With two massive hits in her back pocket, Olivia Rodrigo proves she’s a force to be reckoned with. And what’s even more evident is her knack for hyper-specific lyricism. “drivers license” and “deja vu” are only the beginning—two samples of her forthcoming debut studio record, Sour, expected May 21 through Geffen Records.
In a new “At Home With” episode, a conversation with Zane Lowe, Rodrigo drew comparisons of her own debut to Alanis Morissette’s landmark 1995 record Jagged Little Pill. “It’s really just what I love—which is songwriter, lyric-based music. It’s very much taken as a slice of my life. I drew a lot of inspiration from this period of my life, where I was feeling a lot of heartbreak and a lot of insecurity,” she explains. “There’s this period of time all 16, 17, 18 year old kids go through where they just feel so incredibly lost and just angsty for no reason and sad. This album to me is my interpretation of that period of my life that I was going through.
“It’s reminiscent of sort of the albums like Jagged Little Pill that I love. I’m super critical of everything, but I’m really happy with this album. And that doesn’t happen very often where I feel completely sure,” she continues. “I mean, obviously you don’t feel completely sure of anything, but I really feel like it’s the best that I can do right now, and I’m real proud of that. In a year, the best that I can do is going to be something totally different, and that’s just the cool thing about putting out music when you’re a teenager.”
There is certainly a kinship Rodrigo feels to another global superstar, who also got their start as a teenager: Taylor Swift. “I totally grew up seeing myself in her. She makes every hard-to-process feeling for me easier to understand through her songwriting. I really look up to her just as a person, as well,” she says. “I think it’s no small feat that she has had this insane career stretching 15 years, and she’s managed to keep her sanity and her tenderness and her kindness throughout all of it. I just think she’s just such an inspiration, not only as a musician, but as a person.
“She’s such a brilliant storyteller, and that’s just so inspiring to me. I think that’s such a level of creativity that is just so genius,” she adds. “It’s just so genius to be able to kind of create those intricate vivid stories from nothing. Literally every album she’s made is a classic album that I feel people are going to listen to for a hundred years. She’s just immortal.”
In the lengthy conversation, Rodrigo also discusses some unexpected musical influences, including country legends Johnny Cash and Tanya Tucker, as well as singer-songwriter icon Carole King, a love of Kacey Musgraves, and her relationship with her parents. Listen to the episode here.