Olivia Rodrigo Says Jack White and St. Vincent Advised Her on New Album 'GUTS'

"He wrote me this letter the first time I met him," she said of White

Photo: Larissa Hofmann

BY Kaelen BellPublished Aug 24, 2023

Pop wunderkind Olivia Rodrigo is releasing her highly anticipated sophomore album GUTS on September 8, and so far, she's shared two singles — the big, dramatic theatre-kid-gone-rock-star "Vampire" and the winking throwback rocker (and still kinda theatre-y) "Bad Idea Right?"

The two songs have been a lot heavier and more rock-oriented than what was on 2021's SOUR — save for "Good 4 U" and a couple others — and a new New York Times profile makes much of Rodrigo's commitment to rock stardom this time around, including the fact that she's collected some big name rock 'n' roll mentors through her journey to mega fame.

Talking to journalist Caryn Ganz, Rodrigo says that she was written a letter of advice by Jack White — one of her heroes — also adding that she cried the first time she met him:

"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,'" she said, before continuing: "I mean, writing songs that you would like to hear on the radio is in fact very hard."

Rodrigo also describes going to a Tori Amos concert with St. Vincent's Annie Clark (as seen here), who is described in the piece as "a heroine who has become a mentor."

"I've never met anyone so young and so effortlessly self-possessed," Clark told Ganz. "[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."

The profile goes on to outline some of what you can expect from GUTS when it drops next month, with album opener "All-American Bitch" described as "[beginning] with Rodrigo's angelic soprano over fingerpicked acoustic guitar before snapping into fuzzy power chords and the first of many f-bombs," and "Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl," featuring Rodrigo "[chanting] a litany of embarrassing party fouls over a springy bass line and [letting] out cathartic screams."

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