The Polished Songwriting Team of Olivia Rodrigo and Dan Nigro

At just 18-years-old, Olivia Rodrigo became a rising force in pop music with her massive debut hit, “Drivers License.” Equal parts angsty and vulnerable, Rodrigo quickly proved she is an unflinchingly honest songwriter. A name that frequently appears alongside Rodrigo’s in the writing credits is Dan Nigro who also produces most of her work. Find out what makes this team a match made in songwriting heaven.

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Who is Olivia Rodrigo?

Rodrigo first rose to fame as an actress, her first major role being in the Disney channel series, Bizaardvark. Her starring role as Nini Salazar-Roberts in the wildly popular Disney+ series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series made her a household name in 2019. It’s also where Rodrigo first got to show off her songwriting prowess on a global platform. She wrote the original song, “All I Want,” that her character sings in the first season. The song went viral on TikTok and helped land Rodrigo a record deal, setting her transition to music in motion.

Who is Dan Nigro?

Before he was working with one of the world’s biggest pop stars, Nigro got his start in music as the lead singer and guitarist for indie rock band, As Tall As Lions. After releasing three albums and three EPs between 2002 and 2009, the group disbanded in 2010. Before linking up with Rodrigo, the New York native had his first major break as a songwriter when he co-wrote several songs on Sky Ferreira’s critically acclaimed debut album, Night Time, My Time. This then landed him in the writing room with Kylie Minogue, Billy Idol, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lewis Capaldi and several others.

[RELATED: Who is Olivia Rodrigo?]

How’d they meet?

The two met after Nigro saw a video of Rodrigo singing “Happier” on Instagram and was gobsmacked by her talent and sent her a DM. The two were officially introduced when members of Rodrigo’s team at Interscope Records set up a meeting the week before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lockdown in March 2020. “I remember getting the chills when she sang the line, I hope you’re happy, but don’t be happier,” Nigro told Variety. “There was this beautiful intensity in her voice that I fell in love with immediately.”

“I just really appreciated the way that he was really constructive with my songs,” Rodrigo adds. “He just kind of takes my songs and elevates them and polishes them up and makes them better. I think we work really well together.”

What have they written?

Rodrigo and Nigro have proven to be an influential force when they work together. In addition to co-writing “Drivers License,” the pair co-wrote all of the tracks on Rodrigo’s groundbreaking debut album, Sour, with Nigro also serving as producer. In addition to amassing critical acclaim, it won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards.

The two are working their magic yet again on Rodrigo’s 2023 sophomore album, Guts, which is set for release on September 8. Nigro once again assumes the role of producer. They’re both credited on the album’s lead single “Vampire” and follow-up “Bad Idea Right?

Following its release in June 2023, it didn’t take long for “Vampire” to top the Billboard Hot 100, with “Bad Idea Right?” also climbing the chart and peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart.

Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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