Billie Eilish just won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Record of the Year “Everything I Wanted.” It was a repeat of last year when she sweep the major categories. The music of Eilish first gained attention in 2015 when she uploaded the song “Ocean Eyes” to SoundCloud. The song was written and produced by her brother. Her debut EP Don’t Smile at Me (2017) became a sleeper hit, reaching the top 15 in the US, UK Canada, and Australia. Her star has only risen since this time to include seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two Guinness WOrld Records, three MTV Video Music Awards and one Brit Award. She is the youngest person and the second in history to win the four main Grammy categories – Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year – in the same year.
Whether one’s into the music of Eilish or not, one has to be impressed by how Eilish creates her award-winning music. She began creating her award-winning music in the small bedroom of her home in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Her producer and recording engineer was her older brother Finneas O’Connell. It’s a small bedroom at that with a bed against one wall, where Eilish recorded her vocals, facing a desk and bookshelves and O’Connell’s modest production setup: Apple Logic Pro X, a Universal Audio Apollo 8 interface and a pair of Yamaha HS5 nearfields with an H8S subwoofer. When initially working together, a period that included the production of songs such as “Ocean Eyes,” “Six Feet Under” and “Bellyache,” O’Connell used the inexpensive Audio-Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser mic on his sister’s vocals.
The barebones production style that launched one of today’s top music team has to be an inspiration to all aspiring young musicians out there. Finneas says it well in an interview in Prosound. “When I was starting to make music, I thought I had to pay a bunch of people to do all my things professionally and that that would be the only way I would ever have any success. It’s really important for kids to not think that there’s something intangible and out of reach for them. The truth is that you just have to make a song that people like.”
Finneas on Producing. (With videos of music produced in the small bedroom with his sister Billie)
The World’s A Little Blurry. (A documentary film about Billie and Finneas)