While Billie Eilish‘s “What Was I Made For?” is one of the most significant musical moments of 2023, she says it came after one of the lowest moments in her life.
Eilish, 22, spoke about dealing with dark thoughts at the Palm Springs Film Awards on Thursday, January 4. When accepting the Chairman’s Award alongside her brother and cowriter, Finneas, the “NDA” singer said that “any recognition that this song gets, I just want to dedicate to anyone who experiences hopelessness, the feeling of existential dread and feeling like, ‘What’s the point? Why am I here? And why am I doing this?’”
“I think we all feel like that occasionally, but I think if somebody like me, with the amount of privilege that I have and the incredible things that I get to do and be and how I have really not wanted to be here,” continued Eilish. “Sorry to be dark, damn. But I’ve spent a lot of time feeling that way.”
Eilish then spoke to anyone who might be dealing with similar mental health issues. “Be patient with yourself,” she said. “And know that it is, I think, worth it all. And I think that it’s good to be alive now. I didn’t feel like that for a very long time.”
In the acceptance speech, Eilish said she was in a “dark episode” when Barbie director Greta Gerwig approached her and Finneas, 26, to pen a song for the film. During this episode, Eilish said that “things didn’t make sense in life. I just didn’t understand what the point was and why you would keep going. Just questioning everything in the world.”
Eilish — who previously spoke about how she and Finneas were given a private showing of rough footage of Barbie as a way to inform the creation of the song that would become “What Was I Made For?” — said that she witnessed Margot Robbie’s Barbie “say and feel things that I really, really, really resonated with and felt so close to” during this preview.
Eilish said she felt “so seen” by Barbie’s existential dread and that the film is “the most incredible, most empowering and beautiful and funny and just unbelievable piece of art in the world, and I’m so honored to be a part of it.”
The “Bad Guy” singer has been open about her struggles with mental health and dealing with body-shaming comments. In 2018, she spoke about how she was in a Berlin hotel room when she contemplated suicide. “I remember there was a window right there,” she said. “I remember crying because I was thinking about how the way that I was going to die was, I was going to do it.”
“What I Was Made For” heads into the 2024 awards season with a handful of nominations. The track is shortlisted for the Best Original Song category at the 96th Academy Awards, posing it to receive a proper nomination once they’re announced on January 23. The song scored five nominations at the 2024 Grammys: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Song Written for Visual Media, Best Music Video and Best Pop Solo Performance.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.