Back in 2021, Olivia Rodrigo made the seamless transition from a child actor to a seriously successful singer-songwriter.
Olivia was just 18 years old when she released her debut single "Driver's Licence" to huge critical acclaim, and her career continued to soar in the lead-up to her first album, Sour.
Sour was also incredibly well received and even broke records, but shortly after its release Olivia faced a harsh wake-up call from the music industry.
Since the very start of her music career, Olivia was open about the way that her idols had inspired her — especially Taylor Swift, who she'd been a dedicated fan of since childhood.
In fact, Olivia was such a devoted Swiftie that she even interpolated one of Taylor's tracks on her album.
Speaking to Zach Sang amid Sour's release, Olivia explained that she'd written the lyrics to her song "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back" over Taylor's chords for her 2017 song "New Year's Day."
The resemblance between the two is obvious, but all of it was above board. Olivia had dutifully sought permission before including the song on Sour, and appropriately credited Taylor.
But two months after Sour’s release, fans noticed that Taylor and her collaborators had been retroactively credited on Olivia's hugely popular single "Deja Vu."
This was due to an apparent interpolation of Taylor's song "Cruel Summer," but many listeners have struggled to hear "Cruel Summer's" influence on Olivia's hit.
so confused how deja vu is related to cruel summer ?? like where the vibes aren't even similar
— lee heard aotg live !! (@ilovelgbtpplido) September 9, 2023
Twitter @ilovelgbtpplido / Via Twitter: @ilovelgbtpplido
something that gets lost in the olivia/taylor discussion is that deja vu and cruel summer sound literally nothing alike
— Callie Ahlgrim (@callieahlgrim) September 12, 2023
Twitter @callieahlgrim / Via Twitter: @callieahlgrim
Idk how you can compare cruel summer and deja vu they don’t even sound the same 😭
— ur iel (@uriii31) September 12, 2023
Twitter @uriii31 / Via Twitter: @uriii31
Shortly afterwards, Taylor's close friend Hayley Williams of Paramore and her bandmate Josh Farro were added to the songwriting credits on another of Olivia's breakout singles. It was claimed that "Good 4 U" is similar to the 2007 Paramore song "Misery Business."
i still don’t think ‘good 4 u’ sounds anything like misery business and i still don’t think olivia rodrigo should’ve had to give up 50% of her royalties sorry
— lauren badillo milici (@motelsiren) September 10, 2023
Twitter @motelsiren / Via Twitter: @motelsiren
To this day, I do NOT hear the similarity between good 4 u and misery business 🤷🏼♀️
— laurynn ✩ (taylor’s version) (@swifttheman) September 2, 2023
Twitter @swifttheman / Via Twitter: @swifttheman
It's been two years and I still can't hear Misery Business in Good 4 U or hear Cruel Summer in Deja Vu
— breezy (newlywed edition) (@gaardenpanty) September 4, 2023
Twitter @gaardenpanty / Via Twitter: @gaardenpanty
Billboard later revealed that these retroactive credits resulted in Olivia giving up 50% of the royalties on each of the songs.
Speaking to Teen Vogue in October of that same year, the teen admitted that she'd struggled to get to grips with the "business side of music" as she reflected on the situation, but added: "I feel it doesn’t have too much to do with me."
"I think it’s disappointing to see people take things out of context and discredit any young woman’s work," Olivia went on at the time. "Every single artist is inspired by artists who have come before them. It’s sort of a fun, beautiful sharing process. Nothing in music is ever new. There’s four chords in every song. That’s the fun part — trying to make that your own."
Olivia was also defended by other artists at the time, including Elvis Costello and Adam Levine. Her co-writer and producer Dan Nigro added to Time: "It seems like people get funny about things when songs become really popular."
And Olivia has now opened up some more about the entire situation in a new interview with Rolling Stone amid the release of her sophomore album, Guts.
Now 20, the star told the publication that she "was a little caught off guard" by the way that other people took credit for her music.
"At the time it was very confusing, and I was green and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed," Olivia admitted. She then clarified that it was her team who handled the situation, and she wasn't "super involved in" the ins and outs of how it was resolved.
When asked if she would ever "demand credit from a young artist," Olivia appeared to throw subtle shade as she replied: "I don't think I would ever personally do that."
"But who’s to say where I’ll be in 20, 30 years. All that I can do is write my songs and focus on what I can control," she added.
After everything went down two years ago, it was widely reported that Olivia and her former idol Taylor had fallen out as a result of it.
Prior to Sour's release, Olivia had regularly gushed about how much she loved the singer, who first found fame when Olivia was just three years old.
Taylor reciprocated the affection in sweet social media posts, and the two even exchanged handwritten letters when they first met.
But by the end of 2021, the two stars were no longer publicly engaging with one another. And in October that year, Olivia confessed that she'd discovered that people in the industry who she once admired were actually "mean girls."
As Alanis Morissette looked back at her early career in a Rolling Stone interview with the then-teen, she recalled: "There was a lot of bullying and a lot of jealousy and a lot of people whom I’d adored my whole life being mean girls,” to which Olivia replied: “Same!”
Fans have theorized that Olivia has reflected on this rumored fallout with Taylor on her Guts album track "The Grudge," which is about feeling confused, hurt, and let down by somebody that she once had "undying love" for.
And when Rolling Stone asked Olivia about this hotly-speculated feud, Olivia apparently went "quiet" before insisting: "I don't have beef with anyone. I'm very chill. I keep to myself. I have my four friends, and my mom, and that's really the only people I talk to ever. There's nothing to say."
Acknowledging the widespread theories about her and Taylor's relationship online, she added: "There’s so many Twitter conspiracy theories. I only look at alien-conspiracy theories."
Needless to say, this response did little to deter fans, who took to social media to share their reaction to Olivia's answer.
"lol, even that answer shows that she clearly does," one person wrote on a Reddit forum.
"I do believe that there’s no beef because 'beef' is a harsh way to put it. I don’t think they’re in an ongoing feud but I also think it’s quite obvious that something turned Olivia off of Taylor," one more wrote. "If she still loved/idolized Taylor she would’ve said something like 'I can’t believe people think that! I love Taylor.' and it would’ve ended all of this. She has given a vague response every time she’s been asked about this and that says something."
"There's a noticeable shift in how she talks about Taylor," someone else agreed. "In fact, she doesn't even mention Taylor by name. Instead of saying 'Taylor and I are on good terms,' she avoids the question. She’s been classy and I respect her for that."
"Actually read the article and I'm a fan but you can definitely read the pr training specifically for that question in particular," one more commented.
Someone else added: "I think she’s definitely soured on Taylor but she’s being smart not talking about it."
Others pointed out that after repeatedly listing Taylor as one of her idols at the start of her career, she was notably absent from the rising star's latest list of inspirations in the Rolling Stone piece.
"Honestly it's so sad how liv doesn't talk about Taylor Swift anymore, TS was her role model growing up and she used to talk about her almost every interview every time all the time. It's sad how it all went down. I'm still frustrated," one fan wrote.
In the article, Olivia namechecks everybody from Lorde to Taylor's former nemesis Katy Perry — who said that she offered to be a mentor to Olivia early on in her career.
"The first time I met her I put my hands on her shoulders and was like, ‘Listen, I’m here. Whatever you need,'" Katy told the publication. "Because I know exactly what these pop girlies are going through, and when I was growing up, no one really did that for me.”
Meanwhile, Taylor was seen clapping for Olivia at the VMAs on Wednesday night, but it has been argued that this doesn’t prove anything about their current relationship.
Not only did Taylor clap for every single performer and nominee at the ceremony, some have pointed out that she also knew that she was being filmed constantly by a dedicated camera operator.
“I’m getting ‘cordial,’” one person commented on a TikTok of the applause. “She was playing to the cameras all night and knows what’s what.”
Another agreed: “Girlie Taylor is so aware of the camera and was in performance mode all night, we’ll never know from this.”
Olivia is also one of the few celebs that Taylor did not pose for a photo with during last night's show.
Taylor Swift Sang That She'd Cry Herself To Sleep When A Young Artist Like Olivia Rodrigo Joins The Music Industry, And People Think It's The Root Of Their Rumored FeudStephanie Soteriou · Sept. 5, 2023
This Is Why People Are Convinced That Olivia Rodrigo's New Song "The Grudge" Is About Her Rumored Feud With Taylor SwiftStephanie Soteriou · Sept. 8, 2023