• Gio Battaglia

Olivia Rodrigo drives to stardom in new documentary

By Gio Battaglia / Programming Director


Most high school seniors spend their year preparing for prom and decorating their cap for graduation. For Olivia Rodrigo, she added “promoting a debut album” to her senior year to-do list.


In the Disney+ documentary, “Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u (a SOUR film),” Rodrigo gives us a more intimate look inside the creation of her Grammy-nominated, number-one debut album SOUR that took the world by storm in 2021 and is still claiming spots on Billboard charts today. With reimagined versions of her hits such as “happier” and “deja vu,” Rodrigo delivers powerhouse vocals that prove that the songs written on the album are honest and resonate with both Rodrigo and fans.


“This relationship was the heartbreak that kept on giving,” Rodrigo says while starting to explain her song “jealousy, jealousy.” Heartbreak is the theme of this album, as well as the documentary, following continued speculation that the album is about her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-star, Joshua Bassett. She says inspiration for multiple songs on the album came from the hardship that came from seeing her former boyfriend with a new girl.


When taking a deep dive into her songwriting process, Rodrigo talks to fellow musician Jacob Collier to say songwriting is her way of “making sense of the world.” Collier compliments her songwriting, specifically the writing of Rodrigo’s recording breaking and number-one debut single, “drivers license,” and says it is the perfect explanation for her goal as a songwriter.


Collaboration on this album seems to be very important for Rodrigo, especially with her producer Dan Nigro, who she says created a comfortable environment with her to be able to truthfully tell her what was working and what needed improvement, which Rodrigo adds helped her during the process of creating this album.


Olivia Rodrigo in promotion photo for the documentary. Photo from Disney+ website.

It becomes clear exactly how fast Rodrigo became the definition of an “overnight sensation” during a montage of her rise to stardom. Going from recording the song, shooting the video, performing it at multiple award and morning shows, it puts Rodrigo’s success into perspective. Rodrigo talks about how despite the success that was right in front of her, fans and professionals were quick to wonder when the next thing was coming.


The biggest revamp in the documentary was “good 4 u.” This orchestration that replaced an originally heavy alternative and often compared to Paramore sound showcased the true beauty in Rodrigo’s voice and lyricism.


This documentary can seem a bit cliché at times when she is talking about the inspiration behind the album, which can sound redundant to how other artists describe writing an album, but it’s still Rodrigo’s vulnerable story that is unique and personal to her, resonates with an audience and has solidified Olivia Rodrigo’s name in the music industry.


“driving home 2 u (a SOUR film)” is available to stream now.

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