Following the explosive success of her debut single, “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo has honed her instinct when it comes to creating new music.
In a recent cover story for Interview Magazine, the emerging pop sensation engaged in a candid conversation with fellow singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, touching on the challenges of handling media attention.
When asked if she ever felt the obligation to share her songs with their subjects before releasing them, Rodrigo reminisced about the tumultuous release of her breakthrough hit, “Drivers License.”
“At that time, the media frenzy was so overwhelming, and I felt completely unprepared to navigate it,” shared the 20-year-old artist. “It was the first song I ever released, and all of that chaos unfolded. I felt ill-equipped.”
She went on to say, “Now, I definitely feel a sense of responsibility, but I try not to let it cloud my creative process.”
Rodrigo unleashed “Drivers License” in January 2021, a track that dominated streaming charts both in the United States and globally. In just four days, she set a Spotify record with 15.17 million global streams, breaking her own record the following day with 17 million streams.
Elsewhere in the interview, the “Traitor” singer delved into the making of her sophomore album, “GUTS,” set to release on Friday.
“When I started writing this record, I used to imagine other people listening to my work, which hindered my creativity,” she explained. “I had to write authentically and worry about societal implications later.”
Rodrigo continued, “It’s a tricky process. Nobody has it all figured out. It’s still surreal that people listen to and discuss my music. I’m constantly learning how to handle it.”
Bridgers, 29, responded, “Your ability to create such powerful music amidst the media attention and scrutiny is impressive.”
Last month, Rodrigo spoke to The New York Times about how the success of her album “SOUR” influenced her decision-making and accelerated her maturity.
After ‘SOUR’ came out, I had a strong desire to live, experience life, make mistakes, and grow. I felt the pressure to conform to certain expectations,” she shared. “Perhaps, because of that pressure, I made choices I shouldn’t have, including relationships.”
While Rodrigo characterized herself as “tame,” she acknowledged how these relationships served as valuable learning experiences, inspiring themes and songs on her new record, where she reunited with producer Dan Nigro.
Rodrigo introduced the lead single from “GUTS,” titled “Vampire,” in June, detailing her experiences of being taken advantage of in a relationship due to her celebrity status.
She confessed to The Times that she initially hesitated to write about her fame, fearing it might seem self-indulgent. “I’ve always aimed to capture emotions rather than my unique environment,” the singer-songwriter explained. Ultimately, Rodrigo decided to craft the vulnerable ballad, viewing songwriting as a means to distill complex emotions into their purest and most potent form.