Olivia Rodrigo: Rising to Stardom


Graphic by Wendy Caldera

‘DRIVERS LICENSE’ BECOMES A HIT – People from all around the world are streaming this heartbreak song. “Didn’t really expect it to chart or do anything. I was just so happy with it and so the fact that it’s number one in the world right now is absolutely mind-blowing,” said Olivia Rodrigo.

Wendy Caldera, Social Media Editor

At just 17-years-old, Olivia Rodrigo is breaking records with her debut single Drivers License. As of today, the song currently has over 102 million views on Youtube and over 315 million streams on Spotify with its release on January 7.

Spotify announced on Twitter that the song set a record on January 11 for most streams in a day for a non-holiday song. The following day, the song broke its own record. As of the end of the week, on January 14, Drivers License holds the record for the most-streamed song in a week on Spotify. 

Amazon Music tweeted on January 14, “‘Drivers License’ broke the record for the most requested song ever in one day on Alexa globally + the biggest first week streaming debut ever globally on Amazon Music.” Rodrigo has become the 12th female artist to ever reach #1 on the Apple Music U.S. Chart alongside artists like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, and Taylor Swift. She has become the first Asian-American woman to reach #1 on the Apple Music Charts and U.S. iTunes.

Billboard released the Hot 100 and Global 200 charts on January 19 with Drivers License taking the number one spot. The single is gold certified by RIAA Awards as of January 20. In just 45 minutes since the release of her song, she sold out her merch on shop.oliviarodrigo.com. More of her accomplishments and records can be seen on Instagram via the handle @oliviarodrigopress.

The song has now reached worldwide praise and students at MACES are feeling Olivia’s pain. “At first [I was] shocked at the lyrics especially because of the “drama” and everyone’s theories about the song, but as I started listening to it more, it was emotional and I felt her pain through how Olivia sang the song,” said Rebecca Romero, a senior.

Not only are Rodrigo’s fans loving the song, but so are celebrities. Kylie Jenner, Noah Centineo, Charli D’Amelio, Lucy Hale, Hailey Bieber, the Jonas Brothers, and many more have all posted her song on their stories. “The other day Indy Yelich, who is Lorde’s sister, DM’d me and she’s like me and my sister love your song and I am such a big Lorde fan so that was also surreal,” Rodrigo said in an interview.

Singer, Halsey, went live on Instagram on January 16 and talked about how she loves the song. “Obviously I love that Olivia Rodrigo song. It’s so so so good. I’m so proud of her. She’s amazing and I love seeing honest, authentic songwriting coming from young women. It’s the coolest thing in the world,” the artist said. Days later, Rodrigo posted on her story the cake that Halsey sent her as a way of congratulating her on all her recent success.

Have you listened to "Drivers License"?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

In an interview with The Official Big Top 40, Rodrigo said, “I actually was the hugest One Direction fan when I was younger. This is sort of embarrassing, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I used to write One Direction fan fiction when I was in middle school.” Niall Horan, a former member of One Direction, reached out to her and is currently giving her advice on the craziness that comes with the music industry. 

However, the celebrity reaction that surprised Rodrigo the most was when her idol, Taylor Swift, commented “I say that’s my baby and I’m really proud” on Rodrigo’s post. She could not contain her excitement as she responded to Swift with “crying like a baby! thank you for everything that you do!!!!!” 

When asked which celebrity she was most starstruck about Rodrigo was quick to answer with, “Taylor, obviously. She commented on my Instagram post and it was like it made a big splash. It was insane. I am the biggest Swiftie in the whole world and the fact that she did that was just so insane. That truly just made my life. I was her biggest fan.” As a response, Rodrigo posted a TikTok with a screenshot of Swift’s comment with the audio “this is definitely the highlight of my senior year.” 

The song gained popularity as many fans speculate that this song was written for Joshua Bassett, her co-star in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. “The song lets us into a more depth version of what happened with Olivia and Joshua Bassett’s relationship which many people, including myself, are invested in,” said Isamar Lara, a junior. Although it was never confirmed by either Rodrigo or Bassett, many fans believe they dated. The two portray a couple in the series and even wrote the song Just For A Moment together. 

Because of their age difference, Bassett had told Rodrigo that he would wait for her when she turned 18. Shortly after their “split,” he was seen hanging out with singer, Sabrina Carpenter, frequently. They even did a couple’s costume for Halloween, dressing up as Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Samantha Gomez, a junior, agrees with the fan theory as she said, “It’s pretty sad because if you aren’t going to wait for someone, then don’t tell them that you are and Sabrina was Josh’s celebrity crush.” Neither have confirmed that they are in a relationship, but fans believe they have been hanging out together because they were working on We Both Know, an unreleased song, that will debut in Joshua’s EP. 

When breaking down the lyrics, there are many references that can be associated with both Bassett and Carpenter. In an Instagram post on July 23, 2020, Rodrigo gave fans a teaser of the, at the time, unfinished song. In the post, she sings “and you’re probably with that brunette girl,” but in the released song, the lyrics are “and you’re probably with that blonde girl.” Sabrina Carpenter is known to be a blonde, which is why many fans believe she’s the girl discussed in the song. Another lyric that references back to Sabrina is “she’s so much older than me.” Rodrigo is 17, while Carpenter is 21, making the age difference four years apart. 

And so, he took me in his car, and we like drove around the In-N-Out parking lot, and that was my first time driving

— Olivia Rodrigo

The song begins with “I got my drivers license last week. Just like we always talked about.” In a video posted to Rodrigo’s story, she admitted she will always remember her first time driving which was with Joshua. “We went to In-N-Out, and I couldn’t drive actually. I was 16, but like I didn’t have my permit. And so, he took me in his car, and we like drove around the In-N-Out parking lot, and that was my first time driving,” she said. Fans speculate that Rodrigo and Bassett may not be on good terms because she had been reposting her co-stars and friend’s stories congratulating her on the song. The co-star’s story she did not repost was none other than Joshua Bassett.

Other speculations were that the song was written about her ex, Ethan Wacker, which is also her only public relationship. However, Wacker was quick to shut down this rumor by commenting “Nope. I treated her well” on @trrasha TikTok where she discussed the possibility. Rodrigo and Wacker met when they both co-starred on the Disney Channel show “Bizaardvark” which first aired in 2016.

Rodrigo, Bassett, and Carpenter have not discussed the situation or denied any rumors. Regardless of who the song is written about, what’s clear is that this is only the beginning of her career. 

Go stream Drivers License available on all platforms.