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At age 17 Olivia Rodrigo has gone viral.

2021’s Viral Star

TikTok and Spotify have been overwhelmed by the popularity with the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star’s record-breaking debut single, ‘Drivers License.’

Within a day of its release, ‘Drivers License’ set the Spotify record for most streams in a single day.

The drama-fuelled pop song was streamed more than 17 million times.

In just under two weeks, the song has been streamed 150 million times.

‘Drivers License’ has also debuted at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Already, the drama-fuelled single has been predicted to be the biggest song of 2021.

The cause of this unprecedented interest?

It’s a Breakup Song

‘Drivers License’ is a breakup song.

It deals with a love triangle between Rodrigo and former High School Musical: The Musical: The Series costar, Joshua Bassett.

Olivia was previously rumoured to have dated Bassett.

Fans suspect the pair broke up in 2020.

‘Drivers License’ reveals why.

Bassett is now in an alleged relationship with fellow actor, Sabrina Carpenter.

Fans suspect Carpenter fits the description as the “blonde girl” who is “older” than Rodrigo.

Olvia Rodrigo Press Shot 2020
Olivia Rodrigo poses for a publicity photo.

Inspired by Taylor Swift

Rodrigo’s confessional style of songwriting follows in the tradition of Taylor Swift.

Swift has departed from her drama-filled diaristic lyrics on recent albums.

The public’s endless appetite for drama, however, remains constant.

In hindsight, it seems obvious another singer-songwriter would claim Swift’s former mantle.

Far from threatened, Taylor Swift has expressed her approval of Olivia Rodrigo’s work.

The affection is mutual.

Taylor Swift is my songwriting idol,” Rodrigo recently shared with NME.

I wouldn’t be half of the woman and a songwriter I am today without her.”

Artist as far-ranging as Cardi B and Niall Horan have also expressed their support for Rodrigo’s song.

From TikTok to Pop

‘Drivers Licence’ has set the stage for Rodrigo’s crossover from acting into the world of pop.

As an actress and singer-songwriter, she is a double threat.

Her strong acting, songwriting and vocal abilities shined in the 2019 series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

Rodrigo’s stand-out 2019 promotional single ‘All I Want‘ was the first indication of her pop potential.

Released in November, it went viral on TikTok.

It was a widely used sound for the video-sharing platform.

Promoting ‘Drivers License’ on TikTok was a smart approach to digital marketing.

TikTok influencers like Dixie D’Amelio have already attempted pop crossovers.

Rodrigo, however, seems to possess genuine staying power.

Olvia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo poses for an Instagram photo.

Is Olivia Rodrigo the Next Selena Gomez?

It is difficult not to draw comparisons to Selena Gomez.

Like Rodrigo, Gomez also began her career on a Disney TV series.

Similarly, a highly publicised 2014 breakup with then-boyfriend, Justin Bieber boosted Gomez’ musical career to superstar status.

Selena Gomez in 2019.
Selena Gomez poses Sephora promo shoot.

Jumping On The Hype

Rodrigo’s co-star jumps on the love triangle trend to release his song. 

Alleged former boyfriend, Joshua Bassett has also released a new single titled, ‘Lie Lie Lie‘.

It arrived just a week after ‘Drivers License’ was released.

The timing could not be better.

Is this a coincidence or an incredible marketing ploy?

The Road Ahead

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, few new pop acts entered the musical arena in 2020.

With touring and festival appearances no longer an option, many struggled to capture the attention of a mass audience.

Many of pop’s biggest names have also withheld new material due to the disruption caused by the virus.

This has created opportunities for others.

Olivia Rodrigo is one example.

The 17-year-old star has been able to leverage her fame as an actor and influencer status to shine a light on her formidable musical talent.

With pop music presently so driven by drama, Rodrigo has delivered a near-perfect debut.

Rodrigo is already one of 2021’s most sensational new talents.

If her next singles can match the intensity of ‘Drivers Licence’, she may well be on the way to becoming one of the decade’s biggest stars.


Olivia Rodrigo 'Drivers Licence'
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The Good

New talent

Genuine drama

Thumbs up from Taylor Swift

The Bad

Can she top it?

Makes you want to break up

Not letting go

Audrey Songvilay

Contributing Writer

Audrey is a contributing writer at The Glitter and Gold.

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The Glitter and Gold
The Glitter and Gold is a digital magazine and record store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
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