Look, we all knew Billie Eilish was going to be one of this year’s South by Southwest breakouts. The 16-yr-old singer’s debut single “Ocean Eyes” was just certified gold with over 350 million streams worldwide and she comes into the fest off a string of sold out shows and heads out on the next leg as soon as the fest is over.
An eager crowd pressed into the small stage area at the VEVO House to see her, and by the time she finished her first song, a powerful rendition of “Bellyache,” in which she moved from belting a hook while wildly jumping around the stage to standing in place, reaching inside and allowing her voice to lift into a plaintive piccolo whisper, we knew exactly why we were there.
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Clad in what looked like a pair of jammies, covered in unprintable expletives, her set was an impressive demonstration of range. She delved deep on “Six Feet Under,” she made us dance with “Copycat” and she was the picture of ingenue cool on a ukulele cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
In all, she proved she has the depth and range to be way more than a flash in the pan. She’s a genuine pop phenomenon who is about to be very, very famous. And mainstream American radio is probably better for it.