Olivia Rodrigo ‘was very surprised’ people thought ‘Vampire’ was about T-Swift

Olivia Rodrigo recently had a good interview in the Guardian, part of her publicity blitz for her sophomore album, Guts. Her first single from that album, “Vampire,” is already a big hit and a much-discussed conspiracy, as many people theorize that it’s about Taylor Swift. Olivia was asked about that again by the Guardian, and while she talks around the idea that it’s not really about Swift, she also doesn’t offer any defense or explanation for why it’s felt like she no longer considers Taylor a friend or mentor. Meaning, even if “Vampire” isn’t specifically about Taylor, it’s clear that Olivia is fine with people knowing that she’s not down with Taylor anymore. Some highlights from the Guardian:

Speaking out about abortion rights: Before Rodrigo’s [Glastonbury] set, she considered her many “young girl fans, which I always think about… That’s actually why it’s so important – I would love, if I was a little girl, to see someone stand up for future-me like that.” Similarly, if there was kickback, she recalls, “I didn’t really pay attention to it or let it affect me.” Being a puppet, she says, “doesn’t work any more”.

Overnight success: “It’s not like I was like: ‘In order to have a sustainable career, I’m gonna roll it out slowly and this and that.’ I kind of had overnight success. I’d been working on songs for years and preparing for that moment for a long time. But in many respects it was very instantaneous, and so taking things slower was my way of coping. All of the drama that surrounded Drivers License was baptism by fire,” she says. Cleaving her personal identity from her celebrity persona became a priority she worked through in therapy. “I’m happiest when I can separate the two.”

She’s tired of feeling grateful: “I’ve experienced a lot of emotional turmoil over having all these feelings of rage and dissatisfaction that I felt like I couldn’t express, especially in my job. I’ve always felt like: you can never admit it, be so grateful all the time, so many people want this position. And that causes a lot of repressed feelings. I’ve always struggled with wanting to be this perfect American girl and the reality of not feeling like that all the time.”

Copyright issues. Sour was plagued by it: after listeners noted similarities between Rodrigo’s song Deja Vu (an ecstatic skewering of her ex for rehashing their favourite pastimes with his new girlfriend) and Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer, as well as between her Good 4 U and Paramore’s Misery Business, Rodrigo ended up giving both acts 50% of the credits and royalties for the respective tracks. At the time, she said it was “disappointing to see people take things out of context and discredit any young woman’s work”. Did the potential for similar scrutiny make her second-guess writing Guts? She grows vague. “I was so green as to how the music industry worked, the litigious side … I feel like now I know so much more about the industry and I just feel … better equipped in that regard. It wasn’t something I thought about too much.”

Whether “Vampire” is about Taylor Swift: Some fans are convinced that Vampire is about Swift, especially given that signs of their budding friendship vanished after the credits issue. (Swift recently invited Sabrina Carpenter, the rumoured other party in the Drivers License heartbreak, to support her Eras tour.) “How do I answer this?” Rodrigo whispers at the table when I ask her. “I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about. I’ve never done that before in my career and probably won’t. I think it’s better to not pigeonhole a song to being about this one thing.” She laughs nervously (she often laughs nervously). “I was very surprised when people thought that.”

[From The Guardian]

“I was very surprised when people thought that” is a shockingly effective dodge, right? She’s given us enough to believe that “Vampire” isn’t about Swift, but she’s left enough room for people to believe whatever they want. And yeah, I do think there was drama or a falling out or something like that between Swift and Rodrigo. Olivia has said nothing to deny the beef and she goes out of her way to talk around all things Swift. It was pretty rich for Swift and Antonoff to sue Rodrigo for copyright infringement when Antonoff basically copies-and-pastes all of his stuff between Lorde, Taylor and Lana anyway. I would also totally buy that Taylor does see Olivia as a threat, and it speaks volumes that Taylor invited Sabrina Carpenter onto the Eras Tour.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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30 Responses to “Olivia Rodrigo ‘was very surprised’ people thought ‘Vampire’ was about T-Swift”

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  1. Whatever says:

    I don’t really see anything here that would lead us to believe the song isn’t about Taylor. Couldn’t “I was very surprised when people thought that,” be interpreted as, “I can’t believe people picked up on that. I thought I covered my tracks better?”

    • Lisa says:

      Have you listened to the song? Because if you listen to Vampire it is clear what it is about- grooming. not to mention in rolling she is specifically asked if it about a guy and she says no comment.

      There are songs on guts that could very easily be about Taylor but not Vampire.

      • Whatever says:

        Nope, I haven’t. My comments were solely based on her remarks in this article. I thought they were sufficiently vague to not eliminate anything specific as a possibility.

  2. Jais says:

    So I have not heard either of these songs. Should Taylor and Jack Antonoff have been given 50% song writing credits?

    • sevenblue says:

      Of course not. That’s why Olivia changer her team after all went down. I remember in an interview, one advice Taylor gave young musicians was “get a good lawyer”. That was all backdoor negotiations and it is apparent that Olivia’s team was not good at their jobs.

  3. K-Peace says:

    Olivia didn’t deny that the song is about Swift at all! In fact what she said totally makes me think that it IS about her. I don’t know where anyone is getting that she said it’s not. If it weren’t about Swift, she would’ve simply said it’s not. Instead, she just talked around it. Saying “I was surprised people thought that.” is NOT a denial at all! And i hope it is about Swift—it would be great to have someone in the music industry speaking out against that awful, petty, childish, vengeful, selfish, climate-destroying woman who’s milking her fans dry of their money so she can line her almost-a-billionaire pockets even more—and Olivia has plenty of reasons to dislike Swift. So it makes me happy that it certainly does seem to be about her. I’m routing for Olivia to de-throne Taylor from her position of “#1 Female Pop Music Artist” because she sucks!

    • Arizona says:

      the song is very obviously about her ex boyfriend who was older than her. not sure how people hear “you said it was true love, but wouldn’t that be hard?” or “fame fucker” and think it’s about Taylor.

      not to mention, when she was asked if it was about him, all she said was “no comment.”

      I don’t know why everyone is so hellbent and insistent on there being a feud between the two simply because they were mildly friendly when she first came out. she just denied a feud again in Rolling Stone. she’s trying to promote her work and all anyone wants to ask her about is a supposed feud with another woman – just feels deeply misogynistic to me.

  4. sevenblue says:

    Here is the thing, she cannot say outright whether or not a song is about a specific person because then through all her music career she has to answer this question about her other songs. If you intend to write your own songs, it is smart to never answer this question or one day when you don’t wanna answer, they will interpret your non-comment as confirmation.

    With that, the song is mainly about having relationship with an older man. Taylor swift interpretation comes from people needing Olivia to get back at Taylor.

  5. Daisy says:

    I think Taylor can definitely be a mean girl but I mean, if you sample or interpolate a song or even gets inspired enough to the point is very similar (even if it’s not on purpose) you need to give credit. Tbh I don’t really find Good 4 U that similar do Misery Business, but I immediately recognized Cruel Summer when I heard Deja Vu. That said Brutal is basically a copy of Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up and he chose to not seek credit and even defended Olivia. So it depends on the artist really, and since this happened with her first album people are gonna do it again (I already saw people comparing one of the songs with Miley’s Start All Over).

    • sevenblue says:

      There are a lot of songs of Taylor that sound like other songs. However, other artists don’t come for her, because they understand it is okay to get inspiration while creating music. Taylor, one of the most popular musicians, didn’t show the same grace to an upcoming artist and got 50% of her profits. How can someone get 50% of royalties just because they shouted in a song?

      • Leonelda says:

        Taylor has straight up copied Lana Del Rey and Haims styles in her albums. She probably befriended Haim so they wouldn’t sue HER. She was smart and never talks about her musical inspirations. Olivia has learned a hard lesson but a necessary one.

      • Vanessa says:

        Exactly what Taylor and jack did was completely totally F up because now it’s become a sport. For people to discredit Olivia work try to smeared her those two songs don’t sound a like. I don’t understand how taylor fans can defend this but I’m not surprised they will defend taylor against everything and make her out to the victim the underdog.

      • sevenblue says:

        @Leonelda, when Taylor was young, she was also talking about her inspirations just like Olivia. She said her favorite song was “Breathe In Breathe Out” from Hilary Duff. She used this inspiration on her songs Getaway Car & Paper Rings. When people on social media made comment on resemblance, Hilary Duff rejected the comments and praised Taylor. That’s how someone who understands how music industry works and feeling secure in her music career behaves.

      • Lux says:

        I listened to both songs and the bridge is the kicker. It does sound similar. The rest of the song though…I wish Olivia had just done her own “yelly” bridge because “Deja Vu” is far catchier and more memorable than “Cruel Summer.” As I listened to her music and her play on words, I actually find OR to be a much more clever lyricist who takes greater risks in her absolute vulnerability. And she is obviously the superior singer, so maybe because of that, she can be more dramatic and operatic with her sound. Her songs really soar with her voice so in that way she’s more like a baby Adele than TS2. Taylor’s songs, even her recent ones, sound like Child’s Play in comparison (can someone explain WTF was “Bejewled?”)

    • Leonelda says:

      I am a big fan of both. Cruel summer and deja vu are nothing alike. Honestly this has made me like Taylor swift less.

    • Lisa says:

      I am a big fan of both women, I think people are a little hard on Olivia with the she steals from others. I do think that it is good she fired her team because while I don’t think Olivia intentionally did anything wrong (or anything wrong) her team did. She was an 18 year old making her first album, everyone else working on it knew how the business worked and should have advised her on the best way to go about creating her vision without having issues. Especially when every producer knows that a massive overnight success that is a young woman is going to get slammed for everything.

      Also IMO there really is no original sounding song they all sound similar depending on genre so clearly there is a way to make sure these things don’t happen. And if Taylor really did send lawyers after her she is wrong.

  6. Mariam says:

    Leave it to Taylor swift to have beef with a 19 year old.

  7. Leonelda says:

    Vampire, the grudge, and (probably) Lacey are all about Taylor. I use to be such a huge Taylor fan. But it’s clear she is conniving. She only supports other women artists she feels unthreatened by. As soon as Olivia started making record numbers she brought out the vampire fangs. Taylor wrote an entire song about being threatened by a younger artist. A part of me feels sad for Taylor. Like her career and being on top is all she has.

    • Lisa says:

      Listen to Vampire will you please it is clearly about her being in an unhealthy relationship with a much older guy.

      The Grudge and Lacy yeah I can see being about Taylor. But making Vampire about Taylor when it is so clearly and obvious not is trying to ignore Olivia’s story.

      • Emily says:

        Totally agree. To say Vampire is about Taylor is click bait and manufactured drama. But I can see The Grudge being about Swift.

    • Grant says:

      Vampire is absolutely not about Taylor. Listen to the song and read the lyrics. She talks about a man that girls warned her about, she didn’t listen, he called the girls crazy and she believed him. It’s about a romantic relationship gone sour, has nothing to do with Taylor Swift.

  8. Lisa says:

    Anyone who believes Vampire is about Taylor swift is either hasn’t listened to the actual song or is a complete moron.

    Vampire is clearly about that much older guy she dated and who groomed her. It isn’t hard to figure that out. It is very clearly a song about Grooming.

    Now if you want to speculate Lacy or even The Grudge are about Taylor I’d say you would have a valid argument. But Vampire- yeah no anyone who thinks that is a sexist moron who needs to ignore a young woman’s story of grooming to push an evil Taylor narrative.

    Listen to the songs- they are good.

  9. Stella says:

    I’ve never really gotten the impression Olivia writes her own music, most teenagers aren’t able to write a popular song without the help of a professional team. She doesn’t even usually get writing credits I thought on most of her songs. Therefore she does need a better team around her that are keeping things on the up and up. I’m not always a big Taylor swift fan but she does write a lot of her material and has staying power. Olivia seems fine but also kind of like every other young, manufactured pop stars – pretty, thin, says similar things in interviews to come across as deep etc but definitely sounds like she memorized the script. I’d be very curious of all these young pop stars were talking about today are still relevant in a few years. Most seem to just go away and we never think about again. People love hate on Taylor but she has an actual fan base for like 20 years now which is kind of insane. Most of these young girls are just a flash in a pan. I remember several years ago someone name like Alicia car was supposed to be the next big thing and I realize how i have not heard anything about her in like five years. Time will tell I guess.

    • sevenblue says:

      “She doesn’t even usually get writing credits I thought on most of her songs. ”

      That’s incorrect. Olivia has a writing credit on all of her songs. Taylor was writing her songs too when she was Olivia’s age. Why do you believe Taylor, not Olivia?

    • Sona says:

      “Most teenagers aren’t able to write a popular song”… Um, that was TS whole selling point when she was a teenager. And when you listen to the lyrics, they’re very much a teen girl’s making, and yet they are famous.

      Also, a lot of musicians write/compose since being teens. ie. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Lorde…

  10. CruzMom says:

    My daughter and I love Vampire and would listen to it on repeat when it first came out. There is one line that we couldn’t figure out what it meant, in a romantic sense – “The way you sold me for parts.” I think we have our answer! All of the lyrics make sense in this context.

  11. hangonamin says:

    wait…i’m confused why ppl think vampire is about taylor? lacy seems more like about taylor. song is basically about an older due that gaslit and kinda groomed her. the lyrics really hint that it’s about Zach Bia…who she dated for 6 months (“Six months of torture that you sold as some forbidden paradise”), who was a DJ (“You only come out at night”), who was older than her (“‘Cause girls your age know better”). or it’s about Adam Faze, who she also dated for 6 months and was older than her. it’s clearly about an ex and she’s surprised ppl jumped to taylor…

  12. AC says:

    I also read Lainey’s blog yesterday and 100% agree with her on the subject and history shows that Taylor always have had a beef with someone. I do like Taylor’s songs but I can see the repeatability of her behavior. And yes, many of Taylor’s songs are familiar with other artists- she’s also being Hypocritical. I guess people change when fame gets to their head. But one should know they can’t stay on top forever.
    @Kaiser is exactly correct. Taylor will be on your side(she doesn’t see a threat with Sabrina just yet) but once one becomes a threat where one can overtake her , we’ll see the Mean side of Taylor.
    Currently Guts is dominating the charts around the world and they don’t like it one bit. And if Olivia doesn’t give credit to Taylor 24/7, you’ll see it on Olivia’s SM pages(coming from some of Taylor’s toxic fans).