Olivia Rodrigo revealed the inspiration behind her sophomore single “deja vu.”
On Thursday (April 1), the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star released her follow-up single to her smash hit “drivers license.” The 18-year-old Disney star spoke about her inspiration behind her new breakup anthem to Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
Rodrigo wrote the song a month after completing “drivers license” and was inspired by her experience with déjà vu. “I’m sort of obsessed with the concept of déjà vu … I get déjà vu all the time,” she shared. “And so I thought it would be a cool play on words to use déjà vu as a metaphor for this very universal thing that happens when you break up with someone and they get with somebody else, and see them living the life that you lived.”
The singer revealed that she got the initial idea for the song by stumbling across the line, “When she’s with you, do you get déjà vu?” She was in the studio working on something else when she discovered the lyric on her Notes app.
Watch the music video for “deja vu,” below:
Rodrigo is critical of how her music gets mixed in the studio and always wants to release the perfect cut. “I always absolutely hate the first mix every time I listen to it,” she admitted. “Even with ‘drivers license,’ they played it for me for the first time and I was like, ‘I hate the bridge. The bridge production is all wrong. We have to redo it. We have to start over. I’m super, super self-critical.”
She also admitted that “deja vu” was a “nightmare to mix,” adding, “God bless the dude who mixes my music, and my A&R, and Dan, because … I think there were like, 30 mixes of the song, legitimately 30 mixes. It’s different for me because I think it’s not like a vocal-driven song necessarily. It has the great lyrics… but it’s really a lot about the music, and the feeling comes from the music.”
After the major success of her debut single, selecting her sophomore single was a big undertaking. “It was really important to me and to my team that we didn’t just put out another ballad after ‘drivers license,’ you know what I mean? We wanted to show that I am a very versatile songwriter, and I love all different types of music, and I create all different types of music.”
But the decision to release “deja vu” next came naturally for Rodrigo and her team: “We’ve had that picked out for months. And so, yeah, it was sort of just a natural progression, I think it’s a nice introduction to all of the other things that I can do.”
Rodrigo’s debut album will drop May 21.