"The pain is definitely real in that song," Rodrigo said about her breakthrough song

By Tomás Mier
January 14, 2021 04:50 PM
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Breaking records after writing about her broken heart.

Olivia Rodrigo — whose rapid rise came after dropping her post-breakup ballad song "Drivers License" — spoke to Apple Music's Zane Lowe about her songwriting process, and receiving celebrity approval from her fave: Taylor Swift.

"I wrote the bulk of the song literally crying in my living room, and I think that it definitely has that feel to it," the 17-year-old said. "I was driving around my neighborhood, 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," she added. "But it was really, really natural and organic. [It was] very much me writing in the depth of my emotion."

Olivia Rodrigo
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Rodrigo, who stars in Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, also told the outlet she's "always writing," especially in her room with her guitar.

"The pain is definitely real in that song," she added about "Drivers License." "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."

It's a mentality she may have learned from one of her biggest inspirations: Swift, who actually shared Rodrigo's cover of "Cruel Summer" recently. (Swift also commented, "I say that's my baby and I'm really proud" on a recent post of hers.)

"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,'" she recalled. "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."

Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Siwft
| Credit: Jason Mendez/Getty; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

"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,'" she continued. "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."

Rodrigo's "Drivers License," which many fans think is about her ex-boyfriend and HSMTMTS co-star Joshua Bassett, broke several records for most streams in a single day on Spotify.

Bassett, 20, is set to release a song of his own on Friday, titled "Lie, Lie, Lie." While the track is not believed to be a response to Rodrigo, he explained the track's meaning on an Instagram Story.

"I wrote 'Lie, Lie, Lie' after I found out a friend had been lying about me behind my back for a long time. It always sucks to hear that someone you thought you could trust would throw you under the bus when it benefits them," he wrote about the song. "It happens to all of us, and I think all you can do is seek out people that build you up rather than tear you down."