Look no further for the newest face in pop music: Billie Eilish. Hundreds of teenagers, and admittedly irritated parents, packed into the Bowery Ballroom on March 23 to see if the rumors were true. The venue buzzed with anticipatory energy, an almost nervous mood in the air. There’s something both beautiful and worrying about a 16-year-old who is teetering on the verge of stardom.
The Bowery came alive as Eilish’s backing band, including her brother and former “Glee” star Finneas O’Connell, whose stage name is FINNEAS, came out in full white jumpsuits. They aimed fake red guns at the crowd that spit out bills printed with Eilish’s face on them before taking their places. The opening song “bellyache” was an ambitious yet perfect pick to get the crowd in the mood.
Every move the young star made was playful. She encouraged every audience member to jump, dance and enjoy themselves. The second song was an instant drop, though certainly not a bad one –– her self-loathing, heartbreaking anthem “idontwannabeyouanymore.” The audience was not subdued in the slightest and kept singing back with the same fervor, just a bit more emotional.
There is power in a female artist who opens her heart and admits her insecurities, especially to an almost exclusively female crowd. By admitting her own flaws, fans recognize that everyone feels lost and insignificant at times, thus the power of the show’s collective experience grows tenfold.
The night continued with an acoustic cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and a song with her brother on his single “New Girl.” Eilish called for the crowd’s full attention for her unreleased song “When The Party’s Over,” stating that the moment will only happen once, so “be here with me.”
Afterwards, she pushed straight into the song that started it all for her on SoundCloud, “Ocean Eyes.” The night was clearly very emotional for the teen, who kept remarking how much she adored her fans and how they made her want to cry.
The night ended on two of her greatest innovations –– “my boy” and “COPYCAT” –– both bangers that took the crowd off their feet. Even the sidelined parents had their mouths open in awe of the sheer talent. Eilish is young, so young her talent is astounding, and she shows no sign of backing down. Being a young success is terrifying, but she seems headstrong and is clearly surrounded by a family of love and support.
Billie Eilish is no regular pop star. She does everything she can to distinguish her unique style, refusing to conform to typical female star standards. She’s free of the usual makeup, fancy outfits and choreography, instead, donning baggy sweats with golden chains hanging from ear to ear. The fact is, Eilish is not your pinup poster queen. She’s fiercely devoted to her personal image as one that reflects her own taste, not the taste of others. Every song is a product of her and her brother’s raw, undeniable talent.
The next big thing in the music industry might just be a 16-year-old, but there’s nothing to fear in this. She might take the world on in cargo shorts, bucket hats and a scowl, but the singer exudes talent and charisma. She has an angelic voice and a style so unique that you can’t look away. And we certainly won’t be looking away anytime soon.
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