The High School Musical: The Musical star opens up to ELLE.

By Jolie Lash
April 26, 2021 at 04:55 PM EDT

Olivia Rodrigo says her early teenage years in Hollywood weren't easy.

The former Disney Channel Bizaardvark star told ELLE magazine, which features her on its May 2021 cover, that at 14 she went through "an identity crisis on steroids."

Being a young teenager working in Hollywood was lonely, she told ELLE, and turning 14 left her wondering, "Who the f—k  am I? Who cares about me? How do I treat people?" She also faced some tough – and awkward – questions. "Most 14-year-olds aren't in a room with adults being like, 'So, what's your brand?'"

Something that helped the "Driver's License" singer figure things out, though, was joining the cast of High School Musical: The Musical, where her natural music talents were incorporated into the series after producers heard her song "I Am More."

"They were like, 'We want Olivia's character's song to sound like the song that Olivia wrote,'" she told the mag, noting how that ended up leading to her penning "All I Want" at just 16 – and eventually a record deal.

The actress and singer, now 18, has her debut album, Sour, due out May 21. It follows the 2021 release of two major bops for the star, including "Drivers License." That song not only debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it became the biggest weekly streaming debut with 107 million worldwide streams.

While Rodrigo wasn't asked about the rumored inspiration for the song (which was parodied on SNL), the mag did ask her about having people interpreting her song and discussing it on social. "It's truly any songwriter's dream," she told ELLE.

"There's something so powerful in being vulnerable and open, like, 'This is my life, and I'm f—ing sad.' Or, 'I'm insecure,' " she added. "That's what makes songwriting so special."

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