The singer-songwriter spoke to PEOPLE before surprising fans at the Spotify x American Express 'Guts' Gallery pop-up experience in New York City
Olivia Rodrigo may have three No. 1 singles and three Grammy Awards under her belt, but there’s one thing she’s never had the chance to experience: getting to celebrate an album release with her actual fans.
Rodrigo, 20, dropped her smash debut album Sour in 2021 amid pandemic-induced restrictions — so when it came to releasing Guts, its follow-up, she spent the night before surprising fans in New York City at the Guts Gallery pop-up experience, hosted by Spotify and American Express.
“I never got to actually experience any of the fun events that go along with an album release!” she told PEOPLE in an exclusive sit-down before the event. “I never got to watch people as they listened to the songs for the first time. It’s really fun.”
Though the “Bad Idea Right?” singer admitted it was “a little nerve-wracking” to watch her fans listen to new songs for the first time, Rodrigo was ready and excited to see which tracks “people gravitate towards.”
“I owe so much to my fans,” she said. “When you're making the record, you always have your favorite song, and my producer has his favorite song and the label has their favorite song, but sometimes you don't really know which songs people are going to choose as their favorite until it comes out. So I'm really anxious to see what people like the most."
As for which one Rodrigo digs the most? That changes by the day.
“It kind of depends on my mood. I really love ‘All-American Bitch.’ I really love ‘Teenage Dream.’ I really love ‘Love Is Embarrassing,’” she revealed. “It just depends on if I’m feeling in a dancey mood or a rage-y mood. But I’m very excited for this album to come out. It’s been a long time in the making, so it’s going to feel good.”
The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series alum said “All-American Bitch” was a song that actually started on the piano, but eventually evolved into an “intense rock song.” Its title was inspired by a line she read in a Joan Didion book.
“It comes from the essay that she wrote about hippies in San Francisco and running away from home,” she explained. “One of the runaways was talking about his mom back home and said that she was an 'all-American bitch.' I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool.’ It’s such a provocative set of words. I sat down the next day at the piano and wrote ‘All-American Bitch.’... You never know the trajectory a song is going to take.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the chat, Rodrigo revealed the title of one of her go-to Spotify playlists: “Driving Down the PCH with the Windows Down,” a reference to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, famed for its scenic ocean views.
“That’s a good one. There’s some Chicks on there. I love ‘Wide Open Spaces.’ Anytime it’s summertime, I’m like [sings ‘Wide Open Spaces’],” she said. “‘Solar Power’ by Lorde. Simon & Garfunkel. It’s very light and happy.”
Sour, the album which featured the hit, topped the Billboard charts, and Guts, its long-awaited follow-up, sees Rodrigo teaming up once more with Dan Nigro, her producer and songwriting partner.
The LP was preceded by No. 1 hit “Vampire,” a piano ballad about a manipulative ex that swells into a rock anthem, and “Bad Idea Right?” a fun rumination on the pitfalls of backsliding with an ex in the vein of The Waitresses.
To celebrate the release, Rodrigo did a Q&A with Eva Chen Thursday night at the pop-up, taking questions from fans in attendance.
The gallery kicks off Friday, and will run through Sunday, giving fans the chance to snag exclusive merch (including T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, bumper stickers, dad hats, beanies, tote bags and more) and snap photos at interactive photo moments.
"The Guts experience is another example of how dedicated Spotify is to bringing fans into the worlds of their favorite artists and albums," says Ashley Graver, Head of Dance, Pop, and Indie, Artist Partnerships at Spotify. "This is a three-day extravaganza where top fans can immerse themselves into Olivia Rodrigo's creative space, with a replica of her actual bedroom and an early opportunity to shop Olivia's new merch. We can’t wait to see the next moves of alt-pop’s reigning princess and were honored to celebrate this release with her."
Spotify fans and Amex card members have early access to the gallery for one hour each day it’s open; Friday is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday will be from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. All fans will also receive a complimentary tote bag, and there will also be opportunities to receive exclusive gifts.
The Guts Gallery is open to the public on Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 25-27 Little W. 12th Street in New York City.
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Read the original article on People.