Billie Eilish is one of the most famous people in the world. Ever since she emerged on the music scene as a teenager, she has had a significant impact on the industry.
Her 2019 debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, was not only a #1 hit, but also helped Eilish set an impressive record. As previously reported by Alt Press, the “Bored” hitmaker became the first artist born in this millennium to top the US Billboard 200 chart. Additionally, at 17, Eilish became the youngest person to reach number 1 overseas in the UK, according to BBC News. In a tweet, Billboard also announced that the Grammy-winning actress became the first artist born in the 2000s to reach number one with her single “Bad Guy.” In 2021, it was revealed she would be the youngest star to headline Glastonbury on The Guardian. With such global appeal at such a young age, Eilish admitted to The Guardian that same year that she was “very scared” about getting older. “I feared it,” she said.
But as the singer has aged, many may be surprised that she wasn’t always referred to as Billie.
Billie Eilish was called a pirate for months
The success of Billie Eilish’s music has allowed the singer to explore other avenues. In addition to launching her own fragrance, the All The Good Girls Go To Hell hitmaker has released her own self-titled book and audiobook, Billie Eilish: In Her Own Words. In the audio book, Eilish surprised fans by sharing that her name was almost not Billie.
As well as sharing photos from her childhood, Eilish revealed that she almost went by a different first name due to her older brother Finneas O’Connell and his obsession with pirates. When her mother, Maggie Baird, expected Eilish, O’Connell, at age 4, to name his unborn sister “Pirate”, she eventually became a contender for her given name. “They called me a pirate for months, and they planned on calling me a pirate,” Eilish said (via USA Today). “And just before I was born my grandfather died and his name was William, AKA Bill, Billie. And that’s where my name came from.”
However, Eilish’s parents haven’t completely given up on the idea of Pirate. Instead, they chose to use it as one of their middle names. As a high-profile star, fans probably can’t imagine her name being anything other than Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell.
Finneas O’Connell has played a huge role in Billie Eilish’s career
For those who don’t know, Billie Eilish has worked closely with older brother Finneas O’Connell on most of her music. “He’s four years older than me and we’ve been best friends for ages. We started writing music together when I was 13 and he was 18 or 17 and he produces everything,” Eilish said during her acceptance speech as she took home Variety’s Hitmaker of the Year award in 2019. Actually writes she credits him with much of her success. “He’s the only reason I’m anywhere in the world. He’s probably the only reason I’m alive,” Eilish added.
On the other hand, O’Connell humbly insists his younger sister is the “private artist” behind the songs he produces and co-writes with her. “Even though we all make songs together and I produce them, that’s kind of her vision,” he told People in 2020. “Especially when we get on stage every night.” Billie has thought this through so meticulously and I endlessly admire that in her.”
Eilish and O’Connell’s work certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. At the 2020 Grammy Awards, the duo won big and took home countless accolades, including record of the year for “Bad Guy” and album of the year for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”. That same year, O’Connell was named Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.