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Billie Eilish Recalls Having a ‘Dark Episode’ Before Writing ‘Barbie’ Song ‘What Was I Made For?’

During her acceptance speech for the Chairman’s Award during the annual Palm Springs Film Awards last night, Billie Eilish admitted that she has been through some tough times in recent years. Speaking alongside her brother Finneas, who co-wrote Eilish’s Grammy-nominated Barbie hit “What Was I Made For?,” the singer recalled wanting her life to end.

“I would really like to say that this award and 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?’” Eilish said. “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… sorry to be dark, damn, but I’ve spent a lot of time feeling that way.”

She added, “I just want to say to anyone that feels that way: Be patient with yourself and know that it is, I think, worth it all.”

Eilish recalled being in a “dark episode” when she and Finneas were approached to write a song for Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie film, which stars Margot Robbie. She explained during her speech that “things didn’t make sense in life. I just didn’t understand what the point was and why you would keep going. [I was] questioning everything in the world.”

After seeing footage from the movie, which Gerwig screened for the pair, Eilish gained a new perspective. “Basically I was just watching Barbie say and feel things that I really, really, really resonated with and felt so close to,” she said. “I felt so seen, and I did not expect that. I think that this movie 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.”

Eilish previously discussed the creative slump she was experiencing before writing “What Was I Made For?” during a Hollywood Reporter artists roundtable that gathered the favorites for the Academy Awards’ Best Original Song. During the conversation, Eilish said she was struggling to write songs following her Happier Than Ever album. But then she was handed a “homework” assignment: Writing a song for Barbie.


“I honestly was concerned that it was over for me,” Eilish said. “We’d been trying, and it wasn’t doing what it usually would do in me. I was honestly like, ‘Damn, maybe I hit my peak and I don’t know how to write anymore?’”

“What Was I Made For?” is nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. It is considered a frontrunner for the Oscars’ Best Original Song.

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