In her Rolling Stone profile with Brittany Spanos, Gen-Z’s pop teen idol Billie Eilish airs her grievances with creating her first album and she details how the pressure of the industry made her never want to pick up the pen again. Ahead of the release of her sophomore album Happier Than Ever, she expands upon experiences highlighted in her Apple TV documentary titled The World’s A Little Blurry—which follows the singer’s rise and the production of her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Like many labels who dream of making their artist into a star, the then 16-year-old was hounded with deadlines and expectations unlike any most teens face in high school. When We All Fall Asleep was due right around her 17th birthday, and with that album came interviews, meetings, and shows after months of constant recording.
“I hated every second of it,” she says. “I hated writing. I hated recording. I literally hated it. I would’ve done anything else. I remember thinking there’s no way I’m making another album after this. Absolutely not.”
Following the release of When We All Fall Asleep, her signature image cemented itself into the mind of the public. Her baggy clothes, green and black dyed hair, and big baby blue eyes—she easily attracted cameras and paparazzi. The then-seventeen year old grew resentful: “I was a kid and I wanted to do kid shit. I didn’t want to be not able to fucking go to a store or the mall. I was very angry and not grateful about it.”
Now 19, Eilish debuted her new bleached blonde hair prior to releasing single “Lost Cause” and announcing her next record Happier Than Ever, out July 30. She’s ditched the dark baggy clothes, donning light beige hues that don’t shroud her form. This helped her create separation between herself now and the old Billie, who she kissed goodbye to her in Grammys performance of “Everything I Wanted” with her brother and music producer, Finneas, earlier this year.
“It was weird,” she tells Spanos. “I was playing this former Billie Eilish with green hair, singing a song from a year and a half prior, while I have 16 new songs that I haven’t put out yet. The fans didn’t really even know that it was a goodbye to an era. That’s kind of heartbreaking but endearing at the same time.”
The recording for Happier Than Ever is less consuming than When We All Fall Asleep. Eilish explains that there is less pressure from industry higher ups and no firm deadlines now that she’s achieved commercial success. Her mom, Maggie Baird, encouraged Eilish and Finneas set themselves to a weekly schedule, with some days dedicated to the creation of the album, and other days to do whatever they wish. Some days that the siblings get together and that means working and writing, but other days they do what any other close brother and sister do: play video games, eat fast food, and veg out together.
“A lot of Taco Bell, homemade pizza, taro boba, Thai food,” Eilish descibes. “Crossroads and Little Pine. Nic’s once. Fatburger once. It was such a reward.”
Most importantly, the 19-year-old has more control over the pacing of her life, and how she decides to write her music and direct her music videos.
“No one has a say anymore,” Billie says. “It’s literally me and Finneas and no one else.”