My name is Natalie and I’m a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Public Relations and Advertising, with a minor in Spanish. This summer, I’ve had the absolute privilege of interning with The Marketing Mixtape and expanding my knowledge in the world of PR and social media, all while being surrounded by one of my biggest passions, music. It’s honestly the dream.
Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” has been one of the summer’s greatest hits. The song’s popularity spurred a remix with Justin Bieber, one of Billie’s childhood crushes. The cover art of the remix is a picture of 13-year old Eilish with a Justin Bieber poster on the wall of her childhood room. Currently occupying the #2 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, the song is unconventional and mysterious, perfectly conforming to Billie’s persona as an artist.
The 17-year-old is a pop sensation with over 33 million followers on Instagram and 1 billion streams on Spotify, with only 2 years of her career under her belt. I first listened to Billie when her song “watch” came up on my Spotify Discover playlist — she had 32,000 Instagram followers and was 15 years old at the time.
Her insane rise to fame always makes me think about potential, possibility, and passion. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and learned how to play guitar and piano around the age of 5. Music has always been one of my passions, but I’m scared to chase after it my whole life, especially when the end result could possibly be failure. That terrifies me. I spend a lot of time pondering how different life would look if I had made different decisions or chose an alternate path — which is delusional, impractical and a total waste of time. There are endless possibilities — it’s no fun to think about what the past could have been. However, it is fun to think about what the future could be. My goal is to intertwine my passions with my potential, but self-doubt keeps holding me back.
We exist with unlimited amounts of potential, and it’s up to us to harness this potential and use it to the best of our ability. Billie Eilish did just that. She took risks, she stayed true to herself, and she let her passion for music drive her success.
Sure, she has an incredible team behind her, full of publicity wizards and musical geniuses, but the sentiment still stands. Eilish worked with what she had, and created something beyond her wildest dreams. She’s been in charge of her entire career, which is rare in today’s music industry. Other than her haunting pop music, Billie’s authenticity is one of the qualities that draws so many fans in. When surrounded by musicians who are fighting to fit into the perfect mold of the quintessential “pop star,” she stands out. She doesn’t smile in photos because it makes her feel weak, and she wears baggy clothes to avoid being sexualized by the media. She’s no stranger to openly speaking about her personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and her newfound fame. One of the things I admire most about Billie is her willingness to be unapologetically herself, even with millions of eyes on her.
I’m learning how to do that. I’m learning how to take risks, be bold, and not be afraid of other people’s opinions. Billie’s rise to fame is unique, but not entirely impossible. Don’t be scared of sharing your work with others. If you want people to listen, you have to put yourself out there. Once people start listening, create genuine connections with those who seem to be in it for the long haul. Be willing to deal with failure along the way. Know that it’s natural to doubt yourself and your abilities, but don’t let that keep you from pursuing your passion.
If you find yourself needing inspiration, check out this podcast by DIY Musician on how to avoid getting discouraged: