Olivia Rodrigo has her “Drivers License” now (and a whole lot of career accomplishments under her belt), and to celebrate the journey surrounding her smash debut album Sour, the 19-year-old singer is unveiling a new film.
Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U (A Sour Film) is set to release on Disney+ on March 25. The film follows the “Happier” star on a road trip from Salt Lake City, Utah, where she began writing Sour, to Los Angeles California. Along the way, Rodrigo recounts memories of creating the project with producer and songwriter Dan Nigro, as well as the rollercoaster of emotions she was going through as a heartbroken teenager at the time.
“It was one of the most interesting parts, looking back on me making that album,” Rodrigo tells Billboard of making the film. “I remember having so many doubts and I was like, ‘Nobody’s going to like any of this!’ It’s cool that lots of people did. It’s confidence-boosting.”
The Stacey Lee-directed movie also weaves in creative, cinematic live arrangements from Sour along the road trip, performed in the order Rodrigo wrote them for the album.
Ahead of the release, Billboard chatted with Rodrigo about Sour, Driving Home 2 U and the 2022 Grammys on April 3, where she’ll be performing and is nominated for seven awards, including all Big Four categories.
See the interview below.
Billboard: Since making Sour, in what was have you stayed the same and in what ways have you grown?
Olivia Rodrigo: I think I’ve stayed the same in a lot of ways. I hang out with the same people, and I write songs in my bedroom and I do all the things that I normally did, but I definitely think I’ve grown more confident throughout this process. There were many obstacles and decisions I had to make that I really just had to trust my gut on, and that’s made me more confident in my decision-making abilities and my taste and gut. Hopefully it’s an experience that I’ll take with me throughout the rest of my life.
Is there a memory for a particular song that you love reminiscing on the most?
I don’t think it’s in the film, but I remember so vividly writing the bridge of “Drivers License” together, and I remember kneeling on the floor thinking of stuff, like, “What rhymes with ‘red lights?’ Oh, ‘stop signs!’” I remember that so vividly, and [Dan Nigro and I] being like, “Wow, we’re on a roll! This is really good. I think we actually have something here.” I think that was a magical moment we got to share together. I think about that and feel really nostalgic.
Were you part of the creative process for the Driving Home 2 U performances?
Yes! First thing we did was plan out the order of all of the songs we were going to do, and actually, they’re all in chronological order of when I wrote them, so we take you through the journey from the beginning to the end of the album. So, that was really fun and getting to choose the locations was super sick. There are some really cool spots that we went to that I had never visited before.
The airplane for “Brutal!”
Yeah, the airplane! Isn’t that crazy? So cool. I was just talking about how insane that was. I never knew how big an airplane was until I stood next to one and was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ That was a really cool setup that I liked.
Do you have a different relationship with some of the songs now that they’re out and you’ve seen how people have reacted and responded to them?
Once you put out a song into the world, they take on a whole new meaning and that’s been such a fun thing to experience. That’s another reason I’m so excited to go on tour, is to see everyone resonate with songs in a real way. I think it’s going to make me see them in a whole new light.
I think a good example is “Enough for You,” because in the film, you were saying, “Oh, it sounds like the rest of my songs.” Then, it turned out to be one of the ones that people connect with the most. It must be interesting to see that growth.
It was one of the most interesting parts, looking back on me making that album. I remember having so many doubts and I was like, ‘Nobody’s going to like any of this!’ It’s cool that lots of people did. It’s confidence-boosting.
What are you hoping that people will get from this film?
I hope that people are inspired by the songwriting aspect of it. I always use creativity and songwriting as a means to get out of hard feelings and hard situations and help me get over them. So, I would love if people were inspired to create stuff given their sad feelings too. That would be really cool.
With the Grammys coming up, does it mean so much more to you for that type of celebration and recognition to come from an album that was so personal?
Oh my gosh, completely. I think Sour was just me pouring my heart out and processing emotions that I needed to process. Writing it, I didn’t even think about how it was going to be perceived or if people were going to like it, or if it was going to get any awards or anything. So for it to receive the honors that it has is beyond any of my wildest dreams.