Olivia Rodrigo has been dubbed as the biggest new artist to emerge from 2021. Not only did her debut single, “Drivers License”, climb to the top of the charts, her album “Sour” was also one of the best selling records last year. As a cherry on top of her already successful career, the 19-year-old scored 7 Grammy nominations.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much opportunity for Olivia Rodrigo to perform live. To quote Rolling Stone, the young pop star has decided to solve this problem in 2 ways. She’s not only launching her first ever tour in April, but she’s also releasing the film “Driving Home 2 U (A Sour Film)” on streaming platform Disney+ this week.
We recently had the chance to chat with her about her latest project, what went on behind-the-scenes, the anticipation of going on the road, her love for music, and more. Scroll down to read our conversation.
1. What does the album “Sour” mean to you?
Yeah, this album is so special to me. Um, obviously, it’s the first kind of body of work that I’ve put out. I wrote it during a time in my adolescence where I was experiencing a lot of new feelings for the first time. Writing the album was really the way that I processed all of those emotions. Just on a personal level, it was a really important thing for me to do. And then, to put it out and have people respond so positively to it was such a blessing.
2. How emotionally draining was the recording process, and how do you feel singing these songs now? Do they carry new meaning?
Yeah. I don’t think, actually, recording and writing the songs were draining, so much as they were cathartic. I think when you’re going through something that’s hard to process and you write a song about it, things become less confusing and easier to understand. It was a really amazing part of the recording process. I’m really excited to go on tour also because I think once you put the songs out into the world, they kind of take on a whole new meaning. And you get to see people kind of make them their own and that’s really exciting, and so I get to kind of see that firsthand, when I get to meet people on tour.
3. How important is female representation to you, especially in the music industry?
Totally. Just on a personal level, I love working with women. I think female friendships are the most fulfilling relationships in the world. It was so fun to kinda do all these songs with women. I love performing rock songs especially with women. I remember just growing up and not seeing, like, a ton of women in rock and so it’s always really empowering to watch girls shred on the guitar and stuff like that. There’s a lot of that in the film and I’m also gonna be doing a lot of that on tour, so that’s really exciting.
4. How was the process of planning your first ever tour, and what was the biggest challenge? Did you get any advice from your pop star friends?
Um…yeah, I’m so excited to go on tour. I’m actually in rehearsals right now. It’s really exciting to cultivate an all-around experience for people, visually and sonically. And it’s so fun to pick out the outfits. There’re just so many details that go into a tour, and it’s so fun to create that way. But yeah, all of my friends are advising me on how to take care of yourself on the road. Because it’s a lot of traveling and performing every night can kind of become physically exhausting when you do it so often. And so my friends have been asking me to get lots of sleep, eat well, and drink water – all of those things.
How much creative direction did you get to input in the film or during the filming process?
One of my favourite parts about being an artist is to have a hand in so many different aspects of your career. You get to make music, but you also get to make the music videos, and the films, and you get to decide what you wear. There’s so many different mediums of expression where you can take advantage of as an artist.
6. In the film, you touched a little bit on the subject of entering the industry and Hollywood at a young age, but did you feel like being a celebrity robbed you of an experience of being a regular teenage girl?
Olivia Rodrigo: That’s an interesting question. I think that I’ve always had a sort of strange life even before. I was homeschooled since I was really young, and I’m an only child, and I’ve always loved to keep to myself. It’s just now people are looking at it a little differently, which is really exciting and I’m really grateful that I get to write songs and people wanna hear me sing them.
7. In the film, we can see the journey and the growth you’ve had. How did it make you feel?
Super nostalgic. I think it’s really cool – especially in the GoPro footage – to watch the very early stages of songs that now have a completely different meaning and have taken on a whole new life. It’s really cool to look back at those memories of writing those songs.
8. In the film, we saw childhood footage of you holding a mic. At that time, did you already have the dream of becoming a singer?
Yeah. I mean, I’ve always loved singing, and I’ve been writing songs ever since I can remember. My parents have photos and home videos of me at 6 years old, singing songs that I wrote, and some of them are, like, in gibberish. So it’s always been something that I’ve loved to do, but I don’t think I could have ever imagined that it would happen so wonderfully like this past year. So I’m very grateful.
9. You have all this new arrangement for the song which you performed at various locations for the film. What was the most memorable one for you?
Ooh, that’s a great question. First of all, thank you. Um…I really love the new arrangement of “Jealousy, Jealousy”. We kind of did it under a freeway overpass. It’s this, like, punk rock version of the song on the album, and I had a lot of fun kinda rocking out with my band members on that one. I also really like “Hope Ur Okay”— we did it on a beach, and so that was a lot of fun for me to film.
10. Are there any misconceptions about you out there that you’re hoping for this film to clear up?
Oh, um…not really. I think the point of the film for me was to just make a piece of content for my fans who maybe couldn’t make it to my tour. And I just wanted to kind of reimagine these songs and talk about what it was like to make them. So that was really my sole intention.
11. What was the most difficult part during filming?
I think it was a little nerve-wracking for me at first to put the GoPro footage in, just because it’s such an intimate footage of me and my producer, Dan, in the studio. It’s a scary thought to give that footage out into the world where it can be interpreted in whatever way. But, it was also my favourite part of the film; watching it back.
12.What is the most important thing to keep in mind for people, especially your fans who want to pursue a career in the music industry?
I think you just have to make music for you and because you love it. You can never write songs from a place of wanting to please others, or wanting to be popular. Whenever I try to do that, the song is really bad. As long as you put your heart into the songs that you’re writing, I think you can never go wrong.
“Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U” is currently streaming on Disney+.