Olivia Rodrigo has spoken out about controversy surrounding the originality of her chart-topping debut album, Sour, which has seen her retroactively add songwriting credits to several of her hit songs.
“I just feel like sometimes there’s so much noise and criticism and weird things going on in the world,” she says in a new interview with Teen Vogue, about feeling misunderstood since the release of Sour. “I hope people know that deep down, all that I do is write songs and talk about how I feel, and that’s the most important thing to me. Everything else, I think, is not so important.”
However, the “Brutal” singer does go on to address her inspirations, and the discourse about how they come through in her own music, more directly. “I think it’s disappointing to see people take things out of context and discredit any young woman’s work,” she says. “But at the end of the day I’m just really proud and happy to say that my job is being a songwriter…”
“All music is inspired by each other. Obviously, I write all of my lyrics from my heart and my life first. I came up with the lyrics and the melody for ‘good 4 u’ one morning in the shower.”
“What’s so beautiful about music is that it can be so inspired by music that’s come out in the past,” she adds. “Every single artist is inspired by artists who have come before them. It’s sort of a fun, beautiful sharing process. Nothing in music is ever new. There’s four chords in every song. That’s the fun part — trying to make that your own.”
Ahead of Sour’s release in May, Rodrigo mentioned that she took inspiration from Taylor Swift for the bridge on her second single, “deja vu”. Two month’s after the album’s release, Swift, Jack Antonoff, and St. Vincent, were given an official songwriting credit. Similarly, Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Josh Farro received belated credits on the pop-punk-infused “good 4 u”, which fans had compared to the band’s iconic “Misery Business”.
Even Rodrigo’s visuals have come under fire for their similarity to other artworks. In June, Courtney Love took to social media to call out similarities between a teaser for her Sour Prom film, and the cover for Hole’s second studio album, Live Through This. Rodrigo later deflected this criticism pretty gracefully, saying: “To be honest, I’m just flattered that Courtney Love knows that I exist.”
Revisit Dazed’s deep dive on Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore for more on the fine line between inspiration and copyright infringement.