Billie Eilish on being dragged down by weight in underwater shoot for album cover

Billie Eilish on being dragged down by weight in underwater shoot for album cover

Billie Eilish dived deep for her latest album artwork, which was shot underwater, and has described how she had a weight “strapped” to her to hold her down.

On the cover of her new record Hit Me Hard and Soft, the Grammy-winning singer can be seen on her back, fully clothed, in a 10 ft deep tank. A white door lies open above her at the water’s surface.

Recalling the intense photoshoot on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday (21 May), the 22-year-old said: “This was the day after this last Grammys, actually. I had gone to sleep at 7am. I woke up, I dyed my hair black – it was like bright red.

“Then I went to this random place in Santa Clarita or some nonsense. There’s a tank in this giant place, and it was, like, 10 ft deep. And I popped my little ass in there, and I was in there for six hours.”

She explained that she was wearing “big long pants, giant shorts, a thermal long-sleeve, a button-up flannel, a tie, rings, arm warmers, bracelet and a weight”, adding: “I had a weight strapped to me.”

When Colbert suggested she could have drowned, Eilish said: “Dude, I’ve done it so many times – almost died in these shoots.” She then added half-jokingly: “It’s like I need to suffer.”

The artist – who was submerged in the tank just after winning a Grammy for her Barbie soundtrack song “What Was I Made For?” – also revealed that she didn’t have a nose plug during the entire shoot, so she was “basically waterboarding myself for six hours”.

Eilish’s ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ cover art (AP)
Eilish’s ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ cover art (AP)

Speaking about what the cover art means, she said: “A lot of my inspirations for the visuals on this album were optical illusion-type things. Things that just make you question it or think about it for longer.”

She also talked about how the album, which explores existential unease, body image, and love, is “truly is the most genuine thing I’ve ever made”, adding: ““It feels very, very me and it feels like all of the music is exactly who I am, all the visuals are exactly who I am and that’s honestly terrifying and that’s why I’m literally shaking right now.”

In a five-star review of the new record, The Independent’s music critic Helen Brown wrote: “Are we finally seeing the artist behind the baggy-goth avatar? Interrogating her public image and fan culture, Eilish delivers a restless album that is equal parts sighing and squalling.”

Eilish’s third third studio album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, was released on 17 May.