Here’s What Made Disney Star Olivia Rodrigo A Gen-Z Pop Icon For The Ages

As a 26-year-old, who has been single for a questionable amount of time and has a clean history of amicable breakups, Driver’s Licence by Olivia Rodrigo has turned me into an angsty teenager. Of course, I play it while driving my car and looking outside the window pretending to be on a deserted highway in a music video, making up hurtful scenarios in my head about a boy that doesn’t exist.


I don’t know about hot girl summer, but Olivia has made sure we have a sad girl summer with her recently launched album Sour. Because a single breakup track wasn’t enough, she served us 11. Her music connects with every girl’s inner girl that is often locked inside a hard Billie-Eilish-loving exterior. Olivia’s songs will make for the perfect Sunday afternoon companion when you want to be left alone. The lyrics are simple, hit close to home, and her husky melodious voice makes it all very convincing.


For the geriatric millennials and boomers that are still wondering who Olivia Rodrigo is, she’s a Disney-star-turned-overnight-pop-sensation. In 2019, Olivia starred in the Disney+ High School Musical spin-off, playing the modern-day Gabriela, where people saw her musical side for the first time. But it was in January 2021, when she released her first solo Driver’s Licence (my lonely car jam), that officially broke all the records and shot her status up the stardom wall. On Spotify, it recorded most single-day streams for a non-holiday song before becoming the fastest song to reach 100m in its history. It became an instant chart-topper in the UK and the US, making the 18-year-old Rodrigo a phenomenon.


What accelerated the song’s popularity were fan theories about its love triangle reference to her rumoured ex and former Disney HSM co-star Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter (the blonde girl reference in the song). Those who thought it was just a sleeper hit were shocked at the response to her entire album when it released in May 20201. I bet you can’t scroll down your reels without humming to De Ja Vu and Good 4 U. With two No. 1’s already on the Billboard chart this early in her career, Olivia Rodrigo is rightfully the Taylor Swift of Gen-Z

Olivia Rodrigo Olivia Rodrigo

Besides being a complete vocal goddess, Olivia is also a sustainability advocate. If you follow her Instagram feed closely, you’ll spot her wearing cool thrift and vintage pieces with regular shoutouts for small-scale labels. Her aesthetic has a hint of Y2k with a dash of gotch-chic (skater dress with leather loves: check). While she’s yet to have her red carpet fashion glow-up, my bet is on the 2022 Grammy’s.


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I don’t know about you, but I am waiting for Olivia Rodrigo to make another breakup album about my heartbreak before it happens as a precautionary measure. A concert where girls can collectively cry at? Take my money already!


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