla, cocoa, soft spices, mandarin, and red berries. As Billie is someone with synesthesia, the fragrance feels more personal than others. On Instagram, she said “Fragrance has always been such an enormous part of my life and existence since I can remember, and it was a dream to create this scent and bring my ideas to life.”
Saturday Night Live
While the year isn’t completely over yet, Billie’s hosting debut on SNL marked a strong end to 2021. She hosted and performed, which showed us a new side to the singer. While she’s no stranger to appearing as the musical guest, her first time performing both duties was a success. It seems like a perfect conclusion to a year that saw Billie growing as not only an artist, but a person. SNL allowed us to see a playful side of Billie, and to see her getting outside her comfort zone. We can only imagine what 2022 will bring!
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Featured Image Source: Kelia Anne MacCluskey