Photo courtesy of NYLON Magazine.
You’ve definitely heard the name Olivia Rodrigo many times by now. If you haven’t watched her in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series or Bizaardvark, you must’ve heard her song Drivers License, which spread on social media like wildfire and defined the pop music atmosphere in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know about Rodrigo’s story and why she is future of the pop music industry.
Olivia Rodrigo was born on February 20, 2003 in Temecula, California. She is of German and Irish descent from her mother’s side and Filipino ancestry from her father’s side. Rodrigo started acting at the age of six. She started acting in theater productions while she was in elementary and middle school. When she got the role on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark, she moved to Los Angeles.
Rodrigo made her first on-screen appearance in an Old Navy commercial before landing her first film American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. She portrayed Grace Thomas.
In 2016, she starred as guitar player Paige Olvera in Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. The show lasted three seasons from 2016 to 2019. If you’re trying to figure out the Disney Channel era, it was out alongside Andi Mack, Stuck in the Middle, and K.C. Undercover.
Her role in the show became a catalyst for a long career at Disney. This is evident with her Disney+ role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premiered on Disney+ on November 12, 2019. It was one of the first Disney+ original series to debut on the streaming platform. The series has a distinct style being a mockumentary musical with lots of drama involved. The filming style is very similar to The Office. The show has been praised for its authentic portrayal of teenagers and LGBTQ+ representation.
On February 25, 2019, Rodrigo got casted as Nini Salazar-Roberts in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Many Gen Z compare to her to Vanessa Hudgens’ Gabriella Montez and Zac Efron’s Troy Bolton counterpart who’s Ricky Bowen portrayed by Joshua Bassett.
The series has given her the ability to shine as a singer and songwriter. The song All I Want was featured in Season 1, Episode 4: Blocking. The song made it to number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for two weeks. It was eventually certified gold due to 500,000 digital units being downloaded. This song remains to be the most successful from the series. She co-wrote Just For A Moment with Joshua Bassett. It was featured in Season 1, Episode 9: Opening Night.
Rodrigo’s success from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series geared her towards her own music career. In 2020, she signed with Interscope Records and Geffen Records. Her biggest rise to fame came in the form of her first single, Drivers License. The song was released on January 8, 2021. Within a week of the track’s release, it became critically acclaimed. It was trending all over TikTok. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
On April 1, 2021, Rodrigo released her second single Deja Vu. It debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. This made her the first artist to debut two singles in the top ten on the Billboard charts. Good 4 U was released on May 14, 2021. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
On May 21, 2021, her debut album SOUR was released to the world. It received immediate critical acclaim. The album was all over TikTok and had YouTubers reacting to it. Rodrigo’s style can be described as pop, pop-rock, and teen pop. Her musical influences include Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Fiona Apple. Rodrigo is a self-proclaimed Swiftie.
Saturday Night Live aka SNL had a sketch where some of the male cast were moved to tears by Drivers License. Three months later, she performed Good 4 U for the first time as the musical guest.
Rodrigo is the future of the pop music industry. Her effortless talent as a lyricist is what makes her stand out amongst other pop artists. Her ability to connect with fans through her music is astounding.
The singer-songwriter and actress didn’t really say. She told NYLON that “My life is really great right now. It’s so awesome to do music, and feel seen in that way. I’m going to graduate high school soon, which is going to be fun. I’m so busy. We’ll get a cake or something.” Don’t expect much from her soon but I would expect more music down the road.