Jack White And St. Vincent Among Olivia Rodrigo’s Mentors For New Album Guts
In a couple of weeks, the freshly minted pop superstar Olivia Rodrigo will release her hotly anticipated sophomore album Guts. Both of her early singles, “Vampire” and “Bad Idea Right?,” are absolute bangers, and both of them are a little noisier and more intense than anything on her debut LP Sour. In a New York Times profile that’s up online today, Rodrigo talks about the pressures surrounding her new album, and she also mentions a couple of unexpected figures who served as advisors.
Talking to the Times‘ Caryn Ganz, Olivia Rodrigo says that she asked Jack White, a hero of hers, for advice. (She also says that she cried when she met him.) Rodrigo says, “He wrote me this letter the first time I met him that said, ‘Your only job is to write music that you would want to hear on the radio.'” Rodrigo then pauses and says, “I mean, writing songs that you would like to hear on the radio is in fact very hard.” It’s true! Shout out to Jack White for still writing letters.
Rodrigo also mentions St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark as a mentor, and she notes that she and Clark recently went to a Tori Amos show together. In the Times story, Clark says, “I’ve never met anyone so young and so effortlessly self-possessed… [Rodrigo] knows who she is and what she wants — and doesn’t seem to be in any way afraid of voicing that. And just a really lovely girl too. I’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone.”
Another artist who Olivia Rodrigo admires is Kathleen Hanna, of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and the feeling is mutual. In the Times article, Hanna talks about how much she loves Rodrigo: “She’s a revelation… It’s a fascinating thing to watch these young women, and especially Olivia, because she seems to be so advanced as a songwriter, expressing themselves in these really complicated ways.” As for Rodrigo’s references to riot grrrl, Hanna says, “That’s so great, to see this underground musical style being graphically referenced in the mainstream by a person who’s actually a music lover.”
Rodrigo tells Ganz that she “always loved rock music, and always wanted to find a way that I could make it feel like me, and make it feel feminine and still telling a story and having something to say that’s vulnerable and intimate.” She also reels off a list of favorites, including Snail Mail, Sleater-Kinney, Joni Mitchell, Beyoncé, No Doubt’s Return Of Saturn, and Sweet: “Oh my God, I listened to ‘Ballroom Blitz’ 10 times today. I have no idea why.”
Guts is out 9/8 on Geffen. You can read the full Times profile here.