It's rare to see a new artist launch straight to the top of the charts, which makes the seemingly sudden rise of Olivia Rodrigo all the more exciting.
The 17-year-old singer and actor's breakout hit Drivers License is battling for Number 1 on this week's Official Singles Chart. If you're not yet familiar with the rising star, below is a cheat sheet to get you up to speed. First, let's start with the song itself:
Should we have seen the rise of Olivia Rodrigo coming?
In short, probably. Last year Variety named her in their Power of Young Hollywood list, mostly due to her standout role in Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. If you've not seen it, it's a mockumentary based on the original Disney films that follows a group of students who participate in a staging of High School Musical: The Musical as their school production (it's even filmed at the same school as the films). Olivia stars as the lead Nini Salazar-Roberts, the Gabriella of the show, if you're a fan of the originals.
So she's another Disney child star-turned-popstar?
Pretty much, although Olivia's popstar turn doesn't feel quite as contrived as some of her predecessors. For one, she's already got songwriting clout: penning the powerful All I Want for the show's soundtrack, which sneaked into the lower end of Top 100 Official Singles Chart this month and has amassed over 200 million global streams. She also wrote Drivers License alongside its producer Daniel Nigro.
Why has Drivers License taken off so quickly?
As well as the Disney+ series, Olivia is big on Instagram and TikTok, with 5.7 milllion followers across both platforms. Drivers License was also given a considerable boost by her idol Taylor Swift, who posted “that’s my baby and I’m really proud” after Olivia shared her excitement at being next to Taylor on the US iTunes chart.
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What is Drivers License about?
Discussing Drivers License, Olivia said it was inspired by "a heartbreak that was so confusing to me, so multifaceted. Putting all those feelings into a song made everything seem so much simpler and clearer - and at the end of the day, I think that’s really the whole purpose of songwriting. There’s nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song. It’s truly my favorite thing in the world."
Is this a one-off track or can we expect more music from Olivia soon?
Olivia will release her debut EP later this year, which she wrote during quarantine. A press release describes it as a "piano-driven, alt-pop collection of songs... channeling both truth and vulnerability in her insightful songwriting and magnetic vocals".