Three years ago, Billie Eilish made a shaky start to her Coachella career. Held at the festival’s Outdoor Theatre, the then 17-year-old’s set was blighted by technical mishaps: she arrived on stage over half an hour late, forgot some of the words to “All the Good Girls Go to Hell”, and worst of all, brought out special guest Vince Staples for “&burn” only for his microphone to entirely fail to work, leaving him rapping in silence. Not ideal, then.
Still, she had fond memories of that weekend, too. After all, it was backstage here in Indio that Eilish met her teen idol Justin Bieber. In footage captured for RJ Cutler’s 2021 documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, the pair meet and embrace for the first time. Eilish had grown up worshipping the Canadian singer, who is eight years her senior, and the moment marked a sort of emotional crossing of the Rubicon for Eilish as she was quite literally welcomed into the world of pop superstardom by the icon she’d deified.
Across just two feted albums (and a Bond theme for good measure), Eilish has become a Grammy magnet and an all-round alt-pop sensation. Mixing retro tones with mordant lyrics about issues both universal and specific to her life – everything from teenage heartbreak to NDAs and paparazzi – Eilish sings with a voice that veers from whispering to full-throttle belting without ever losing its intimacy.