From the look of things, 2021 is shaping up to be a phenomenal year for 17-year-old American actress and singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo and we’re excited to see what else she has in store for us.
Debuting at #1 on Billboard’s latest Hot 100 chart. Amassing over 49 million views on her music video since it premiered less than two weeks ago. And most astonishingly, going from writing One Direction fan fiction to being on texting terms with Niall Horan himself (but more on that later.)
Till then, read on as we round up five things you should know about her. (Here’s a nugget: This doe-eyed wonder is of Filipino, German and Irish descent!)
Her hit song sheds light on teenage heartbreak
First of all, let’s talk about her record-breaking single, Drivers License. The power ballad was co-written by Rodrigo, where she “mourns a lost love after getting the titular license,” according to Billboard. The singer revealed that she was “so terrified” to release the single due to the things that she has said in the four-minute track.
However, now that she’s seen how millions are responding positively to her hit single, Olivia is thankful to be able to share her vulnerable and raw experience with listeners from all over the world: “To see it do really well — to have this really painful moment in my life, and turn it into something beautiful that can maybe help people through a tough time that they’re having, like I was having a tough time — it’s just so empowering."
She’s a Disney girl
Less than two years ago, Olivia was part of the main cast of Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She played the role of Nini Salazar-Roberts, a musical theatre enthusiast, who was cast as Gabriella Montez. Prior to this, in 2016, Olivia took on the role of a 12-year-old named Paige Olvera for the American comedy television series titled Bizaardvark, which lasted for three seasons.
The Disney series stars two teenage best friends who post funny songs and comedic videos on the Internet. In the same year, Olivia and her former Bizaardvark co-star Madison Hu lent their vocals to the song Let it Glow as well, which was featured in Disney’s Frozen spin-off franchise, Frozen: Northern Lights.
She’s a massive fan of Taylor Swift and Lorde
The singer revealed that she is “obsessed with female singer-songwriters”, such as Lorde, Halsey and Phoebe Bridgers, in an interview with Schön Magazine. However, she cites Taylor Swift as her all-time idol because she’s inspired by the way the Pennsylvania-born artiste “tells stories and paints pictures through her songs.” Check out this hilarious video of Olivia after she realises that Queen TayTay herself commented on her post, which showed both of their songs appearing on the same iTunes chart.
She’s big on sustainability
Olivia also shared that when she was younger, her favourite thing was to “go to the mall and buy clothes that were way too cheap,” where she didn’t give much thought about the negative impact of her actions on the planet. However, after catching the documentary The True Cost on Netflix, the singer has since tried to keep her clothing consumption as sustainable as she can. As for her favourite sustainable brands, she’s a fan of Reformation and Lisa Says Gah.
She’s on texting terms with Niall Horan
Apart from being a Swiftie, Olivia also confessed in an exclusive interview with Capital FM that she used to be a huge ‘Directioner’ and even wrote fan fiction featuring the quintet when she was in middle school. Fast forward to today, 1D member Niall Horan himself posted her hit song on Instagram and shared that he was a fan of hers as well.
To her amazement, she’s currently also on texting terms with Niall, sharing, “The fact that he reached out to me is amazing, we've actually been texting and he's been giving me advice about the craziness of the music industry."
Which other rising female artistes are on your current playlist?
(Cover photos from: Universal Music Malaysia)
Have you heard? BLACKPINK’s Jennie has started her very own YouTube channel. Learn more here.