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Why No Time To Die Singer Billie Eilish Actually Practiced Writing James Bond Songs Before Ever Getting The Job

Billie Eilish on No Time To Die album art
(Image credit: Interscope Records)

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell are currently frontrunners to become the songwriters behind the third James Bond theme to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song with “No Time To Die.” As it turns out, having a song in their discography that soundtracks Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond has a history in the pair being longtime fans of the 007 franchise. 

“No Time To Die” is a first for the James Bond movies in more ways than one. Billie Eilish and Finneas’ theme marks the youngest an artist has been to sing the main song from the film series, as well the first to be recorded outside a traditional studio. They wrote it on a tour bus and first recorded it in their bedroom studio. Now that the song is an Oscar nominee, 20-year-old Eilish shared her own roots with the franchise:  

We for years have wanted to write a Bond song, like sometimes we would like to pretend to and come up with chords that felt like Bond. And we would literally do this way before it was even a real thing that we would ever do.

During the interview with Variety, 24-year-old Finneas O’Connell admitted to thinking it might be obtainable to write a Bond song “maybe ten years from now,” and wasn’t expecting it to happen that quickly. And yet, it did. As the songwriters shared, they’ve always been big fans of the James Bond movies, and in their spare time would pretend to write Bond-style music. Eilish continued to explain the process of writing “No Time To Die”: 

It was a lot of digesting the movies and taking in the iconic world of the Bond franchise. We’ve loved it for so long that it wasn’t a new thing for us… We knew pretty certain what the song was going to have to feel like. It was just about figuring out how to do it. It was the melodies that were the main thing.

It certainly helps that the writing pair had a nice grip on what a 007 theme looks like, and as it turns out, that helps a lot. As Billie Eilish expressed prior, they were up to write the theme back in 2019 before the singer won her Grammys in 2020 and became more famous. Eilish and her brother felt like they were in a “long kind of strategic process” making the song, and it felt like they were auditioning as they penned it. 

Daniel Craig almost didn’t approve of the tune according to one producer involved, but once they found the emotional climax of “No Time To Die,” the James Bond actor signed off on it. Billie Eilish also said this:

It was one of our biggest goals and dreams. Not even goals, because goals are more things you think you can achieve and this is not something we thought we could do.

Being part of No Time To Die was a dream come true for Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, and now they are recognized among the best theme songs of 2021 in the Oscar nominations, which also features music by Beyoncé, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Van Morrison and Diane Warren. The Oscars will air on Sunday, March 27. You can hear the duos’ latest movie music in Turning Red, where they penned songs for Pixar’s fictional boy band.  

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