Olivia Rodrigo can vividly remember the first album she bought with her own money and the huge impact it had on her. “I remember getting my first phone — I was probably 12 or 13 — and the first thing I did was download Lorde Pure Heroine,” the 20-year-old “Vampire” singer said of the “Solar Power” star’s 2013 debut album during The Hollywood Reporters‘ recent Songwriters Roundtable discussion.
“I love that record so much and I remember listening to it as I first started writing songs and just being blown away by her lyrics that are just about being a teenager living in the suburbs,” Rodrigo said of the smash first effort from the New Zealand singer/songwriter featuring such indelible hits as “Royals,” “Tennis Court” and “Team.”
“I just remember never hearing my life be put into a song like that where it just made being young and doing these seemingly unimportant things feel so sacred,” Rodrigo said of then-16-year-old Lorde’s confessional lyrics. “That album is one of my favorites and she still inspires me a lot to this day.”
When thinking about how unusual the sound of first single “Royals” was when it first came out — with its combination of spare, booming beats and deadpan sung-spoken lyrics about Lorde’s teenage disdain for rich pop life fantasies — Rodrigo said the song set its own trends at radio. “I remember hearing that song on the radio at the time,” Rodrigo said. “It was one of those pinch me moments where you always remember, snapshot memory, like, ‘Oh my God, what is this?!’ Changes the trajectory of your life.”
The full hour-long chat featuring Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Cynthia Erivo, Julia Michaels, Jon Batiste and Dua Lipa talking about their songwriting styles also touched on the artist’s memories of the first song they ever wrote, as well as their efforts writing music for films and breakdowns of some of their biggest hits.
Watch the Songwriters Roundtable chat below (Rodrigo on Lorde is at the 6:45 mark):
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