Olivia Rodrigo 'Resents' the Narrative that Was 'Tossed Around' After Releasing 'Drivers License'

"I put it out not knowing that it would get that reaction, so it was really strange [when] it did," she told Variety

Olivia Rodrigo in Variety
Photo: Heather Hazzan for Variety

Olivia Rodrigo is reflecting on the release of her debut album Sour.

In a new interview for Variety's Power of Young Hollywood issue, the "Jealousy, Jealousy" singer, 18, opened up about the reception to her song "Drivers License" and the speculation surrounding who the song was about.

At the time, it was rumored that the song was about her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series costar Joshua Bassett and that references to "that blonde girl" were about fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter.

"I put it out not knowing that it would get that reaction, so it was really strange [when] it did. I just remember [everyone being] so weird and speculative about stuff they had no idea about," she told the magazine, before adding, "I don't really subscribe to hating other women because of boys. I think that's so stupid, and I really resent that narrative that was being tossed around."

Olivia Rodrigo in Variety
Heather Hazzan for Variety

The song went on to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the youngest person to reach the peak of the chart. The singer said she didn't know what to do when she saw it blowing up.

"I was sitting in a grocery store parking lot, and I called my A&R guy. It had just gone No. 1 on Apple Music, which is hard for a pop act to do," Rodrigo said. "We were looking at each other on FaceTime, speechless, and just stared at each other for a minute. 'What do we do?' 'I don't know.'"

"That was the moment that I knew that it was going to be something bigger than I expected," she added. (The song joins a short list of tracks with more than a billion streams on Spotify.)

Olivia Rodrigo in Variety
Heather Hazzan for Variety

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The album that followed "Drivers License," Sour, has become the breakup album of the year, especially for Gen Z'ers.

"I definitely talked about my deepest, darkest secrets and insecurities on Sour — which is sort of strange to be like, 'Here, you guys can have this. Anyone who wants to listen to it can listen to it,'" Rodrigo said. "But it's really empowering when it comes out, and it's been really awesome for me to see people resonate with that vulnerability and relate to it."

"I definitely saw 'Sour' as a kind of slice of teenage life," she added. "I think a big part of growing up is going through your first love and first heartbreak, and that was definitely reflected in the album, but I think songs like 'Brutal' and 'Jealousy, Jealousy' reflect the other parts of being a teenager and feeling insecure and not sure how you fit into the world."

Olivia Rodrigo in Variety
Olivia Rodrigo covers Variety. Heather Hazzan for Variety

Rodrigo also spoke about her many F-bombs on the album — an uncommon occurrence for artists on the Disney trajectory.

"People ask me all the time, 'Oh, did you just swear so that people would know that you're not a Disney kid anymore?'" she said. "It truly isn't a calculated decision in my head. It's not like, 'Oh, I'm gonna be an edgy kid now.'"

"I just tend to have a very dirty mouth, and I think that obviously reflects itself in my songwriting," she added.

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