"I think all of us can feel restricted whether it’s by outside forces or by other people’s opinions," Rodrigo tells PEOPLE about her new 'The Rose Song' on this Friday's episode of HSMTMTS

By Tomás Mier
June 18, 2021 12:05 PM
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Olivia Rodrigo may only be 18 but she has the songwriting prowess of a veteran.

On Friday, Rodrigo - or, should we say her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series character Nini? - debuted "The Rose Song" on her show's newest episode. Friday's "Yes And..." follows the singer's character as she goes through writer's block before coming up with a gorgeous track about "breaking through the glass you put me in."

"I'm really proud of it. I think it's really fun to write from the perspective of somebody that is not you," she tells PEOPLE. (In the episode, Rodrigo is cast as the rose in Beauty and the Beast after she returns to East High following a brief stint at a private school.)

"It's really fun to write for characters. It's a fun, creative challenge for me," she adds. "I always try to integrate my personal experience, and also my unique songwriting voices for the songs that I do for the show."

OLIVIA RODRIGO HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - "Yes, And"
Credit: Fred Hayes/Disney

Rodrigo says she was asked to write a "feminist song from the perspective of a rose" - so she did exactly that.

"It's just really about Nini realizing that she is not how other people perceive her. That is not who she is," she says. "And she's sort of coming into her own and finding her individuality. And I think that's a really important process for any teenager to go through. It's really cool to portray that on-screen."

"I think all of us can feel restricted whether it's by outside forces or by other people's opinions. And I also think it's super cool, because it also ties it to the rose thing, because the roses kept under a glass, and you're breaking through the glass so it could be a glass ceiling thing, too," she adds.

OLIVIA RODRIGO HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES - "Yes, And"
Credit: Fred Hayes/Disney

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In the episode, Rodrigo's character Nini goes through intense writer's block as she attempts to write the song. It's an experience Rodrigo says she can relate to.

"I go through writer's block all the time. I think for me though, I just find writer's block as not being able to write anything that I like. I think everyone can always write songs," she says. "They just think they're not always good. And so, I like to tell myself that sometimes you got to get the bad songs out before the good ones come."

"It's all practice though. I usually just force myself to write, which sounds really counterintuitive," she adds. "And I think when you're creative, you don't always need to have a lightning bolt idea, and just be struck by inspiration one day in order something that you really like. I always just try to think of it that way, and train myself to be able to write on command, which sounds really depressing, but it's the best."