For singer/songwriter Olivia Rodrigo, one of the greatest joys in life comes from deliberately tapping into her deepest heartache. “There’s nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song,” she says. “It’s truly my favorite thing in the world.” With that, Rodrigo made a monumental debut with her record-breaking new original single via Geffen Records, “drivers license.” The stunning and emotive piano-driven track debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was RIAA certified Platinum within two weeks. “drivers license” underscores Rodrigo’s songwriting prowess and knack at creating immediately powerful music. Complete with radiant harmonies, kinetic percussion, and Rodrigo’s soaring vocals, the Dan Nigro co-written and produced track is a brilliant balance of unfiltered outpouring and graceful specificity, spinning a vivid portrait of driving aimlessly and longing for an ex-love – a sentiment Rodrigo precisely conveys in her pensive lyrics (“You said forever, now I drive alone past your street”). “When I came up with ‘drivers license’ I was going through a heartbreak that was so confusing to me, so multifaceted,” she recalls. “Putting all those feelings into a song made everything seem so much simpler and clearer—and at the end of the day, I think that’s really the whole purpose of songwriting.” On “drivers license,” Rodrigo showcases the nuanced vocal command she’s honed since taking up singing as a little girl. Growing up in Southern California, Rodrigo first discovered her love of songwriting at the age of 12, when she’d spend hours sketching lyrics in a notebook she’d won at an arcade. “I was making up songs before I could even form coherent sentences,” she says. “I was always so obsessed with it and sang about the most random things, like getting lost from my parents in the supermarket.” When she was seven, Rodrigo began playing piano, though not completely by choice. “My dad made me take lessons and I hated every second of it—to the point where I’d cry before every lesson—but now I’m so thankful,” she notes. Rodrigo soon added guitar to her repertoire and soon immersed herself in learning the craft of songwriting. “Once I started taking it seriously, I’d just write all the time,” she says. “I have a lot of trouble focusing on schoolwork and in other areas of my life, but when I’m working on a song it’s like time stops and I can’t think of anything else. It’s magical.” “For me the goal of all music is to take these complicated feelings and externalize them in a way that makes people feel seen—but then when someone tells me that one of my songs resonates with them, it makes me feel seen too,” she says. “It’s so inspiring to see my music affect people and maybe help them to feel less alone, and I just want to keep doing that for the rest of my life.” Stay tuned for more from Olivia Rodrigo in the near future.
May 24, 2021 Rodrigo's voice carries the flavors of Paramore punk, Alanis Morissette angst, Kelly Clarkson belt, all topped off with a Taylor Swift candidness.
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