Billie Eilish performs at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 2019. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Valencia High School

Mindfulness Matters: 18-year-old Billie Eilish is more than a singer

Mindfulness Matters is a column by Vivian Wang that highlights the simple ways that she maintains mindfulness and self-care through the treacherous, life-changing journey of high school. In this week’s article, Wang explains how Billie Eilish brings to light several aspects of mental health.

Sixty million followers on Instagram. 15 billion streams on Spotify. 18 years old.

Born on Dec. 18, 2001, Billie Eilish is one of the youngest American singers and songwriters who has grown exponentially in popularity over the past five years for her one-of-a-kind voice and ability to convey her emotions through her music so passionately. 

Throughout her teenage years, Eilish has struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and Tourette’s syndrome. 

One of my greatest inspirations is Billie Eilish, a passionate and self-driven 18-year-old singer. Although she is only one year older than me, her maturity exceeds far beyond a typical high schooler. 

In her interview with Medium’s Hey Music Official, Eilish explained, “But over time it’s kind of become a thing, ‘Billie Eilish, the creepy, weird, scary girl.’ And I don’t like that. It’s lame. I just don’t want to stay one thing.” 

Having risen in popularity so quickly, Eilish has faced brutal criticism and negativity from the public as many individuals criticize her unique choice of clothing and believe that her fame was carefully orchestrated by her managers and family.

Upon being introduced to her by my sister, I initially believed that Eilish was too young to be considered a pop star and that she was too emotional in her music. I soon realized that I was no different than everyone else; I did not give myself a chance to appreciate her music and her ability to express her whirlwind of emotions through her music. 

After listening to Eilish for the first time, I was in complete awe. Her music transcends far beyond a typical pop star’s music. In this era of music, countless pop stars rely heavily on autotune and repeat the same few lines that of which they call “music”.

Contrarily, Eilish’s music relies purely on her own voice, with lyrics that resonate with the listener. 

Her profound lyrics capture her emotions and raise awareness of mindfulness and mental health. It’s refreshing to hear a pop singer who can raise awareness of the complexity of both mental health and mindfulness. Many of her listeners are high schoolers who may be suffering through depression or suicidal thoughts.

Eilish reminds these high schoolers that they are not alone, as she explains in her interview with CBS’s Gayle King, “I just grab them by the shoulders and I’m like, ‘Please take care of yourself and be good to yourself and be nice to yourself,’” she said. ”‘Don’t take that extra step and hurt yourself further.’” 

Although I do not face depression or suicidal thoughts, I still find that Eilish’s music resonates with me since she’s able to raise awareness about sensitive topics that most pop stars tend to mask in order to portray the best version of themselves.

In her songs, Eilish reflects upon her relationships and emotions, oftentimes revealing her vulnerabilities and sadness. I admire Eilish’s courage as she is unafraid to show her struggles and unhappiness. She writes about sleep paralysis, depression, relationships, and body image, common issues that many teens face today. 

Eilish’s courage to bare what is seen as ugly and unconventional addresses society’s taboos, all while catalyzing conversation among youth in my generation is inspirational. For most celebrities, it’s difficult for them to reveal weaknesses, since society expects them to live in an idyllic world.

As teenagers, it’s easy for us to feel self-conscious about our body and the way that we dress, but Eilish combats this common insecurity.

She is known for her unique flair of clothing, which ranges from baggy sweatpants to oversized shirts. Eilish’s unedited photos on Instagram display her real self. 

Being close to her age, I am always inspired by Eilish to face my insecurities with confidence. I have learned that life is so much more than being consumed by the number of likes that I get on an Instagram post and that I should focus more on my physical and mental health through the chaos of high school.

Billie Eilish is more than a singer. She’s a role model who advocates for mental health and reminds me to listen to others around me who may be going through a rough time.