Billie Eilish Opens Up About Trauma, Talks New Album 'Happier Than Ever'

Photo: Kelia Anne MacCluskey

Billie Eilish's new album will touch on her experiences with trauma and the healing on the horizon.

In a new Rolling Stone cover story published Thursday (June 17), the “Your Power” singer, who returns with her sophomore LP Happier Than Ever July 30, opens up about the well of painful memories from which she drew for her upcoming record.

“I went through some crazy s—t, and it really affected me and made me not want to go near anyone ever,” said Eilish, though refrains from mentioning her abusers by name.

“There’ve been times where I’ve been really affected by somebody, and I said to them, ‘I need to tell you how you’ve made me feel,’” she recalled. “And they said something that was like, ‘I can’t handle this right now. I just can’t handle this right now. This is going to be too much for me.’”

Eilish said she became fed up with “being f—ked with” by hurt people who hurt people. “I was talking to a friend about their life, and they told me all this crazy traumatizing s—t that happened to them. And I’m like, ‘Oh, right, you don’t have to treat everyone like a piece of garbage, just because you’ve been hurt.’ It’s OK to be traumatized by something and have bad instincts, but also, there’s no excuse for abusing people,” she said. “There just is not. I feel like everything is excuses all the time. Excuses, excuses."

A lot of this energy is carried over on the singer’s new album, like on the album’s opener, “Getting Older,” on which Eilish sings: “Wasn’t my decision to be abused … I’ve had some trauma/Did things I didn’t wanna/Was too afraid to tell ya/But now I think it’s time.”

“I had to take a break in the middle of writing that one, and I wanted to cry, because it was so revealing. And it’s just the truth,” the 19-year-old said in reflecting on the song.

“I don’t know how to explain this, but all the songs on the album feel like a specific time, because they feel like when I wrote them and made them,” she explained. “It’s so funny that to the rest of the world it’s going to feel like a certain moment for them, and it’s going to be so different than mine. That’s such a weird, weird thing to wrap my head around. And I will fucking love it. I love it. That’s the reason you do this. It’s for that.”

As for her hopes of how fans will respond to Happier Than Ever, Eilish said: “I hope people break up with their boyfriends because of it. And I hope they don’t get taken advantage of.”

Read Billie Eilish's full Rolling Stone interview here.

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