Olivia Rodrigo’s Breakout Year, Debut Album, and Everything You Need To Know

Written by: Ines 

Edited by: Jaeho

Visuals by: Somya

Last year, you would have known her as the lead actress in the TV show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, or the star of the Disney Channel original, Bizaardvark. However, in just one year, Olivia Rodrigo has transcended the “Disney Star” status by becoming a household name in the music industry, earning praise alongside the likes of lyrical geniuses such as Taylor Swift.

On January 8, 2021, 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo dropped her official debut single, “drivers license.” The song, first previewed on Rodrigo’s Instagram page, quickly made history by surpassing 5.17 million Spotify streams within the first week, breaking and setting the record for most streams in a day for a non-holiday song. The official “drivers license” music video currently stands at a whopping 213 million views, and this number is only growing. For two whole months, “drivers license” held the title of number one on Billboard Hot 100, and skyrocketed to the top of the music charts in the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Apart from her euphonious singing voice, it was also Rodrigo’s previous relationship with fellow Disney actor, Joshua Bassett, that sparked the interest of listeners all around the world and boosted the song’s intrigue.

Just when she began to move out of the limelight, the singer released two more singles on April 1 and May 14 entitled, “deja vu” and “good 4 u.” The two records enjoyed massive success and were once again highly acclaimed by critics and the rest of the public. Bella, an avid fan of Rodrigo’s music, said that, “Olivia’s music is just so genuine and authentic that her songs are practically impossible to skip!” 

Prior to the release of her third single, Rodrigo announced to the world that she would be dropping her debut album, “Sour,” which officially became available to the public on May 21, 2021. The album consists of the three previous singles, and eight other songs, written and sung by Rodrigo herself. Although the album has its fair share of songs about heartbreak, it also tells stories of friends the artist has lost contact with but continue to inspire her up to this day. Rodrigo also sings about her troubles with the media’s comparisons and expectations, as well as her own insecurities. 

In an interview with Vogue Magazine, Rodrigo stated that, “I always say you put out songs in hopes of making people feel more understood, but it also works in the reverse. All these people have said to me, I feel the exact same way, or this thing happened to me too. It makes me feel a lot less alone.” Rodrigo’s songs have been adored by millions of people across the globe: teenagers and adults, those on social media and off, even people who have never experienced heartbreak, but especially those who have. Through her heartfelt lyrics and catchy tunes, the artist effortlessly weaves into her songs the message that we are not alone in our feelings, struggles and sorrows. 

Now that Rodrigo has finally gotten her drivers license, she’s ready to take on the open road and speed towards the promising future ahead of her.

References

Hess, Liam. “Olivia Rodrigo on Her Breakout Year, Brand-New Album—And What Comes Next.” 

Vogue, 24 May 2021, https://www.vogue.com/article/olivia-rodrigo-interview-sour-album. Accessed May 26, 2021

Mamo, Heran. “Olivia Rodrigo Announces She’s Dropping Her Third Single & Will Perform It on 

‘SNL.’” 10 May 2021, https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/9569906/olivia-rodrigo-announces-good-4-u-single/. Accessed May 26, 2021

“Olivia Rodrigo – drivers license (Official Video).” Youtube, uploaded by Olivia Rodrigo, 8 Jan. 

2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmDBbnmKpqQ. Accessed May 25, 2021

Prance, Sam. “What time does Olivia Rodrigo release Sour? Here’s when the album comes out 

in your country.” Popbuzz, 20 May 2021, https://www.popbuzz.com/music/artists/olivia-rodrigo/news/sour-release-time-when-what-album/#:~:text=Olivia%20Rodrigo’s%20Sour%20will%20be,AM%20in%20your%20country%20tonight. Accessed May 26, 2021

Spanos, Brittany. “Olivia Rodrigo Wonders If You Have ‘Deja Vu’ on Psychedelic New Single.” 

Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2021, https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/olivia-rodrigo-deja-vu-new-single-1148281/. Accessed May 26, 2021

“The Hot 100.” Billboard, 23 Jan. 2021, https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/2021-01-23

Accessed May 25, 2021

“The Hot 100.” Billboard, 13 Mar. 2021, https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/2021-03-13

Accessed May 25, 2021

Unterberger, Andrew. “‘We’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Spotify Reacts to Olivia 

Rodrigo’s Record-Breaking ‘Drivers License.’” Billboard, 14 Jan. 2021, https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9511182/olivia-rodrigo-spotify-hit-success/. Accessed May 25, 2021