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17-year-old sensation Billie Eilish smashes sales, streaming records with debut album

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Seventeen-year-old goth-pop singer and Forbes30 Under 30” honoree Billie Eilish has made chart history, with her first full-length album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, scoring the biggest debut of the decade for any new artist.

Eilish is also the youngest female artist to hold the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart since Demi Lovato did so in 2009 at age 16, and is now the first artist born in the 2000s to score a No. 1 album.

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 313,000 album equivalent units (170,000 of which were album sales) — the second-biggest opening week for an album in 2019 so far, behind Ariana Grande’s thank u, next, and the second-biggest sales week of the year.

It only the seventh album by a woman to tally more than 300,000 units in one week since the Billboard chart began measuring albums by equivalent units; the other albums by female artists to hit that benchmark have been Adele’s 25, Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Reputation, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma, and Grande’s thank u, next. Eilish also had the third-highest-ever streaming week for a female artist (trailing Ariana Grande and Cardi B).

However, unlike the artists mentioned above, Eilish, who will play the Coachella festival this coming weekend, has achieved all this largely without any traditional radio play. As the title of a recent New York Times profile declared, “Billie Eilish Is Not Your Typical 17-Year-Old Pop Star. Get Used to Her.” The home-schooled child of actor parents, Eilish built her career and fanbase through SoundCloud and YouTube, recording her first viral hit “Ocean Eyes” at home with her older brother, Finneas O’Connell, when she was just 13; she had already amassed more than 1 billion streams by the time of her official album release.

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? — which also sold 15,000 vinyl LP copies, the largest one-week vinyl sales of 2019 — was one of this year’s most anticipated albums, breaking Apple Music’s all-time record for users “pre-adding” an album to their libraries ahead of its release. It has received glowing reviews since it came out March 29, including one rave from Variety predicting it will be nominated for Album of the Year at next year’s Grammy Awards.

Eilish has made many superstar fans, including Julia Roberts, who posted a giddy selfie with Eilish backstage at one of the singer’s sold-out shows in Los Angeles; the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, who praised Eilish for not “buying into the pop bulls*** the corporate demographic people are dishing out”; and the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, who said, “The connection that she has with her audience is the same thing that was happening with Nirvana in 1991.” Yahoo Entertainment named her one of the breakout music artists of 2018.

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I ♥️ Billie Eilish.

A post shared by Julia Roberts (@juliaroberts) on Nov 23, 2018 at 11:36pm PST

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