Billie Eilish and her producer-slash-brother Finneas have been the talk of the music industry lately — especially after "Bad Guy" singer swept the "Big Four" categories at this year's Grammys. Finneas's star has risen, too, thanks to his own burgeoning solo career and production and songwriting work with Camilla Cabello, Halsey, and more. But a higher profile comes with a lot of added scrutiny.
On Sunday (February 24), Finneas posted some advice for aspiring musicians in a now-deleted tweet. "A piece of advice to young creatives," he wrote. "'Shooting your shot' is promoted widely and I think honestly, it's a little overrated. Work super hard alone or with your closest friends. Make shit so good it speaks for itself. Don't pester people to work with you, let them come to you."
It didn't take long for tweeters to respond, explaining that for some, it's just not that simple. "Spoken like someone born to two actors in LA," one person wrote, pointing out how Billie and Finneas's parents worked as actors as they homeschooled their children. "Here's my piece of advice: check your privilege."
After receiving many similar messages, Finneas returned to Twitter to explain that growing up, they didn't have any connections in music and their family was not financially stable. "During my life time, our parents were never able to fully financially support us off their work as actors," he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "Our dad worked 12 hour days 7 days a week as a construction worker for Mattel and our mom was a teacher. Our parents gave us love but knew no one in the record industry."
Finneas continued in a separate tweet by explaining that, these days, they're fortunate enough to help give back to their parents. "I paid off their mortgage last year and billie pays them each salaries to tour with us full time though they have told us many times they would work for us for free," he tweeted. "Anyone who saw us on tour in 2019 knows our dad insists on sweeping the stage each night before we perform."
Eilish herself faced criticism about privilege recently after making comments about hip-hop in an interview with Vogue earlier this month. "There's a difference between lying in a song and writing a story," she told the mag. "There are tons of songs where people are just lying. There's a lot of that in rap right now, from people that I know who rap. It's like, 'I got my AK-47, and I'm fuckin'...' and I'm like, what? You don't have a gun. 'And all my bitches...' I'm like, which bitches? That's posturing, and that's not what I'm doing."
Eilish was criticized her for singling out rap music specifically in an industry where artifice knows no single genre.
Still, even as the brother-sister duo face added scrutiny over their words — and as their stars continue to rise, performing at the Oscars and collaborating on the new theme for James Bond film No Die to Die — Finneas's words during their Grammys acceptance speech for Song of the Year remain a more inspiring message. "This is to all of the kids who are making music in their bedroom today," he said. "You're going to get one of these."