Olivia Rodrigo is not holding back on her upcoming album GUTS, but she does feel a “responsibility” to warn the subjects of her new songs — especially after the Joshua Bassett drama that came after her “Drivers License” single release.
Rodrigo, 20, admitted that she “had no idea how to deal with” the public and their ongoing speculation about her past relationship after “Drivers License” dropped in January 2021.
“Literally, it was the first song out of the gate and all of that s–t happened. I felt so ill-equipped,” she recalled while chatting with Phoebe Bridgers in an Interview Magazine profile published on Tuesday, September 5. “That was an overwhelming experience, but now I definitely feel a responsibility. I just try not to think about it during the writing process.”
Following the “Drivers License” release, listeners speculated that the track was about Rodrigo’s apparent split from Bassett, 22. Because she sang about “that blonde girl,” Sabrina Carpenter was brought into the mix due to her connection with Bassett at the time.
Initially, the drama changed how Rodrigo went into writing her sophomore album, GUTS, set to be released on Friday, September 8.
“When I first started writing this record, I would sit at the piano and pretend other people were hearing what I was writing, which is so awful and counterproductive to any creativity, so I had to just write what I wanted to write and think about the social implications after,” she told Bridgers. “It’s tricky. I don’t think anyone has it down to a science. I can’t even believe that people listen and talk about my music as it is, so it’s crazy to think about.”
While Rodrigo admitted that she’s “still learning how to deal” with her whirlwind fame, she did tease an upcoming song inspired by the “Drivers License” fallout.
“There’s one song that I wrote about how my life changed because of all of the things that happened with the last album and how crazy that was,” she shared. “It was cathartic in the end, but it was kind of hard dredging up all of that stuff.”
That being said, Rodrigo is “grateful” for how far she’s come in her career.
“So many people would love to be in this position,” she explained. “But you still have to acknowledge trauma.”
Rodrigo’s candid discussion about her music comes days after she addressed rumors that her recent single “Vampire” was about Taylor Swift. Fans have long speculated that the two musicians have bad blood after Rodrigo gave Swift, 33, various songwriting credits on her SOUR album. (Rodrigo, who previously cited Swift as one of her biggest inspirations, has also confessed that she didn’t attend any Eras Tour shows.)
“I was very surprised when people thought that,” she told The Guardian in an interview published on Saturday, September 2. “I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about. I’ve never done that before in my career and probably won’t. I think it’s better to not pigeonhole a song to being about this one thing.”
However, Rodrigo did admit to Bridgers that she was “so nervous” to release “Vampire” overall.
“I think you have to be wary about writing songs about fame. A lot of the time people don’t want to hear about that. But fame is more accessible than it has ever been,” she shared. “Everyone is yearning for some sort of internet virality, and there’s so much social climbing and lust for fame in the world that doesn’t have anything to do with living in L.A. or New York. It’s just prevalent in our generation.”