On January 8th 2021, a singer named Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single “Drivers License” and since then, the internet has gone absolutely mad for it.
Now, let’s get one thing clear, even though this is her debut single, Olivia wasn’t a 'nobody' before this release. Before Drivers License, Olivia was an accomplished actress who was best known for her roles on popular Disney shows, including High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Thanks to these rolls, Olivia already had a loyal fan base which was made up of young tweens - known for being the most powerful demographic in the music industry. That being said, it's not uncommon for child star and actors to branch out into music, but few have had the same impact as Olivia.
As well as having a loyal fan base of her own, Olivia has also been able to tap into arguably the most powerful “fandom” in the music market known as the “Swifties” (Taylor Swift stans). Olivia has been very vocal about her admiration for fellow artist Taylor Swift and has said that she is inspired by her music and songwriting - this has not gone unnoticed.
In fact, Olivia posted on Instagram being overjoyed about the fact her song was just below Taylor saying “next to taylor on the us i tunes chart i’m in a puddle of tears," . Taylor then commenting herself; "I say that's my baby and I'm really proud." This official co-sign by Taylor would have defiantly put a lot more eyes (and streams) on her which would help the success of the song.
Now, let’s give a quick rundown on the success that has been achieved with this song.
In just one day, Drivers Licence reached 3 million views on YouTube and was at number 1 on the US ITunes chart. She is only the 12th female artist ever to reach number 1 on the Apple Music US chart. Furthermore, it makes her the 2nd female artist to accomplish this who was born this century alongside Billie Eilish. Her single joins “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B as the only debut single by a female artist to go number 1 on US Apple Music, and also makes her the youngest artist to achieve this and the first to simultaneously rank at number 1 on the US ITunes and US Apple Music Chart this year. That is a lot to achieve in under a week.
The song itself has received critical acclaim upon release and it’s easy to see why. The song is a perfectly crafted, well produced pop gem that allows Olivia’s vocals to shine throughout. The songwriting should also be praised as it taps into the minds of nearly every young teen who has been in a relationship, while also allowing the generation above to connect with the song as it gives them a nostalgic feeling. The power of the lyrics allow this song to be relatable to nearly every demographic and has no limit to its potential reach, which is what great pop songs do.
Now, all of this sounds fantastic, which it is of course. However, it now does beg the question; What Next? This crazy amount of success is a lot for any artist, especially a new artist and particularly an artist who is just 17 years old. With great amounts of success comes a great deal of pressure, not just from the artist themselves, but also from the fans and the labels. With all eyes on Olivia at the moment, one wrong move can be one wrong move too many. If her follow up to “Drivers License” isn’t received well, people may believe she is just a one hit wonder, or she may put so much pressure on herself that she overthinks her future releases and songs might begin to sound forced and contrived.
Let’s hope that people let Olivia have time to breathe and process everything that is going on at the moment, rather than rushing out her next few releases as that could be detrimental to her career. Right now only time will tell if Olivia is an artist with long lasting staying power like her inspiration Taylor Swift, but what do you think of the song? Is it overhyped or not?
by Jack Shephard