Both Eilish, 21, and Lipa, 28, contributed music to the film, with Dua among the writers of Dance The Night and Billie penning What Was I Made For? with her brother and musical partner Finneas.
Eilish revealed she was struggling with some writer’s block before she tackled the Barbie song, and credited Barbie director Greta Gerwig with ‘saving’ her amid her creative block.
She described how she and her brother came up with the track in the studio, after spending a whole day hitting a creative wall.
‘I was sitting on a little couch with the handheld and he was playing those chords and it was just like (starts singing “What Was I Made For?”). We were talking a lot about the floating elegance of [Barbie] and her ability to be so smooth and beautiful and perfect all the time. And then the juxtaposition of her suddenly falling and [she] can’t do everything perfectly.
‘So it was that, “I used to float, now I just fall down.” We wrote that and then, “I used to know, but I’m not sure now.” And I immediately was like: “What I was made for.” Then we were both asking the question after that and we did that in probably five minutes. It was like it was God. It was just the most perfect example to me of true inspiration and connection. It was living in me that whole day, but it wasn’t coming out of me.
‘We didn’t go into it knowing at all what we were going to make or if we were going to make anything. And it was just so clear that we needed to. Like you were saying, Olivia, I love writing for film. Not even just film but for something.’
But it wasn’t until she played the song for a friend a short time later that the meaning of it all hit her.
‘The next day or two later, I played it for a friend and we were sitting in the car. I was like, “This b**ch is singing about me!” And it was scary. I was shaky. It was like if you woke up and someone had taken a photo of you sleeping,’ she said.
‘I thank God for Greta, man. I honestly was concerned that it was over for me. I’ve got to be honest with you. She saved me, really, honestly. Getting that request, it was like a FaceTime, it brought us both out of it, and immediately we were inspired and wrote so much more after that. Especially when it came out, I was like, “Aye yai yai.” It was like somebody reading your diary or something.’
The songstress admitted she had feared she had hit her ‘peak’ before the Barbie song.
‘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?”‘
As for Dua, she learned about the project after receiving a message from fellow music maker Mark Ronson.
‘It was, from the very beginning, the most fun experience. It was something that I hadn’t done before. Basically, the way it came to be was Mark Ronson DM’d me on Instagram, which is weird because we’re friends, so we text. He was like, “I’m working on this film with Greta Gerwig and it’s Barbie, and it’s possibly the funniest script I’ve read, and I really want you to write the song for the big dance scene in the film.”
‘I was like, “This is an absolute no-brainer. One thousand percent yes.” I was on tour at the time, so I was like, “OK, when does the song need to be due?”
‘I flew to New York, we went in the studio, and we just had so much time talking to Greta, understanding the premise of the film. It’s so much about stereotypical Barbie having an existential crisis and finding out what it’s like to experience the human condition and the way that we are as people and the emotions that we feel. And constantly striving for perfection but not quite reaching it, striving for something deeper in a way.
‘Greta was saying how inspired by disco she was. I just thought about disco and the community it brings, and the way it brings people together. It was always a genre of music that was such a release when things weren’t going well in the world. And so Dance the Night was created specifically for Barbie’s best day ever, which then results in her thinking about death.
‘So it’s really about those dualities of life and being able to merge the two together. And that’s what I love the most. I love dance-crying.’