Olivia Rodrigo’s Rise To Fame



Olivia Rodrigo singing her first show live at the iHeartRadio Music Festival 2021 on September 18th.

Jeanelle Wu, Photojournalist

Who knows who Olivia Rodrigo is? Well, who doesn’t know who Olivia Rodrigo is? Since early 2021, it is safe to say that those who did not know who she was, probably now know, except for those who never turn on the radio or pay attention to what the majority of the population is talking about. There is no question that Olivia Rodrigo’s music has continuously been all over every radio station, but there is so much more to learn about this incredibly talented pop star, and how she has already made a significant impact at such a young age.

The 18-year-old actress and singer, born on February 20, 2003, has shown promise from the start, singing since the age of 4 and pursuing her acting career at the age of 12 (imbd.com). Similar to many, Olivia Rodrigo had to work strenuously to get to where she is now, and it is shocking to imagine how not too long ago, she only started with experience being in her school plays before going professional. Olivia Rodrigo’s fame started with acting; many will agree that this is due to her role in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark, where she starred as Paige Olvera in 2016 (fscsouthern.com). 

Following this success, Olivia Rodrigo was cast to play Nini Salazar-Roberts in the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in 2019, allowing her fanbase to grow as people became exposed to, not only her acting but singing talent as well (fscsouthern.com). Through this series, she had the opportunity to write music for the show, leading to the publishing of her first song “All I Want”, which quickly received millions of streams after its release. 

But what has recently caused the evident, exponential increase in Olivia Rodrigo fans, and what has she done to supposedly become one of the biggest artists of 2021? All arrows point to her new music that has undoubtedly shown to be a hit. On January 8, 2021, she released her debut single “Driver’s License”, which instantly rose to number 1 on the Billboard chart, breaking records (fscsouthern.com). She continued with the release of two more songs “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U” before dropping her first album, Sour, on May 21, 2021, which have all had importance in the music industry.

Having written her entire album is already a major accomplishment, but saying that the album had great effects would be an understatement when it is more like a monumental stepping stone in music history. So far, Olivia Rodrigo has won the Social Star Award at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, Best New Artist at the VMAs, and Song of the Year and Push Performance of the Year for her song “Driver’s License” at the VMAs (imdb.com). Her music has been so successful that the number of records that she has broken is too extensive to list out. However, some of the major records worth mentioning include the most Spotify streams in a single day for a non-holiday song, most streams in one week, and fastest to 100 million streams in eight days, which she achieved with just the release of “Driver’s License” (nickmanic.medium.com). Also, Olivia Rodrigo is the first artist ever to have three singles, in this case, “Driver’s License”, “Deja Vu”, and “Good 4 U”, to all hit the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart (MSN News). 

In addition to these physical awards, achievements, and recognitions, Olivia Rodrigo has impacted people through her music on a deeper level. The fact that Olivia Rodrigo’s music has touched and positively affected so many people, in such a short period of time, is an impact within itself and it shows how music can affect people. In the music industry, Olivia Rodrigo represents young girls throughout the world, showing them that dreams will lead to endless possibilities. She is now seen as an inspiration to many people of different ages, including being someone teenagers can relate to and someone younger kids look up to. 

In comparison to other artists, Olivia Rodrigo stands out, not only because she is so talented at such a young age, but also because her music accurately depicts the struggles of teenagers, relates to many teens, and has depth and meaning behind it. Olivia Rodrigo’s music, fame, and relatability have also been brought to YLHS and have had an effect on the students. Megan Chou (11) is one of many proud Olivia Rodrigo fans, and she loves her music “because she is true to herself and vulnerable to her audience and shares things that are real and unique.” Olivia Rodrigo’s songs must be special, and Megan believes a part of what makes them special is how “her songs are inspired by real-life experiences that inspire her to write about it and express how she feels.”

She is true to herself and vulnerable to her audience and shares things that are real and unique”

— Megan Chou

Music has become a part of our everyday lives, and the talk of the music industry has been centered around Olivia Rodrigo ever since her instant gain of fame she received from “Driver’s License.” Not only is the number of things she achieved at just 18-years-old impressive, it is also inspiring and motivational. Wherever Olivia Rodrigo chooses to take her music next will be up to her, but she has definitely set up a strong foundation for herself and has the support of millions in her future endeavors.

What is your favorite song from Olivia Rodrigo's album "Sour"?


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