“It’s kind of weird to like grow up and have all these projections onto you about who you are and the characters you’re playing … and lately it’s been so cool because I feel like I’ve really been introduced to people for who I really am which is a songwriter,” the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actress, 18, shared with Ryan Seacrest on-air on Wednesday, March 3. “And my song is very vulnerable, and I’ve put so much of myself into it so it’s really cool that it's resonating with people because I feel like it’s such a good representation of who I am as a human being and that feels really awesome.”
One of those people just so happens to be Swift, whom Olivia has idolized.
“I’m just so in awe of her constantly and I truly would not be the songwriter I am today if I had not grown up being so inspired by everything she does so to have her support really means the whole world,” Olivia added, revealing Swift has reached out personally. “Taylor actually sent me a letter that I opened last night. Like a handwritten letter because she is incredible. She’s out of this world.”
Fellow artists including Niall Horan and Phoebe Bridgers have also reached out to Olivia, offering advice.
“It’s so crazy to me these people I looked up to are now my peers,” she added, revealing that it’s also everyday people who resonate with the song that excites her most.
“That’s the cool thing like so many people have come up to me [and been like] ‘I listened to this song and it brought me back to this period of my life where I was heartbroken.’" Olivia continued. "That’s the biggest dream as a songwriter to be able to transport somebody from one place in their life to an entirely different place and entirely different emotion.”
Olivia continued the “most insane thing” about all of it is that she’s been stuck in her house “while this whole thing has been happening” due to COVID-19.
“So, it’s been a strange experience,” she admitted. “It’s hard to wrap your head around the numbers. … It's moments where I was getting my nose swabbed in one of the COVID testing places and they were playing my song on the radio. … It’s moments like that with real people like who are really being affected by the song that like really gets me.”
So, what about her forthcoming album?
“It’s inevitable to feel pressure after a No. 1 song. … But, at the end of the day, I absolutely love songwriting and I always have and I don’t really write songs to put them out or to hopefully have them chart. I just really write songs because I love writing songs so I’m hopefully going to be doing that forever.”
Watch back the full interview with Olivia in the video above for more, including how she celebrated her 18th birthday and to hear her reaction to that hilarious SNL skit.