Even though they were born just 14 months apart, Billie Eilish said she sometimes feels a mama bear vibe about fellow pop idol Olivia Rodrigo. “I think everybody’s experiences are so individual,” Eilish, 21, told the Los Angeles Times about the kinship she feels with the 20-year-old “Vampire” singer. “Nobody has had anybody else’s life, you know? But I do feel a protectiveness over Olivia.”
The question came up because Eilish is working on her third studio album and after releasing her first two in her teens, the prospect of dropping an LP in her 20s is blowing her mind. “It feels somehow very different from the rest of what I’ve ever put out,” she said. “Like, now I’m in my 20s — oh, my God, that’s so weird — and I’ve never been an adult putting music out before.”
So, asked if she keeping up on the big pop records that have defined this year, Eilish ticked off SZA’s SOS as one that is “great” and Rodrigo’s sophomore effort, GUTS as “adorable.”
In fact, she also revealed for the first time that the track “Goldwing” from her Happier Than Ever album was “kind of” inspired by Rodrigo. “It’s not only about her. I was just thinking about her when I was writing it,” Eilish said, adding with a laugh, “She was coming up, and she was younger than me, and nobody had ever been younger than me.”
The song opens with some lines from a hymn Eilish used to sing as a kid in the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, before dipping into scenario that any young artist in the industry might recognize. “They’re gonna tell you what you want to hear/ Then they’re gonna disappear/ Gonna claim you like a souvenir/ Just to sell you in a year,” Billie sings on the track.
“Olivia was getting big, and she was just, like, this little dainty child,” Eilish says of the former Disney star. “I felt so nervous. I was worried about her. She came up in that acting world, and people are so weird. I don’t know — I just felt very protective over her.” Eilish said she can just “see myself in all these young girls. And it’s the girls, man. Boys can handle themselves. They’re dudes — they don’t have to deal with it like we do. I just want to hold everybody in a little glass box and never let anything touch them.”
The interview also features Eilish talking about reading late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s suicide note recently and feeling a “deep, deep sorrow” for the grunge icon while also understanding Cobain’s hatred of the fame machine he was enveloped in. “It’s just not what you think it’s going to be,” she said. The reference makes sense when you realize that Cobain is an artist she and her brother/producer Finneas often look to as a guidepost to understand the loneliness of success.
“It’s that existential-crisis vibe where you could be sitting in a room with people you love,” Eilish said, “and you’re like, Oh, my God, what the f— is going on with my life?”
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