In a recent interview with Variety, Olivia Rodrigo, the 20-year-old Grammy winner, delved into the therapeutic nature of her songwriting process, particularly in the creation of her sophomore album, Guts. Rodrigo candidly shared that the experience of crafting Guts became a test of her confidence and patience, offering valuable insights into the art of songwriting by emphasizing the importance of focusing on one’s craft rather than passively awaiting inspiration.
Guts, released in September, has already yielded two top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Vampire” and “Bad Idea Right?” Rodrigo, however, stressed the personal nature of her creative approach, asserting that impactful music must be created for oneself rather than catering to external expectations. She emphasized the mindset conducive to effective songwriting, cautioning against the temptation to compose music that aims to please everyone, as it often results in subpar outcomes.
Rodrigo, reflecting on her creative journey with Guts, expressed a newfound commitment to her craft, striving to write one song every day. For her, songwriting is a means of self-expression and an essential practice that prevents feelings of depression when neglected. She shared, “I just feel like myself when I’m writing. If I don’t do it, I get depressed. I’m just writing songs to process what’s going on, whether in my personal life or in my perception of the world.”
In the interview, Rodrigo also touched on her hope that listeners connect with the honesty in her songwriting. She discussed the power of music to help individuals process and navigate complex emotions, stating, “It’s what I’ve gravitated towards my whole life — music that helps you process what you’re feeling or comforts you when you’re feeling these big feelings. It’s just nice to know that someone else is experiencing them. It makes you feel less alone.”
The success of Rodrigo’s approach to Guts is evident in the recognition she has received, with six nominations at the upcoming 2024 Grammy Awards. These nominations include categories such as record of the year, song of the year, and best pop solo performance for “Vampire,” as well as album of the year and best pop vocal album for Guts, and best rock song for “Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl.”