Pop

Olivia Rodrigo Calls Gossip About Her Love Life a 'Songwriter's Dream'

Olivia Rodrigo
Erica Hernandez

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo stars on the May 2021 cover of Elle, where she opens up about living out the "songwriter’s dream" with her breakout debut single.

The 18-year-old pop sensation, whose single "Drivers License" launched at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained in the top spot for eight weeks, found herself in Disney's new love triangle with her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star and rumored ex-boyfriend Joshua Bassett and fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter. Fans theorized that the popular breakup anthem's lyrics pointed in the direction of Bassett, while the "Drivers License" line, "And you're probably with that blonde girl/ Who always made me doubt/ She's so much older than me/ She's everything I'm insecure about," seemed to identify Carpenter. Needless to say, the swirling rumors about who wrote what about whom helped boost the song and allowed Rodrigo to check off an item from any songwriter's bucket list.

"It’s truly any songwriter’s dream," she told Elle, adding that she admired how listeners of various ages connected to how Rodrigo got her feelings off her chest and bared her heart in the sweeping ballad. "There’s something so powerful in being vulnerable and open, like, 'This is my life, and I’m f---ing sad.' Or, 'I’m insecure.' That’s what makes songwriting so special."

But with the unparalleled success of "Drivers License," which also spent, respectively, eight and nine weeks atop the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts, Rodrigo feared her success as a songwriter would be short-lived. But her childhood vocal instructor Jennifer Dustman told Elle she knew she had it in her since day one. Dustman told the publication that she thought her voice was "so amazing" and began enrolling Rodrigo in local singing competitions. When she first heard one of her "baby songs" -- how Dustman describes the songs Rodrigo began writing -- titled "Superman" about a girl who doesn't need a superhero to save her, she recalled, "I had chills from head to toe. I thought, Okay, she’s a songwriter. That’s it." Rodrigo's follow-up single "Deja Vu," which will also be featured on her upcoming debut album Sour, recently debuted at No. 8 on both the Hot 100 and Global 200 tallies, dated April 17.

"I thought I was going to be really in my head, like, 'I’m never going to write a song as good as that again,'" she confessed. "This song has given me a lot of confidence in my voice."

When it comes to songwriting mavens, the 18-year-old artist has a shrine dedicated to her favorites: Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morissette and Gracie Abrams. But her "dream collaboration" is missing from the lineup: Billie Eilish.

"I think it would be really cool to collaborate with Billie Eilish. I think everything she does is just so spectacular," Rodrigo said while playing Elle's Song Association game. "I love her first EP [Don't Smile at Me], I just feel so deeply in love with that project. I love 'My Boy,' like I think that song is so genius and clever and fun."

Read her entire Elle cover story interview here and watch her Song Association video below.