Olivia Rodrigo has capped her breakthrough year with an impressive seven Grammy nominations related to her debut album “Sour,” including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.
While other artists had more nominations — specifically Jon Batiste, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. — but Rodrigo is the only one nominated in each of the “Big Four.”
Ironically, the last artist to achieve that feat also has seven nods this year: Billie Eilish, who swept the Big Four at the 2020 awards with her “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” album and “Bad Guy” single (she and her brother/collaborator Finneas won two others that year as well).
Only 17 at the time, Eilish set the record as the youngest person to receive all four nominations — beating Rodrigo, who his 18. (However, Rodrigo is the first Filipina-American to achieve the feat.)
A veteran of the “High School Musical” series, Rodrigo has become the breakout music star of 2021, leading with her massive viral hit “Drivers License” in January and following with “Sour,” and the single “Good 4 U” in the spring.
Most of the tracks on “Sour” came from Rodrigo’s deep arsenal of songs, many of which were written during the COVID-19 quarantine that began in March 2020. During that period, Rodrigo says she wrote a song every day for four months, ultimately sharing writing credits on all but three of the album’s tracks with her key collaborator, songwriter-producer Dan Nigro. Many of the songs have struck a chord with young listeners because they’re often about things they encounter themselves — largely relationship, exes, etc. — but sprinkled with real-life details like Billy Joel, “Glee” and strawberry ice cream.
“I think specificity is one of the most important things you can do as a songwriter,” Rodrigo said in her Variety cover story last summer. “I love songs where you can listen to them and sort of feel like you’re in another world… and the way you do that is through imagery and details.”