Her first single driver’s license has been out in less than a week, but Olivia Rodrigo is already one of the biggest success stories of 2021.
The 17-year-old released her first solo single Driver’s License last Friday, and the emotionally charged ballad has already topped the charts on Apple Music, Amazon Music and iTunes. The music video has reached nearly 22 million views (and is climbing fast) on YouTube. Oh, and it went viral on TikTok (naturally). But the biggest statistic can be found on Spotify, where Driver’s License has reached No.1 in the Australian and Global Top 50 charts with north of 50 million streams.
On Monday, the song set Spotifys’ record for most streams in one day for a non-vacation song with over 15 million plays worldwide. Then, broke his own record the next day, with over 17 million streams!
So yeah, basically the greatest song in the world right now.
Driver’s license quickly became the topic of everything you’d expect with a viral hit – incitement sad girl memes, lots of blankets and soundtrack fan modifications – but it also earned Olivia a public co-sign of her hero Taylor Swift on Insta and a taken from one of the Dolan Twins – two huge Internet fame approval stamps.
The song obviously struck a chord with a lot of people, including Bridget Hustwaite, the own triple js.
I had no idea who Olivia Rodrigo was until I saw the driver’s license dominate my social media feeds over the weekend, so I listened to it and my heart fell to the ground, says your Good Nights host. No wonder it’s the biggest new song in the world right now – it’s a breaking ballad of such devastating beauty. Watch / listen to “Driver’s License” below.
Rodrigo is a self-described huge swiftie and proud Lorde Stan, and Drivers License is largely the combined product of those inspirations, a quietly devastating, downtempo pop song that combines storytelling with sweeping sounds to sell its drama.
Written with producer Dan Nigro (who has written songs for Lewis Capaldi, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sky Ferreira, and more), Olivia sings to an ex to finally get her license like we’ve always talked about, but instead of celebrating, she circles the burbs heartbroken, girding her pain on the pilots’ side in big, painful melodies as the production swells and emphasizes her pain.
Personally, I really feel like I’m living through Olivias words as she expresses a lot of emotions that I faced at 20, going through my first heartache, says Bridget. “Seriously, if Olivia already writes songs like this at 17, I can’t even begin to imagine what else she has in store!
Wait, back up. Where does Olivia Rodrigo come from?
Basically Olivia is a Disney baby. She was cast in the Disney sitcom Bizaardvark at the age of 13 before playing the role of Nini in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series a recent mockumentary incarnation of the Disney franchise that allowed him to show off his impressive blowjobs.
The young Californian co-wrote a few songs for the soundtrack, including Gold certified All I Want, and used the show’s cult fandom to build a sizable fan base on Instagram and TikTok. (His message announcing the driver’s license on it, Rebecca Blacks Friday soundtrack, has over 7 million views.) That puts her in a lineage of former Disney-backed music stars like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and most recently Yungblud (yes really, Google it).
The driver’s license doesn’t just signal Olivia to go out and go solo, it also has a connection to HSM: TM: TS (yikes, what a bite). Part of the social media buzz surrounding the song surrounds speculation that its addressed to former co-star Joshua Bassett, with detectives thinking the blonde lyric girl is another cast member Sabrina Carpenter.
See there’s plenty of tea for suck if you are thirsty, and while this drama obviously helped increase the popularity of the songs, you don’t need to know the backstory of qqqHigh School Musical to immerse yourself in the driving license feeling. There is an inherent and relatable pain to the imagery that Olivia conjures up with lines like
With the insane numbers he’s already making online, the track is set to climb straight to No.1 in global sales next week, it’s only days before we know for sure.
So what’s next for Olivia Rodrigo after the biggest breakout moment?
After signing with Interscope / Geffen Records, she plans to release her debut EP later this year, a collection of piano songs written in her forties.
And if you still think that a 17-year-old can’t take on the world with a handful of songs, we have two words for you: Billie. Eilish.
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