Up-and-coming indie singer Billie Eilish to play the IMU


Sixteen-year-old Los Angeles-raised singer/songwriter Billie Eilish’s indie-pop music is slowly taking over the alternative world. Named as one of VEVO dscvr’s artists to watch and one of Apple Music’s Up Next Artists, her dark music and twisted beats have entered the headsets of music junkies everywhere, now more than ever.

On April 2, she will be taking her talents to the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom, becoming a stop on her “don’t smile at me” tour. Eilish will be supported by Reo Cragun, a 23-year-old hip-hop/R&B artist whose song “inconsiderate” has been listened to by more than 5 million people on Spotify.

The show will be put on by SCOPE, the UI’s student run talent-buying group. SCOPE public-relations director Luke Pettican said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the group expects a big turnout for the show. He is proud of the work his coworkers do to bring great acts to campus, he said.

“There are more than 45 members in SCOPE who work on everything from marketing to hospitality,” Pettican said. “It’s such a privilege to work with so many inspiring people who are dedicated to bringing an engaging live-music experience to Iowa City.”

Eilish has been on the lineup for many music festivals lately, including a show at South By Southwest. She is also scheduled to play at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, among others. Her popularity was recognized by BBC Music, and she is the youngest ever to make it onto The Longlist in the Sound of 2018.

UI freshman Kaylee Kuhn, who already bought a ticket to see the show, said when it comes to looking for new music, she looks for songs with deep meanings that she can connect with. Eilish’s music fits that bill.

“Her songs are so soothing and powerful at the same time, and it’s so impressive that she’s making such great music at only 16,” Kuhn said. The song she was most excited to hear is “copycat,” an eerie melody about a girl who copies everything Eilish does. The song has more than 17 million plays on Spotify.

Many listeners may wonder how SCOPE gets such popular acts to come to town. Turns out, it gets a little help from a middle man called How To Concerts, SCOPE talent buyer Savannah Lane said.

This year’s past SCOPE shows, including COIN, Portugal. The Man, and Saint Motel, all seemed to fall into the same alternative-rock category. However, Lane said, this is mostly by coincidence.

“I definitely wanted to do something different, and Billie is definitely more pop than anything, she has kind of an edgier vibe,” Lane said. “And the opener is actually a rapper, so it’s cool that we get to do a different show to kind of wrap our year up.”

She was listening to Eilish’s music when the the thought came to her to bring her to Iowa, Lane said. She checked Eilish’s tour dates, and sure enough, she was passing right through Iowa City on her way to Minneapolis from Chicago. She got in contact with the middle man, and the show was born.

SCOPE has hosted many now-big names, including Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, before they made it really big.

“I definitely think she’s super on the cuff right now, and SCOPE really tries to focus on getting up-and-coming artists,” Lane said.

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