In January 2021, ‘drivers license’ beat the record for daily views of a song in the history of Spotify. Its author, Olivia Rodrigo, is 18 years old. He released a first album (‘Sour’) five months later and it became, once again, the most listened to debut on the platform. Therefore, many have not been surprised that ‘drivers license’ is now the song most listened to on the planet.
If the name Olivia Rodrigo doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry: you are not alone. In reality, this song that has not stopped smashing global records hides something as old as the drama of a teenage breakup. To explain its success, it is necessary to immerse a little more in its history … and in a forge of virality called TikTok.
Just two months ago, the president of the United States staged an act at the White House to promote vaccination among young people. One of his guests was this 18-year-old actress, singer and songwriter. His fame is due, above all, to playing one of the main characters of ‘High School Musical: the musical: the series’. It is a Disney + original production Based on the ‘High School Musical’ movie saga. The series catapulted Rodrigo and is a tribute to those musicals in which a young Zac Efron became the adolescent icon of the early 2000s.
If all this does not tell you anything, keep a piece of information: with 18 years, Olivia Rodrigo embodied the last batch of Disney girls, as were other successful singers who may be familiar to her: Demi Lovato, Selena Gómez, Miley Cyrus, Zendaya … When the recordings of ‘High School Musical: the series’ finished, the actress focused on her musical career . ‘Drivers license’ was her first ‘single’, which she previewed on TikTok for some followers who soon took her to the list of world trends.
For two months, ‘drivers license’ held the top spot on the Billboard chart. The instrumentation is simple and keeps the essences of an intrahistory: musical catharsis of a teenage breakup. Barely accompanied by a few static chords on the piano, Olivia Rodrigo sings on the floor of her room. “It’s interesting, when your heart breaks at 16 or 17 years old. You still don’t have the perspective that life goes on and that you are going to meet other people, that this has not been the only happy experience you are going to have in your life. “said Rodrigo in an interview for ‘The Guardian’.
The song’s viral success is based on in a speculation of his fans. “When I created ‘drivers license’, I was going through a breakup that was very confusing for me, so multifaceted … There is nothing like sitting at the piano in my room and writing a really sad song,” according to collects ‘Genius’ in some statements. Before the song was released, Olivia Rodrigo was romantically involved with her cast partner on the ‘High School Musical’ series, Joshua Bassett, who later began dating another actress and singer: Sabrina Carpenter.
His fans speculated that the song was dedicated to Bassett and his new partner. And indulged in adolescent drama, they based the theory in the lyrics of the song. In one verse a “brunette girl” is mentioned who, according to the singer herself and her producer, was blonde in the original lyrics. Blonde, like Sabrina Carpenter. To the fantasy of the love triangle contributed ‘Skin’, a song with which Carpenter responded to Olivia Rodrigo. “Maybe you didn’t mean it. Maybe ‘blonde’ was the only rhyme.”
@ diego.arciga Very good song the truth hahahaha #for you #fyp #driverslicense #oliviarodrigo ♬ original sound – Diego
The ‘tiktoker’ craze was unleashed and ‘drivers license’ became the soundtrack of the supposed teen melodrama, Born on Disney and raised on TikTok. Rodrigo’s song was the main ingredient of ‘challenges’ and of a whole meta narrative made of video clips, hidden messages in pop lyrics and publications on social networks.
Taylor Swift’s heiress?
On the bridge of the song, Olivia Rodrigo includes in the lyrics a word that breaks with her role as a new Disney girl. “But I still fucking love you, babe ‘ (“But I still love you, dammit”). For some, the ‘F word’ in the young woman’s mouth embodies the rebellion of an adolescent pop icon who seeks to be something else. That is one of the definitions that could be given to the last steps of the trajectory of Taylor Swift.
The singer has publicly sponsored Olivia Rodrigo after her first ‘single’ and even gave her a ring model that she was wearing during the recording of ‘Red’, her best-selling album of 2012 that she has re-recorded in 2021. Swift decided to return to producing her first five albums to regain the copyright of their songs. The American businessman Scooter Braun, whom he pointed out for subjecting her to “incessant and manipulative harassment”, bought the music label with which Swift released six albums. And it was done so with the rights to his first works.
“I’m 17 years old. What do you want me to write about? The income tax return?”
Thus, Taylor Swift has starred in the re-recording of her albums a fight of David and Goliat for her fans: a singer who changes the rules of the recording industry. Olivia Rodrigo has never hidden her adoration for Swift, the other great heartbreak pop diva. There are many who recognize the singer’s influences in her success.
An alleged love triangle and a teenage viral phenomenon explain the success of Olivia Rodrigo, the author of the song most listened to on the planet in 2021. The controversy over her relationship with Bassett was settled by her, in an interview for ‘The Guardian’: “I’m 17 years old. What do you want me to write about? From the income statement? “
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You have no idea who Olivia Rodrigo is, the most listened to singer in the world