It’s pretty insane how Billie Eilish became the IT girl in no time. Like seriously, her fame got to stratospheric levels in much less time than most so-called ‘old school’ artists. What is even crazier though, is that we ALREADY had musicians paving the way for weirdness in the music industry. Here are out top 5 picks.
Lorde, otherwise born as (try to read out loud this one) Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, took over the world in 2013 with her infamous song Royals (with almost 800 million views on YouTube btw), which was incredibly unusual for those times. Her EP Pure Heroine was a total commercial success, and in 2017 she had cumulatively sold over five million albums worldwide. Her electro-pop sound, her introvert personality, and even her image of a genius, dark loner, have DEFINITELY influenced the younger Billie Eilish.
Born as Natassia Gail Zolot, Kreayshawn became incredibly popular in 2011 with her song Gucci Gucci. This girl was way ahead of her time: her songs are very Tik Tok-material, her attitude is super relaxed giving off gen Z vibes, her aesthetics are grungy, weird, loose, full of unnecessary tattoos, and so 2020ish. If you don’t believe me, look at the video above at the 0:56 moment and you will get what I am talking about. Also I can not help but notice the main voice mix and master. That solo track with little to no back vocals, again, a decade ahead of her time. Had she popped on the music scene now, she’d be HUGE.
3. Lana Del Rey
Lana got so much crap and hate in the beginning of her career. Many didn’t understand her sound and weirdness. She was THE PIONEER of mumble singing and including minimal sounds in her tracks. The comment section used to be ‘why does she sound like she’s about to fall asleep?‘, only for us to look at her as a legend 10 years later. Born as Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, Lana Del Rey was, and is, the QUEEN of tragic romance and depression-infused sound and visuals.
2. Die Antwoord
People that were listening to this way-too-weird-for-2011 duo, were not admitting it in public. They were a pop shock for every single person digesting their visuals and their Zef sound. Die Antwoord were the guilty pleasure of many edgy adults, and the go-to music for tons of misfit teenagers. I think that they’re still incredibly weird and shocking, probably even more so than Billie Eilish: yellow eyebrows and eyelashes, interracial cover art, sitting on the golden toilet, dominatrix vibes, chocolate smeared face, missing tooth, depressing tonalities, bunch of crosses, and all of this just in ONE MUSIC VIDEO. Maybe they need a slightly catchier song to reach the mainstream culture, and we could see a resurgence in Die Antwoord popularity.
1. FKA twigs
It is sincerely CREEPY how much Billie Eilish’s sound emulates the OG of musical weirdness: FKA twigs. You get the whole package: dripping paint representing actual blood, ticking clock sound, bunch of ASMR elements, singular voice layering, whispers, distortion, subliminal sex, dark vibes, what else have I not mentioned? I feel that Billie’s team copy/pasted the FKA twigs package and that’s how we got a new celebrity. It is beyond my capabilities of a musical critic to understand why FKA twigs is not as big, or even bigger, than Billie Eilish. As in… read this sentence and tell me if you think it was written in regards to Fka twigs or Billie Eilish: ”Her work has been described as “genre-bending”, drawing on various genres including electronic music, trip hop, R&B, and avant-garde.” Answer: Tahliah Debrett Barnett, otherwise known as FKA twigs.