There is a lot that goes into making a hit song, just ask Olivia Rodrigo.
Rodrigo and her producer Dan Nigro appeared on Rolling Stone‘s episode of “The Breakdown”. The two dished on the creative process behind Rodrigo’s big new song “Deja Vu”.
“We were [originally] trying to write a sadder song and it wasn’t working. Dan was like, ‘What other ideas do you have?’ In my Notes App on my phone, I have all of these poems and little song concepts,” Rodrigo said. “One of the little hook lines that I had was ‘with this
she was with you do you get deja vu?’ I thought it would be a cool way to talk about…how when you break up with someone and they move on, sometimes you watch them on social media or whatever, they’re like living the same life you lived with another partner, that can be really frustrating.”
“[We] didn’t want to do the safe thing and put out another heartbreak ballad,” she continued. “We really wanted to show that I’m a versatile songwriter and a versatile artist. I can make heartbreak songs but I can also make cool alternative pop songs. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into the ‘heartbreak ballad girl’ thing.”
It took a lot of trial and error before Rodrigo and Nigro settled on “Deja Vu”.
“We tried so many things [with “Déjà vu],” says Nigro. “You [Rodrigo] were in Salt Lake [filming the second season of the Disney+ show ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ and you were like ‘the song is boring’ so I sped it up and then I sped it up a little bit more. And then I tried adding other instrumentation. It started to sound weird You just don’t think to change the song, you try to change the production for so long… but ultimately at the end, it was like ‘oh no we just have to make the song better.’”
“People really resonate with authenticity,” Rodrigo concluded. “You could have this catchy melody and the greatest production ever. But truth and vulnerability is really what people resonate with and that’s always going to stay the same no matter what genre of music you do, no matter if you do an up tempo song, or a down tempo song.”