Billie Eilish Admits She ‘Was Not Prepared’ for Her Rise to Fame

Billie Eilish Admits She 'Was Not Prepared' for Her Rise to Fame

Billie Eilish is on the cover of Variety‘s annual Hitmakers issue, out now.

Here’s what the 17-year-old “Bad Guy” singer had to say…

On starting out and being told her music was “too dark”: “I didn’t realize that I was saying and touching on aspects in life that were deeper than the average song. I didn’t try to do that — I just did it. When I was starting out, one of the only things I heard was that the music was too dark, too sad, too depressing, that it wasn’t happy enough. There was this period where all I was hearing was ‘Smile! Talk about how much you love yourself!’ — and I was literally at a time when I didn’t love myself. Now I can, but then, I was a little 14-year-old. I didn’t know anything about self-love or self-care. All I knew was the stuff that I knew, and a lot of it was bad and negative. That’s what I wanted to write about, and that’s why people relate to it. I mean, even The Beatles have songs that are just like, ‘I’m miserable!’”

On her meteoric rise to stardom: “I was not prepared for it. I just liked music, and I didn’t know that I had to have a whole …” She gestures at the accouterments of touring life around her. “It was a really weird thing to be put on me when I was 15 years old.”

On her relationship with her fans and their criticism: “I forget sometimes that they’re not literally my friends. It’s weird, like, that’s probably the biggest con in it all: that people I’ve never met think I’m really close friends with them. And then they forget that I’m not, and sometimes say stuff at meet-and-greets or post things that are joking or sarcastic about how bad I look in [a certain] photo, and I’m like, wow, that’s so mean. But then I remember that it’s just part of being friends — you make fun of your friends as a joke, and they make fun of you back — so it’s all love, and I really, really don’t want it to change.”

For more from Billie, head to Variety.com.