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teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo sings about things that 'are not socially acceptable for girls'

"Something I'm really proud of is that this record (Sour) talks about emotions that are hard to talk about or aren't really socially acceptable, especially for girls: anger, ­jealousy, spite, sadness"

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Olivia Rodrigo's Debut Album Sour is breaking records

Olivia Rodrigo's Debut Album Sour is breaking records

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

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Olivia Rodrigo's Debut Album Sour is breaking records

Since the release in January of her smash hit single Drivers ­License, the name Olivia Rodrigo has been on the lips of young fans the world over.

At just 18 years old, the American teen had connected with a global army as a Disney star since 2016.

Rodrigo, whose mother is of Irish descent, first found fame in Disney Channel's Bizaardvark, about two oddball vloggers.

This was followed by High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (HSM), a mockumentary where the "real-life" teenagers at the school where the original movies were filmed stage their own musical of HSM.

It was one of her favourite artists, Lorde, who inspired Olivia to become a songwriter at the age of 12, when she listened to the New Zealand singer-songwriter's debut album, Pure Heroine.

"She talks about driving to the suburbs and going to school and all her friend-group drama," says Rodrigo.

"I remember thinking: she's taking this normal experience that we all go through and turning it into something really beautiful and artful.

"I always wanted to write a record like that, but never felt like I had that normal life experience."

It was a devastating breakup that ­inspired Drivers License, a song that made an ­instant connection with the listener, due to the pain and hurt that oozed from it.

Rodrigo's best friend, Bizaardvark co-star Madison Hu, who steered her through the breakup, said she only really understood Rodrigo's anguish when she heard the song.

On her album, Sour, Olivia displays her incredible talent for capturing ­complex emotions in high-impact, dynamic pop songs. Each song is centered on the LA-based artist's beautifully detailed ­storytelling, unforgettably original narrative voice, and undeniable boldness.

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Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

For Rodrigo, one of the greatest ­achievements in life comes from deliberately tapping into her deepest heartache.

"There's nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song," she says.

"It's truly my favorite thing in the world; it's so inspiring to see my music affect people and maybe help them to feel less alone too.

"I'm also fascinated by the idea of a relationship going sour - how a person you loved so much and told all your secrets to can become the person you can't stand."

Explaining the album's title, she says: "For me, the goal of all music is to take these complicated feelings and externalise them in a way that makes people feel seen."

She's over that painful split now, and says: "It's interesting, heartbreaks, when you're 16 or 17. You don't yet have that perspective of knowing that life goes on and you're gonna meet other people; that it wasn't the only happy experience you'll ever have."

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Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo

She recalls a day on set where the cast was filming "a really poppy, happy dance number". Between takes, she was squirrelled away with her acoustic guitar, writing "this sad-ass song" called Happier, wishing her ex well and admiring his new girlfriend.

"I'm a teenage girl, I write about stuff that I feel really intensely - and I feel heartbreak and longing really intensely - and I think that's authentic and natural," she says.

"Something I'm really proud of is that this record (Sour) talks about emotions that are hard to talk about or aren't really socially acceptable, especially for girls: anger, ­jealousy, spite, sadness - they're frowned upon as bitchy and moaning and complaining or whatever. But I think they're such valid emotions."

An only child, Olivia says she had a ­happy upbringing with supportive parents in Temecula, California. Her dad is a family therapist and mother a teacher, and they never put pressure for school or a career.

They're proud of what she has achieved, but she adds: "They'd be proud whatever."

• The new album by Olivia Rodrigo, Sour, is available now.

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