The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star got real about her songwriting process, dream collaborations and recalled getting her start in acting while making her magazine cover debut on the May 2021 issue of ELLE. When talking about her music, the former Disney Channel star said the continued success of “Drivers License” is “any songwriter’s dream.” The heartfelt single not only topped the music charts, but spawned a major controversy online surrounding the song’s meaning.
“There’s something so powerful in being vulnerable and open, like, ‘This is my life, and I’m f–king sad.’ Or, ‘I’m insecure,’ ” Olivia told the publication. “That’s what makes songwriting so special.”
Fans got their first taste of the brunette beauty’s songwriting skills during season one of HSMTMTS when it was revealed that she had penned her character Nini’s song “All I Want.” Then, the hope for more original music from the songstress came, which her followers got amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Not only did Olivia release a global smash hit that attracted the attention of A-listers, but she announced the May 2021 release of her debut record SOUR.
“I thought I was going to be really in my head, like, ‘I’m never going to write a song as good as that again,’ ” Olivia told ELLE about the aftermath of “Drivers License,” noting that she’s since gotten over that fear. “This song has given me a lot of confidence in my voice.”
As for what fans can expect from her music going forward? A lot more tracks influenced by her “biggest idol” and “songwriting inspiration” Taylor Swift. “To have her blessing was really, really special,” Olivia said during a previous interview with Apple Music’s “The Travis Mills Show” in February 2021. Aside from Taylor, Olivia gave ELLE a glimpse at other singers she admires, including Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morissette and Gracie Abrams. The publication also noted that in her apartment, the Bizaardvark alum has a list of notes for her first record.
“It’s songs that I love and want to reference, and songs that I’ve written that I want to clean up,” Olivia said.
Now that the actress-turned-musician’s level of stardom is bigger than ever, she has no plans to step back from her work any time soon! Scroll through our gallery to see everything we learned about Olivia from her first major magazine cover.
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