~You said forever, now I drive alone past your street~
I have absolutely no idea how many times I played "Drivers License" on Spotify (on my first listen, I played it on loop for TWO WHOLE HOURS), but what I'm sure of is that I'm one of the millions of listeners who helped singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo break records on the streaming platform. #noshame
When Olivia's debut single dropped on January 8, 2021 (a mere two weeks ago!), I saw it all over my feed and posted by almost every Gen Z person I follow on Instagram. You see, as an ~aging~ millennial, I'm kinda wary of crossing over to Gen Z territory when it comes to music, but with this particular song, all the attention it was getting made me curious. And when I first heard the song's opening chords followed by Olivia's achingly beautiful raw vocals, I knew it was something special. And so did the rest of the world.
Here are some fast facts you need to know about Olivia Rodrigo, the girl behind "Drivers License."
Olivia Rodrigo was born on February 20, 2003!
The 17-year-old rising star was born in Temecula, California, USA. Fun fact: Olivia's middle name is Isabel (but she spelled it as Isabelle until she was 15, lol).
She is Filipino-American!
Olivia's father is Filipino while her mother is of German and Irish descent. Olivia spoke about her Filipino heritage on the Disney Channel and revealed that her great-grandfather immigrated to the States when he was only a teen and that her favorite Filipino food is lumpia!
"On my dad's side of the family, my Filipino heritage comes from my great-grandfather. He came on a boat from the Philippines when he was just a teenager. Can you imagine moving to a whole new country all by yourself? Some traditions that have carried over to my generation are we actually make Filipino food. My great-grandpa had a garden and he also was a really good cook, so he'd make lumpia. They're kind of like Filipino egg rolls and really yummy! I definitely have a lot of traits that I think I inherited from my family members. My parents, they taught me how to be kind, and respectful, and to always do the right thing. I'm Olivia Rodrigo. I'm a Filipino. I'm a lumpia fan. I'm a daughter and a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter. I'm an American. I'm an Asian Pacific Islander."
She is a HUGE Taylor Swift fan.
Olivia grew up listening to Taylor Swift and this inspired her to become a singer-songwriter as well! Although they haven't met in person, Taylor did comment on Olivia's Instagram when "Drivers License" sat right below Taylor's two new Evermore singles on the US iTunes chart.
Olivia spoke more about her love for Taylor in an interview with Apple Music: "I'm just the biggest Swiftie in the whole world. So I tweet about her all the time and just post stuff about her—just, like, organically 'cause that's how I'm feeling as a 17-year-old girl."
Olivia also looks up to Lorde and Gracie Abrams, among many other singer-songwriters!
Yup, Olivia writes her own songs.
Olivia has been writing ever since she was a kid and when the pandemic hit in 2020, she challenged herself to write one song every day. Wow. In a YouTube live video, she shared her songwriting process while in quarantine: "I succeeded longer than I thought I would have. I think I went three or four months writing a song every day and that was such a great exercise for me. And it was so much fun and…I like came up with a lot of things are really stretched my songwriting muscles. So that was awesome, but I did give it up. But I still write all the time! The thing is, I write all the time but it's not always good all the time. Sometimes I feel like songwriting is a numbers game."
She's a Disney kid!
Olivia is also an actress and has starred in two Disney shows, the Disney Channel's Bizaardvark (2016 to 2019) and Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (2019 to present). Olivia, who's currently filming Season 2 of HSMTMTS in Salt Lake City, actually got to flex her writing skills on the show for the song "All I Want." Watch her dissect the lyrics and meaning of the song on Genius below:
Twilight is her favorite movie.
Olivia loves Twilight, and at 17, doesn't really care anymore about what people will say about it, LOL. She spoke more about the film on her YouTube live and what she loves most about it: "My favorite Twilight movie is the first one. The soundtrack to every Twilight movie is so good but the soundtrack to the first one is especially good. And there's something about the way that they shot it, like the cinematography is different and it looks kinda filmy and the red truck is all cool…But I love Twilight. And everyone always asks me what my favorite movie is, and I used to like lie and be like, Chinatown or some Quentin Tarantino or more refined movie. But I've given that up. And when somebody asks me what my favorite movie is, I'd say Twilight. And sometimes people would be like, 'That's weird.' And I'm like, 'You're weird.'"
Olivia wrote "Drivers License" right after driving.
In her interview with Apple Music, Olivia shared that the inspiration behind her song's lyrics was ~true to life~. Olivia was actually driving around her neighborhood and crying in the car, and this experience inspired her to write "Drivers License" when she got home: "I wrote the bulk of the song literally crying in my living room. And I definitely had that feel to it. I was driving around my neighborhood actually listening to really sad songs and crying in the car. And I got home and I was like, 'Maybe I'll write a song about this, like crying in the car.' And I just sat down in [front] of my piano and plucked out some chords that I liked and it kind of happened that way. It was really natural and organic—very much me writing in the depth of my emotion. And I think that's apparent in this song which is super cool."
Although it was never confirmed, rumor has it that the song is about her HSMTMTS co-actor Joshua Bassett. We have an article explaining the whole thing, so read it here.
She's only the fourth artist born in the 2000s with a Billboard Hot 100.
Yup, Olivia's debut single landed on the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. But what makes this even more remarkable is that she's only one of four artists born in the 2000s to score a Hot 100 No. 1. The other three are Jawsh 685, Billie Eilish, and 24kGold.
She plays the guitar and piano.
Olivia has posted tons of videos of her ~jamming sessions~ on Instagram over the years. She plays both the guitar and piano when she posts snippets of performance vids, which are a mix of covers and original songs!
She has one ~public~ ex-boyfriend.
Olivia and her Bizaardvark co-star Ethan Wacker went public with their relationship in 2019. Although they broke up later that year, they still remain good friends. And if you're wondering if Ethan has anything to do with "Drivers License", nope, it's not about him 'cause he denied the whole thing by dropping this comment on TikTok: "Nope. I treated her well."
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