Joining us for a special Audacy Check In with host Bru today is 3X GRAMMY–winning singer Olivia Rodrigo as she gets ready to drop her sophomore album GUTS in just a few weeks.
It’s already an exciting time as the first single, vampire, from Olivia’s forthcoming 2023 album GUTS hit number one this week thanks to her ravenous fans. “I feel really lucky to have such awesome fans, and so many people who so graciously support me,” Olivia says, although she admits it was “a little bit daunting” releasing the first single, wondering what the fan reaction would be. “I really love the song,” she adds, “and I think that’s probably what matters the most. Everything else has just been icing on the cake, and it’s been wonderful.”
Written last winter, Olivia says she knew as soon as the piano chords began to take shape that there was something special happening with vampire. “The song was expressing something that I had been trying to express for a while but hadn’t up until that point,” she says. “I just feel like it’s a good introduction to the album. I feel like it’s not so far away from what I did in ‘SOUR,’ but it’s also introducing some new topics and new attitudes, and new sounds, and kind of hinting at a little bit of what’s to come.”
Ever since the release of her debut album SOUR in 2021, Olivia admits everything in her life has taken an abrupt left turn. “Oh my gosh… my life is so different. I owe so much to those songs and that album,” she says. “Now this is my bona fide job, I get to travel around the world and make music, make records that I love, and I just couldn’t think of a better situation. I feel very lucky… I’m really proud of that record, and I’m so grateful for all the doors that it’s opened.”
Olivia believes touring in support of SOUR and seeing the crowd’s reaction to certain songs helped in the creation of GUTS. Of course, she still gets nervous performing new music, revealing she’d rather play for a room of 5,000 people rather than five: “It’s kind of harder when it’s more intimate. I definitely do get stage fright. That hasn’t really gone away yet,” she says. To help calm her nerves, Olivia does “a little meditation… I thank the universe… and ask for a good show and I pray that people have a good time and that they take whatever they need to from the show.”
As fans know, Olivia first gained recognition in the late 2010s with her lead roles on the Disney TV shows Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Now in her singing and songwriting era, both trades have their own unique challenges she says. “I think they’re hard and fun,” she explains. “One of my favorite things about music is how independent you can be. How truly, at the end of the day, you make almost every decision. You decide what lyric it is, you decide what melody it is, you come up with the idea for the music video. It’s very centered on you… but I think there’s something so beautiful about being an actor and being part of a set and just being a teammate. There’s something really beautiful in that camaraderie, so I like them both for different reasons.”
Growing up as a child actor certainly helped with Olivia’s ability to show vulnerability in her music and performances. “I think it helped with singing too,” she says. “Sometimes to get a good vocal performance I think I have to tap into that acting skill. It’s actually funny. My producer, Dan… Sometimes if I’m not giving a vocal performance that he thinks is emotional enough he’ll literally record me, and by just recording me I’ll inherently give a better vocal performance. Because I’m used to being filmed, and being emotional from my childhood or something, I dunno –– life hack!”
Olivia recently became friends with one of her musical idols after bumping into each other at the Met Gala. “Oh my God, what is my life?” Olivia asks in disbelief. Gwen Stefani, she says, “really inspired me as a songwriter when I was just starting out. We had a talk… she was so wonderful and really supportive and sweet.” We’re not sure if this counts as supportive as much, but Gwen did send her a video a few months ago of a rattlesnake curled up in the corner of her room. Ranch life with Blake Shelton, we suppose. “I would burn the house down and move away,” Olivia says. “I don’t know how she does it.”
She better start clearing her schedule though, Olivia just got asked to go to prom! After never going to her own, one of her “regrets” in life, she was asked to go by a fan during her vampire release party. Although she has no details to share yet –– if circumstances allow, she says she’d love to one day finally wear that corsage.
Don’t miss Bru’s full Audacy Check In with Olivia Rodrigo above, and stay tuned for even more conversations with your favorite stars and artists on Audacy.com/Live.
Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS is scheduled for release on September 8.
Words by Joe Cingrana
Interview by Bru
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