Olivia Rodrigo on “Bitter” and the artistry of heartbreak

Olivia Rodrigo is an ideal storm of expertise, attraction and ambition who seemingly got here out of nowhere this 12 months and exploded onto the nationwide stage – the woman who turned ache into platinum.

For starters, her very first album, “Bitter,” which debuted final spring at #1, was hailed by critics as “revelatory.” 4 of the tracks hit the Prime 10, and one – “Drivers License” – was for a time the most-listened-to streaming tune on the planet.

Olivia Rodrigo – drivers license (Official Video) by
OliviaRodrigoVEVO on

At 18 – 18! – Rodrigo is on a run most singer-songwriters can solely dream about, and it began at her childhood dwelling in southern California, within the bed room the place she wrote so a lot of her songs.

Correspondent Tracy Smith mentioned, “Each tune on ‘Bitter,’ or at the least many of the songs are these cauldrons of feelings set to this lovely music. The place does that come from?”

“I’ve at all times been obsessive about heartbreak songs,” Rodrigo mentioned. “I wrote heartbreak songs earlier than I had ever had a boyfriend, actually. And I’ve simply at all times been obsessive about that feeling. I feel there’s nothing kind of extra painful as, like, a human being than that feeling of loss.”

Olivia Rodrigo, with correspondent Tracy Smith.

CBS Information

The one youngster of a trainer and a therapist, Rodrigo was comfy sufficient at age seven to sing in entrance of a crowd, and at 13 she wound up within the Disney TV orbit – first on “Bizaardvark,” then on “Excessive Faculty Musical: The Musical: The Collection.”

“I feel there’s one thing actually cool about being, like, a younger 13-year-old woman on a set and having to emote in entrance of a bunch of those who you do not know,” Rodrigo mentioned. “I feel that obtained me actually comfy with my feelings and expressing these feelings. And I feel in hindsight it is in all probability one of many the reason why I, you realize, am so comfy emoting in my songwriting.”

Music, she mentioned, has change into her emotional security valve (heavy on the emotional), and few of her songs categorical that higher than “Drivers License,” a wrenching lament from a teenage woman who obtained her license on the identical time she misplaced the love of her life. 

And I do know we weren’t excellent however I’ve by no means felt this fashion for nobody
And I simply cannot think about how you might be so okay now that I am gone
Guess you did not imply what you wrote in that tune about me
‘Trigger you mentioned perpetually, now I drive alone previous your road

Rodrigo mentioned, “I simply bear in mind writing it and feeling prefer it truly was like a web page ripped out of my diary, ‘trigger it was so intimate and weak.”

Actually, the tune appeared to ring a bell with all ages, and even impressed a sketch on “Saturday Night time Reside”:

Drivers License – SNL by
Saturday Night time Reside on

She mentioned the tune is rooted in actual ache about an actual breakup, but it surely’s not who she is.

Smith requested, “Was there part of you that thought, possibly I do not need to share that with the world?”

“I simply assume there was no different choice for me,” she replied. “I needed to write it. I needed to write it for me. I needed to, like, get it out. You can, like, really feel sick in case you, like, stored all of that in. However you realize, actually on the core of it I needed to do it for myself.”

“How darkish did it get for you?”

“I imply, I used to be very unhappy. I used to be a 17-year-old woman going by means of my first actual heartbreak. However I feel lots of people additionally assume, listening to my music, that I am actually, like, a tragic, depressed particular person, and that could not be farther from the reality! Positively by no means, you realize, crying on my bed room flooring on a regular basis.

“However yeah, it is enjoyable to jot down about stuff like that, you realize what I imply? Like, if I used to be simply writing about how, you realize, glad going get my iced latte each morning, like, no one would take heed to it. It would not be fascinating!”

The highlight on Rodrigo is a bit brighter now. She went to the White Home in July to help the vaccination effort, and has been on her share of purple carpets of late. However she appears remarkably centered, and for that she credit her sturdy relationship along with her mother and father, and her therapist.

“When did you begin remedy?” Smith requested.

“I hadn’t actually began going ’til I used to be, like, 16, and that was a very huge life-changing second,” Rodrigo replied. “And I’ve realized a lot about myself.”

“Was that one thing that you simply mentioned, ‘I must go do that’?”

“Yeah, yeah, it was. However yeah, I feel there’s typically a stigma round it, too. Like I used to be saying, I feel, you realize, typically persons are like, ‘Ooh, you do not want that. You’ve a lot. Your life so nice. What are your issues?’ And I feel that is positively a factor that typically older folks can do to youthful folks, too, is sort of trivialize what they are going by means of – ‘Ah, they’re wonderful, they’re simply youngsters. They’re going to get by means of it’ – but it surely feels so actual while you’re in it. And it is so legitimate. And simply because it is not, you realize, an grownup drawback the place you do not have to pay taxes but or no matter, does not imply that it does not harm.”

Just a few years in the past Rodrigo may solely stand exterior the Grammys as a fan; she’s now earned a seat down entrance. The tune “Traitor” is just her newest Prime 10 hit, from a youngster who reminds us tips on how to take the ache and switch it into one thing highly effective:

Olivia Rodrigo – traitor (stay from SOUR promenade) by
Olivia Rodrigo on

You betrayed me
And I do know that you’re going to by no means really feel sorry
For the best way I harm, yeah

“I bear in mind arising with these traces first and being like, ‘Oh, yeah, that is precisely how I really feel.’ After you write a tune, there’s, like, no higher euphoria than that. So I am like, ‘Oh, I achieved one thing. And I did actually good. And I did my finest. And I took these, like, messy emotions and hopefully made one thing lovely out of it.'”

You possibly can stream Olivia Rodrigo’s album “Bitter” by clicking on the embed under (Free Spotify registration required to listen to the tracks in full):

For more information:

Story produced by John D’Amelio. Editor: Karen Brenner. 

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