For the live premiere of her documentary The World’s a Little Blurry, Billie Eilish took it to where it all started — at home in Los Angeles.
On Thursday (Feb. 25), the 19-year-old global sensation was driving her “Dragon,” aka her matte black Dodge Challenger that she received as a gift for her 17th birthday, around her beloved hometown at dusk.
“L.A. really just formed who I was, having everything right at my hands. I mean, it still took work and stuff, but I think it helped a lot,” Eilish later told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe during the interview portion of the premiere, which fans streamed for free on Apple TV, Apple Music or Eilish’s YouTube channel. “And L.A. is just beautiful and home to me. I’ve never lived anywhere else.”
She pulls up right next to her brother and hitmaker-in-crime Finneas, who’s playing “ilomilo” on a sky blue piano that would’ve matched the sky earlier in the day. The “Therefore I Am” singer walks out wearing the Gucci x North Face puffer jacket and matching bucket hat, but her easily recognizable neon green hair still peeks out from underneath and frames her face, which sometimes goes out of focus to reveal the L.A. skyline behind her.
Following her stripped-down performance of the track from her blockbuster debut album Where We All Sleep, Where Do We Go?, the Grammy-winning singer plops down right next to Lowe in a comfy chair setup in the same sky blue shade as her microphone and Finneas’ piano. The two launch into the interview segment by discussing how she landed on the title of her Apple TV+ documentary, which is derived from the second verse of “ilomilo.”
“We just went through all of my songs and just looked through and saw if there was anything or if it sparked an idea,” she says. “And The World’s a Little Blurry, it kind of felt like it encapsuled (sic) the film in a way and the time of my life that the film took place, of just crazy things happening while I was also going through puberty and learning about being a teenager and fame.”
Part of striking that balance between being an ordinary teenager and a global superstar included putting off shows for driver’s ed. “All of these insane things were happening in my life that are monumental moments in anybody’s career…. But at the same time, I was like, ‘I want to get my license,’” she explains. “I want to do things because I was growing up…. I’ve wanted to drive my whole life.”
But what the film’s director R. J. Cutler found fascinating about this ying-yang coming-of-age narrative about Billie Eilish the artist and Billie Eilish the woman was how it took place within context of the larger “miraculous” family story. “How is it possible that Billie and Finneas do this work together? How is it possible that they’re two prodigies that come from the same parents?” Cutler tells Lowe in a previously recorded interview that plays on a big on-site screen adjacent the star of the film herself.
There are seven Grammy Awards between both siblings from last year alone at the 2020 Grammys, including all Big Four categories. Eilish and Finneas are up for record and song of the year again at the 2021 Grammys for “Everything I Wanted” and scored an additional nod for best song written for visual media for their James Bond theme “No Time To Die.” It’s not lost on anyone that the majority of the brother-sister duo’s highly lauded recordings came straight from Finneas’ bedroom in their Highland Park home, their dearest studio the two haven’t outgrown in the years since both of their musical careers have taken off.
As fans marvel at Eilish growing up in front of their eyes over the three years it took to film Blurry, starting when she was 15, 16 years old, she’s fascinated with how they’ve grown up right beside her.
“Something I’ve loved so much in this whole process… is the fact that I’ve literally grown up with my fans. We’ve grown up together,” she says. “When I was doing shows at 14, they were 14, a lot of them. And then I was 15, and they were 15. Especially when I would do shows in the same place like a year later, I’d see the same kids and they’d be so different. And we’d be so different, but we’d be still in sync.”
Shortly after showing the final clip of the doc where Eilish wraps her arms around fans during a live show and the camera pans to some of their tear-stained faces, the “Everything I Wanted” singer sheds tears of her own while telling the story, for the first time in public, her all-time favorite fan moment to end the premiere before fans rushed to stream Blurry.
“My favorite fan moment was I was in a store over a year ago, and I was just with a couple of my friends. And there was nobody in the store, I was just looking at clothes. And there was this girl across the room. And she walked in with somebody. I’m like gonna cry thinking about it. And she looked at me, and I looked at her. And I just smiled at her. And she ran to me, and she jumped in my arms and she hugged me, and I held her. And she cried. And we didn’t say a word. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced,” she recalls emotionally. “There’s nothing like that. They do that for me. And if I can be a little safety blanket for them, then I want to be that.”
Then from within the Dragon, Eilish leaves loving, parting words to her fans before driving away, leaving L.A. and the crystal clear night skyline behind her.