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Olivia Rodrigo's "Driver's License"

By Danica Caratao

If you haven’t been living under a rock these past few months, it’s likely that you’ve heard of the hit new single taking social media and the Billboard charts by storm - Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo. The 17 year-old Disney star’s debut single had already topped the global Billboard chart within days of its release on January 8th, and remained at the #1 position for a remarkable number of weeks after its initial release. The song’s meteoric rise was definitely unprecedented, especially from such a young artist. Olivia herself said in an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music that she “didn’t expect it to chart,” and “the fact that it’s currently #1 in the world is absolutely mindblowing.”

But who is Olivia Rodrigo, and what instilled the up and coming singer-songwriter’s rapid rise to fame? The beginning artist was born in Temecula, California on February 20, 2003, making her a contemporary of BR’s current grade 12s, and got her start in singing and acting from a young age, debuting her acting career in 2015. She signed with Geffen Records earlier this year and co-wrote her groundbreaking debut song alongside Dan Nigro.

Rodrigo then became the youngest singer in history to have the number 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100, beating out Billie Eilish’s 2019 hit, “Bad Guy”. The emotional and moving piano ballad portrays the heartbreak of a failed past relationship in the style of an old Taylor Swift single. Swift seems to be a significant musical influence upon Rodrigo, of whom Rodrigo says she is “the biggest fan,” and has looked up to her for as long as she could remember. As mentioned in the same Apple Music interview, she says that upon waking up to an Instagram comment from Taylor Swift herself, she “just about died.”

Within the first week of its release, the single had broken Spotify’s record for most streams in a week, totalling to more than 80 million, surpassing Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings.” The song’s immense popularity, success and critical acclaim can be partly given to TikTok, a social media platform used by many young adolescents. TikTok has similarly had a hand in the newfound popularity of many songs and artists, making the careers of artists like Doja Cat. For instance, TikToker Haley Sharpe made a viral dance to Doja Cat’s Say So, helping it gain a considerable amount of recognition.

Rodrigo’s hit became used as a common TikTok sound in various trends, eventually culminating with over 1.8 million videos using the audio. Olivia herself advertised the new song on the app, receiving 9.1 million likes, and more than 45 million views on the single TikTok alone. The music video, premiering alongside the song, racked up more than 120 million views, and it can be watched here : https://youtu.be/ZmDBbnmKpqQ

Her music career has just begun, and Olivia Rodrigo has proved herself to be a promising up and coming artist - we hope to see more from her in the future!

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