Olivia Rodrigo is shaping up to be one of the breakout stars of 2021. The 17-year-old, who appeared on Disney TV shows Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, isn’t your typical teen pop star. For starters, she writes her own songs and opts for alt-leaning, piano-driven anthems. Take “Drivers License.” Olivia’s debut single (the talented teen has released soundtrack songs in the past) is a gut-wrenching breakup ballad. “I got my driver’s license last week, just like we always talked about,” she begins. “But today I drove through the suburbs, crying ’cause you weren’t around.”
The Next Big Thing really pours her heart into the chorus. “And I know we weren’t perfect, but I’ve never felt this way for no one,” Olivia belts over Dan Nigro’s sweeping production. “And I just can’t imagine how you could be so okay now that I’m gone.” It’s an extremely promising debut with huge commercial prospects. “Drivers License” immediately cracked the top five on iTunes and is currently top 10 on Apple Music. What inspired the song? “When I came up with ‘drivers license,’ I was going through a heartbreak that was so confusing to me, so multifaceted,” she reveals.
“Putting all those feelings into a song made everything seem so much simpler and clearer — and at the end of the day, I think that’s really the whole purpose of songwriting,” Olivia adds. “There’s nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song. It’s truly my favorite thing in the world.” Watch the stunning visual, which was directed by Matthew Dillon Cohen, below.