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Olivia Rodrigo: Tiny Desk Concert

The last time Olivia Rodrigo performed a Tiny Desk concert, it was two years ago in a deserted DMV office, back when pandemic precautions meant artists sadly couldn't play the real Desk. This year, the singer-songwriter returned, bringing a handful of songs from her wildly fun sophomore album to the NPR Music office.

"It's much cooler to be here," Rodrigo says. "I was saying earlier, I've never been starstruck by a room before."

Many of the songs on GUTS, which earned a special recommendation on NPR Music's Best Albums of 2023 list, blow out Rodrigo's sound into colorful, grungy pop-rock fit for a stadium, like "love is embarrassing," performed here with Rodrigo on jangly acoustic guitar. But the artist builds her set out with GUTS cuts that fit the intimate setup, like the searing "vampire," her backup vocalists cooing eerily around each of her lines, or the potent ode to female jealousy, "lacy," which Rodrigo explains started out as a poetry exercise in a college class.

By the end of her set, she's completely alone at the piano for the sobering "making the bed," and it's not difficult to see why she's one of pop's most promising rising performers.


SET LIST

  1. "love is embarrassing"
  2. "vampire"
  3. "lacy"
  4. "making the bed"

MUSICIANS

  • Olivia Rodrigo: piano, guitar
  • Hayley Brownell: drums
  • Moa Munoz: bass
  • Daisy Spencer: guitar
  • Ashley Morgan: vocals
  • Elizabeth Gaba: vocals
  • Julia Gartha: vocals

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producers: Suraya Mohamed, Bob Boilen
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Elizabeth Gillis, Maia Stern
  • Audio Assistant: Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Zayrha Rodriguez
  • Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: December 13, 2023 at 11:00 PM CST
An original version of this Tiny Desk credited Elizabeth Gaba as a performer. Their name is Gaba.
Hazel Cills
Hazel Cills is an editor at NPR Music. Before coming to NPR in 2021, Cills was a culture reporter at Jezebel, where she wrote about music and popular culture. She was also a writer for MTV News and a founding staff writer for the teen publication Rookie magazine.