Groton’s Own Billie Eilish: Update with Ai Bendr


Courtesy of Chioma Illozor

Her hauntingly beautiful voice; her impeccable musical style; her unforgettable stage name: Ai Bendr, a version of her two middle names Ai and Bendors. (“Ai” means love in Chinese, and Bendors is a combination of her parents’ names, symbolizing love from her mom and dad). In a sense, the musical journey of Chioma Ilozor ‘20 is very much like a Billie Eilish success story: one of a teenage musician launching into stardom; on popular streaming platform Spotify, Chioma now has over 300,000 streams of her breakout song “Love Me Low.” Nevertheless, Chioma’s journey to musical success is unique and an inspiration for anyone with a passion for what they do.


While at Groton, Chioma regularly performed at Open Mics, postludes, and even composed her own ensemble pieces for the Composer’s Concert last year, building on her long standing love for singing and music making. Especially during her fifth form year, Chioma spent her free time in the music rooms, practicing and crafting her own songs. To her, music was her happy place, and it was something that she knew without a doubt she couldn’t live without.


A key turning point in her pursuit of becoming a singer was at the end of fourth form when she released her first song on the popular streaming platform Spotify. “I had always dreamed of becoming a singer like everyone does,” Chioma said, “but it was then that I became passionate and super dedicated to making music.” The jump from recording and performing at school to going digital and global was a crucial step that helped make her dream more tangible. “People don’t realize just how easy it is to release music on Spotify. Anyone can do it, and all you have to do is pay a small distribution fee.”


During the Covid-19 lockdown, Chioma wrote and self-recorded her breakout success song “Love Me Low.” It is currently featured in numerous popular Spotify playlists, and will be included in an upcoming Hulu show (details yet confirmed.) With her gain in publicity, Chioma has received many more opportunities, including meeting with members of the music industry and accessing “more exclusive” aspects of the industry. She is currently working with the music management company The Olympic Music Group, but is in the process of negotiating with record labels. She hopes to be able to stay at home in LA for longer instead of at school, so that she can put her best effort into her musical career. Even though she admits that she has long ways to go, Chioma is excited and can’t wait to work on more projects and release more songs: “Hopefully by next year or two years from now I really will be a success story, I’d love to be an inspiration and a role model to many people, and I want the whole world to know my songs and to cry to them.”


In September, Chioma was featured in The Travis Mills Show on Apple Music, a playlist hosted by Travis Mills, a recording artist and actor based in California, that regularly broadcasts new artists and their music. Chioma has also participated in numerous teleconference interviews on YouTube with various channels, and is featured in several online newsletters. She recently released her second song “Runaway” on Spotify, and we can anticipate more upcoming songs later this year and at the beginning of the next.