In an interview, the singer-songwriter discussed how she incorporated Swift's famous song "New Year's Day" into a track from her chart-topping debut, Sour.

By Andrea Towers
June 01, 2021 at 01:03 PM EDT
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Olivia Rodrigo is having a banner year. The High School Musical star recently released her debut album, Sour, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and also garnered the biggest release for an album in 2021, racking up 295,000 units. But that pales in comparison to Rodrigo's biggest accomplishment so far: getting to pay homage to her idol, Taylor Swift.

Last month, eagle-eyed fans noticed that Rodrigo had given Swift and her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff a songwriting credit on an unreleased track titled "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back." In a new interview with Zach Sang, Rodrigo spoke in depth about putting her album together and specifically touched on how she ended up "borrowing" from a Swift song.

"We interpolated 'New Year's Day,' which is Taylor's song from Reputation," she explained. "I came up with the '1 Step Forward' concept, and I sort of wrote a verse and a chorus… I was in the car on a road trip, and when I got home, I decided to sing it over the chords of 'New Year's Day.' I think they're really beautiful chords. I was lucky enough to get that approved, and it's on the record now."

Die-hard fans will catch that the track's title is a subtle nod to Swift's lucky number (13), but for Rodrigo the genesis of the song came from a deeper place. "I really sort of loved that concept of '1 step forward, 3 steps back,'" she explained in the interview. "Somebody texted it to me once, and I was like, 'Ooo, that's really interesting. I've never heard somebody say something like that.' I thought it would be a cool way to describe this toxic, sort of manipulative, relationship."

Rodrigo has been vocal throughout her career about how Swift inspired her, and although the two only met for the first time at the 2021 BRIT Awards, they've been in each other's orbit for a while. Back in April, Swift asked Rodrigo and fellow young pop star Conan Gray to promote the rerelease of her Fearless album through TikTok.

If this means we're one step closer to an official Rodrigo/Swift collaboration, we'll take it.

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