Olivia Rodrigo: 'I wrote the bulk of the song literally crying in my living room'
16 January 2021
Olivia Rodrigo joined Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to chat about her chart-topping single “Drivers License” . She tells Zane how she’s handling the song’s massive success, the origin story of the song, Taylor Swift posting her cover of “Cruel Summer” on her story, being inspired by Gracie Abrams, emotion in songwriting, and what’s next.
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About The Massive Success of "Drivers License”… I mean, it's quite insane. "Drivers License" is my first single that I've put out, so I truly loved the song always. I didn't really expect it to chart or do anything, I was just so happy with it. So, the fact that it's number one in the world right now is absolutely mind-blowing. I can't believe any of it.
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About The Origin Story of “Drivers License"… I wrote the bulk of the song literally crying in my living room, and I think that it definitely has that feel to it. I was driving around my neighbourhood, actually listening to really sad songs and crying in the car, and I got home and I was like, "Maybe I'll write a song about this, crying in the car." So, I just sat down at my piano and plucked out some chords that I liked and it kind of happened that way. But it was really, really natural and organic. Very much me writing in the depth of my emotion. I think that's really cool.
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About Taylor Swift Posting Her Cover of “Cruel Summer” and Being a Swiftie… I’ve never met her in person, but I posted a cover of one of her songs off of Lover, "Cruel Summer," like a weirdo, and I did it on Instagram Live and she found it and she posted it on her story and was like, "This is amazing. Thank you so much." And I screamed my head off, I was so excited. I'm just the biggest Swiftie in the whole world, so I tweeted at her all the time and just post stuff about her just organically because that's how I'm feeling as a 17-year-old girl. But this time, I was dead asleep and my friend called me on the phone and I was like, "Oh my God, it's 6:00 AM, can I call you back in two hours?" And he's like, "No. Absolutely not. Check your Instagram right now." And in the grogginess of my sleep, I checked my phone and she commented on my photo and I just about died... just about died. Literally, I've looked up to her as long as I can remember, so it was so sweet of her to do that.
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About Being Inspired by Gracie Abrams and DM’ing Her on Instagram… One of my favourite artists and one of the coolest people ever is Gracie Abrams, who just came out with her debut EP a couple months ago. It's called Minor and she's absolutely amazing, love that entire record. She's signed to my same record label, so they're like, "Oh, we'll have you meet." And I'm like, "I literally don't think I can meet her. I think I would just evaporate. I'm her biggest fan.” I've heard the best things, and I've been DMing her on Instagram and I told her that "Driver's License" was so inspired by her and she's like, "Oh, that's amazing.”
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About The Emotion Behind “Drivers License”… Oh yeah. The pain is definitely real in that song. I definitely think I try to approach recording all of my music from a place of emotion. I think the emotional performances are the best, even if they're not technically the best sound, I think those are definitely the most impactful, so yeah, that's definitely what I went into recording "Drivers License.”
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music About Songwriting… Oh, I'm always writing. I write all the time, even if it's bad. Writing is just my favourite thing in the whole world. But yeah, just sitting in my room on my guitar is just my favourite thing in the whole world, so I'm going to be doing that until I'm 95.
Olivia Rodrigo Tells Apple Music What’s Next… I guess I'll just take it day by day, but I'm filming a TV show right now in Utah, I'm also a senior in high school and now I've got this burgeoning music career, so it's all so exciting. And I have really, really awesome people around me who help me and support me and really just love me for me, which at the end of the day is the most important thing.