Billie Eilish’s ‘reoccurring nightmares’ inspired parts of her debut album

Billie Eilish’s ‘reoccurring nightmares’ inspired parts of her debut album


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Two years ago tomorrow, March 29, 2019, Billie Eilish released her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The record was a smash hit that debuted at number one in the UK and US album charts. Eilish herself has spoken candidly about writing and recording the album alongside her brother, Finneas O’Connell, but she explained in February 2019 how most of the songs were connected to her experiences while sleeping.

While speaking to Zane Lowe, Eilish said: “The album is basically what happens when you fall asleep.

“For me, every song in the album… there is sleep paralysis. There’s night terrors, nightmares, lucid dreams.”

The singer, who was 17-years-old at the time, then detailed her own sleep issues, saying: “Sleep and not sleep have always been a big part of my life. I’ve always had really, really bad night terrors.

“I’ve had sleep paralysis five times. All my dreams are lucid so I control them. And I know that I’m dreaming when I’m dreaming so… I don’t even know.”

Eilish went on to tell Lowe: “Sometimes I’ll have dreams where the thing that was in my dream will happen the next day. It’s so weird. It’s so weird.”

The singer then opened up about a relentless nightmare she experienced in 2018.

She said: “Probably a year and a half ago I had the same reoccurring nightmare for two months. It was the same dream every single night. It really f****d me up for the whole two months.

“It affected me in my life. It affected the way that I viewed things and how I was talking to people, and how I was thinking.”

Eilish added: “I just was different. It was because of my dreams. It was changing me as a person.”

The singer then revealed the song Bury A Friend is based on the concept of sleep paralysis.

She explained the music video which accompanies the song was based on her own experience of it, where she played the literal “monster under the bed”.

Despite the dark origins of her debut album, Eilish praised her brother and her label for getting the final record released.

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The album wasn’t finished without some difficulty, however.

In an interview in January 2019, Eilish revealed the album was taking longer than anticipated to complete.

She said: “There was just this sense of doom like: ‘Dude, this is never going to end.’

“It has been kind of shocking that people [liked] it… but also not. I never expect anyone to like anything I do. I think that’s good because otherwise I’d seem like a f*****g jackass, so I make sure I stay in my own Billie brain of thinking no one cares.”

The entirety of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was recorded in the bedroom of Eilish’s brother, Finneas. She has also recorded all her music since in that same room, including the latest James Bond theme, No Time To Die.

Speaking about recording there, Eilish said last year: “People always ask: ‘How does it feel to have started out in your brother’s tiny room, and now you’re in the big studio?’ But I’m not. I’m still in the same room.”

The sibling duo must be doing something right, considering the exceptional album won Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Her hit single Bad Guy also won Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well. 

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