Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ becomes 2021’s first streaming sensation
A break-up song by a 17-year-old lamenting on the souring of the exhilaration of being able to finally drive, has become the first streaming sensation of 2021.
Released last Friday (January 8), Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ rapidly reached #1 on Spotify (globally, in Australia and the US), Apple Music and Amazon Music, while the official video has generated 26 million views on YouTube.
All indications are that it will debut on the official charts at #1 in Australia, the US and UK. In the US, she would be the youngest act to land the top spot with her first record.
Rodrigo, born in 2003, began acting in theatre productions at school. She emerged on Disney Channel sitcom Bizaardvark and Disney+’s 2019 show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series where she wrote some of the soundtrack.
Fan speculation fuelled the song’s streaming success, as they questioned what the lyrics could be about. The most likely theory is that the song is about Rodrigo’s co-star Joshua Bassett, and the lines “You’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about” refer to fellow Disney Channel star Sabrina Carpenter, who is thought to be in a relationship with Bassett. On TikTok, ‘Drivers License’ is soundtracking over 300,000 videos.
According to Rodrigo, she set a goal during quarantine last year writing a song a day. “It was super challenging but very gratifying.”
As for ‘Drivers License’, she revealed to Uproxx: “I was going through a heartbreak that was so confusing to me, so multifaceted. 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 the whole purpose of songwriting.”
A Gracie Abrams song inspired her enough to drive around for hours, after which she went home and wrote the song with her producer Dan Nigro, who has previously worked with Lewis Capaldi, Sky Ferreira, Carly Rae Jepsen, Conan Gray and Caroline Polachek.
In the first three days of release, ‘Drivers License’ picked up 21 million streams in the US. On the third day, it was getting more Spotify daily plays (5.7 million) in the US than the #2 to #7 songs combined (by SZA, Ariana Grande, Morgan Wallen, 24kGoldn and Internet Money).
On Spotify, it has hit 50 million streams in its first week. On Tuesday (January 12) it was streamed 17 million times, setting a new one-day record.