How Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo Got Tied Together In BTS Grammys Drama

Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo performances from Saturday Night Live.
(Image credit: NBC)

Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo have undoubtedly been two of the hottest names in music this year. On top of Swift’s release of Red (Taylor’s Version), she’s still riding the wave of Evermore’s release in late 2020. Rodrigo, for her part, stormed into 2021 with the record-breaking single “drivers license” from her debut album, Sour, followed by a number of other hits. But some behind-the-scenes drama with the 2022 Grammy Awards nominations occurred when Swift was erroneously listed on Sour’s Best Album nomination as a co-writer. 

The Grammys have removed Taylor Swift from the nomination, as well as Jack Antonoff and St. Vincent, saying an error in the submission process caused them to be incorrectly listed as full co-writers, according to a statement from the Academy (via Billboard). But how did these two end up in this confusing situation in the first place?

Why Taylor Swift Was Listed On Sour To Begin With

The issue seems to revolve around Olivia Rodrigo’s use of interpolation on Sour. Interpolation is the re-recording of parts of another song to make a new product, which differs from a sample (or the brutal plagiarism accusations she's faced) because it’s not a straight lift. Rodrigo gave writing credits to Taylor Swift, Paramore’s Hayley Williams and others after she received backlash over the similarities her tracks had to other artists' songs (not to mention her cover art). 

However, Grammy guidelines differentiate between songwriters and the writers of interpolated music, so whereas the "Willow" singer is credited on Sour, she is not eligible for a Grammy Award.

Which Of Olivia Rodrigo’s Songs Included Interpolations From Taylor Swift?

The track “1 step forward, 3 steps back” was interpolated from Taylor Swift’s “New Year’s Day” off her Reputation album. Olivia Rodrigo talked to the Zach Sang Show about writing the lyrics and singing them over Swift’s song:

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.

Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single “good 4 u” was interpolated from Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” from her 2019 album Lover. “Good 4 u” has also been compared to Paramore’s “Misery Business.”

Is Taylor Swift Still Nominated For A 2022 Grammy Award?

She may have been removed from that Best Album nomination, but Taylor Swift has one of those on her own. Evermore is also a nominee for Best Album at the 2022 Grammys, so it’ll be interesting to see these two go up against each other. 

Olivia Rodrigo has always been open about her musical influences and has pointed out that all musicians draw inspiration from what they listen to. She doesn’t seem to have a problem giving credit where it’s due, either, since adding Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Hayley Williams and others as writers on her album cost her millions of dollars in royalties. The Grammy Awards are set to air Monday, January 31, 2022, on CBS at 8 p.m. ET, so tune in to see if one of these pop queens takes home the trophy.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.