Olivia Rodrigo Embraces Ethnicity and Sings About Ex in Drivers Licence

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Olivia Rodrigo is one of 2021’s most promising young stars with her top-charting, #1 debut single “Drivers License”.

Most people know her song as one of the viral sounds on TikTok, but not many know much about who the multiethnic actress is and the story she has to tell.

Embracing Her Ethnicity

The American singer, who celebrated her 18th birthday on February 20, 2021, has been very open about her ethnicity and the efforts that she and her family take in order to preserve her heritage’s traditions and culture despite growing up in Temecula, California.

She stays true to her Filipina heritage through cooking and food and even states her favorite Filipino dish is Lumpia!

13-year-old actress-singer Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards13-year-old actress-singer Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on April 30, 2016, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Brian To / WENN)

Though her ethnicity does not define her as an artist, Rodrigo has emphasized how important and meaningful her family’s heritage is to her.

The eighteen-year-old is one of the few Filipino stars who have broken into American TV as a household name like celebrities such as Shay Mitchel from Pretty Little Liars, Manny Jacinto from The Good Place, and Nico Santos from Superstore.

“My heritage is a part of who I am,” she said about her ethnicity in a video for Disney Channel’s YouTube account in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2017.

“I’m part Filipina on my dad’s side of the family. My Filipino heritage comes from my great-grandfather. He came on a boat from the Philippines when he was just a teenager. Can you imagine moving to a whole new country all by yourself?”

Olivia Isabel Rodrigo's father is of Filipino descent and her mother is of German-Irish descentPictured at the premiere of “Adventures In Babysitting” on June 23, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, Olivia Isabel Rodrigo’s father is of Filipino descent and her mother is of German-Irish descent (Nicky Nelson / WENN)

“Some traditions that have carried over into my generation are we actually make Filipino food,” the singer added about her family’s culinary traditions. “My great-grandpa had a garden and he was also a really good cook.”

“I’m Olivia Rodrigo. I’m a Filipina. I’m a lumpia fan. I’m a daughter and a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter. I’m American. I’m an Asian-Pacific islander.”

A Disney Channel and Disney+ Star On the Rise

The young star began taking acting and singing lessons at the age of six and participated in school theater throughout elementary and middle school. Her first big break into acting was starring in the leading role as Grace Thomas in the family drama film An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success in 2015.

In 2016, Rodgrio was cast on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark, which kick-started her career as a Disney star on the rise.

Throughout the run of Bizaardvark from 2016-2019, Olivia Rodgrio became a household name to children, young teens, and other Disney Channel fans as Paige Olvera.

Olivia Rodrigo attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Everything, Everything"Olivia Rodrigo attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Everything, Everything” at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 6, 2017, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Nicky Nelson / WENN)

After the end of Bizaardvark, Rodrigo was cast on the Disney+ show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, in one of the lead roles as Nini Salazar-Roberts, a musical theater enthusiast who is cast as Gabriella Montez.

Olivia Rodrigo wrote and recorded multiple songs for the show including the hit song “All I Want” and her duet “Just For a Moment” with fellow High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett.

Though Rodrigo was already a star on the rise from her Disney Channel and Disney+ fame, her popularity skyrocketed in 2021 after the release of her debut single “Drivers License”.

Her Record-Breaking Debut Song: “Drivers License”

On January 7, 2021, Olivia Rodgrio released her debut single “Drivers License”, her first single as an artist independent of Disney Channel and Disney+.

Within one week of the song’s release, the eighteen-year-old singer broke the Spotify record of the most daily streamed song ever for a non-holiday song twice as well as debuting at #1 on Billboard Top 100.

“Drivers License” became an international success, topping the charts at #1 in multiple countries and regions like Australia, Canada, and The United Kingdom. Rodrigo became the youngest artist to debut on the Billboard Chart in history.

Actress Olivia Rodrigo in a black dress and matching sandals at the Los Angeles Premiere "Thor: Ragnarok"Actress Olivia Rodrigo in a black dress and matching sandals at the Los Angeles Premiere “Thor: Ragnarok” on October 10, 2017, in Hollywood, California (Credit: Apega / WENN)

The success of “Drivers License” continued on the popular social media app TikTok, where the hashtag #driverslicense garnered over 888.5 million views within one week.

Her song became one of the hottest trending songs on the app in January 2021 with users using her song to narrate their own personal stories of heartbreak.

“Drivers License” was very well received by the public; critics and fans praised the young star for her impressive vocal range, emotional singing abilities, and relatable lyrics especially for an artist at her young age.

Olivia Rodrigo singing her original song Drivers Licence on InstagramOlivia Rodrigo singing her original song Drivers Licence on Instagram (Credit: Avalon / WENN)

Rodrigo is now considered one of the top rising stars of her time, being compared to the debut and reception of fellow stars Billie Eilish, Lorde, and Taylor Swift during their respective eras.

Rumors Behind the Story of “Drivers License” and Who Broke Her Heart

“Drivers License” has been loved by fans all across the internet, which led fans to wonder what had happened to the young star and who broke her heart.

Based on hints in the lyrics and piecing together timelines, the most popular theory behind the hit single is a private relationship between Olivia Rodrigo and her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star and on-TV love interest Joshua Bassett.

There was already speculation about a possible relationship between the two stars when they wrote the duet “Just For a Moment” together for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series soundtrack.

Actress Olivia Rodrigo styled a long red dress with matching shoes at the premiere of "Coco"Actress Olivia Rodrigo styled a long red dress with matching shoes at the premiere of “Coco” at El Capitan Theatre on November 8, 2017, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

The lyrics of “Drivers License” state that Rodrigo was in love with someone who left her and moved on to a “blonde girl” much older than her.

This led fans to believe the “blonde girl” in question was fellow Disney Channel singer and actress Sabrina Carpenter, who has been linked with Joshua Bassett since June 2020, which appears to match the approximate time frame Rodrigo wrote the song.

It was later revealed that the original lyrics of “Drivers License” were a “brunette girl” instead of “blonde girl”, which could have indicated that the song was actually not about Sabrina Carpenter.

Olivia Rodrigo flaunts her legs in a floral mini dressOlivia Rodrigo flaunts her legs in a floral mini dress at the My Friend’s Place 30th Anniversary Gala at Hollywood Palladium on April 7, 2018, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Brian To / WENN)

However further investigation concluded that Carpenter was still the most likely suspect.

Fans noticed that Bassett’s later single “Lie Lie Lie” and Carpenter’s single “Skin” both appeared to possibly be direct responses to Rodgrio’s “Drivers License”.

Bassett’s single “Lie Lie Lie” suspiciously responds to someone who he thinks is trying to spread rumors to tarnish his name and pretend to be the victim.

Olivia Rodrigo's song Drivers License is reportedly about her ex-boyfriend Joshua Bassett and his new girlfriend Sabrina CarpenterOlivia Rodrigo’s song Drivers License is reportedly about her ex-boyfriend Joshua Bassett and his new girlfriend Sabrina Carpenter (Credit: Instar / WENN)

Fans have found Carpenter’s single “Skin” to be even more obviously related to “Drivers License” with Carpenter’s reference to someone “blonde”, which is likely a response to the “blonde girl” in Rodrigo’s single.

“Skin” talks about someone Carpenter could have been friends with but is now trying to cause drama but Carpenter is not phased despite this person being upset that Carpenter is happy in her relationship.

However, all parties involved in the rumored situation have yet to confirm or deny any relation or participation in the alleged love triangle.

Olivia Rodgrio admits that the background of the story does not matter to her compared to what the story told means to her listeners.

“I totally understand people’s curiosity with the specifics of who the song’s about and what it’s about, but to me, that’s really the least important part of the song,” she told Billboard in January 2021.

“It’s resonating with people because of how emotional it is, and I think everything else is not important.”

Taylor Swift and the Future of Olivia Rodrigo

Despite being on television for years as a child actress and singer, Olivia Rodgrio is still very much a fan at heart like anyone else. The eighteen-year-old star has been very public about her love for Taylor Swift over the years.

Fans were quick to notice the influences of musicians like Taylor Swift and Lorde in Rodrigo’s style of music, whilst still being original and relatable with her own stories.

Before the release of “Drivers License”, Rodrigo received public recognition from her idol Taylor Swift for her cover of “Cruel Summer”.

Due to both singers’ songwriting styles of personability, heartbreak, and storytelling, fans have been dying for Rodrigo to join Swift on tour.

Olivia Rodrigo looked gorgeous at the 2021 Brit Awards in a neon green Dior Pre-Fall 2021 tulle bustier dress and Shaun Leane jewelryOlivia Rodrigo looked gorgeous at the 2021 Brit Awards in a neon green Dior Pre-Fall 2021 tulle bustier dress and Shaun Leane jewelry on the red carpet at the O2 Arena in London, England, on May 11, 2021 (Credit: WENN / John Marshall / Avalon)

However, due to the global pandemic, all of Swift’s tours were postponed.

Olivia Rodrigo is currently working on promoting her own work as an artist independent of her Disney Channel and Disney+ career.

She attended the BRIT Awards 2021 in a neon green dress that was praised by fashion critics for a flattering and well-accessorized look that let the loudness of the dress speak for itself.

This seems to ring true to what made “Drivers License” so beloved amongst fans because of Rodrigo’s ability to let her voice really resonate the pain and heartbreak of the song’s story with listeners.

The 5’5″ singer was also recently seen with a tall leather boot and jacket look paired with a green and black checkered dress for her SNL debut rehearsal.

Olivia Rodrigo wore a black and green pattern top and skirt from Los Angeles based costume designer Erika MaishOlivia Rodrigo wore a black and green pattern top and skirt from Los Angeles based costume designer Erika Maish for Saturday Night Live rehearsals in New York City on May 13, 2021 (Credit: Instar / WENN)

This new look shows a more confident and mature version of the eighteen-year-old to match her new breakup anthem “Good 4 U”.

Olivia Rodrigo rocked a chunky pair of knee-high PVC bootsOlivia Rodrigo rocked a chunky pair of knee-high PVC boots (Credit: Instar / WENN)

“Good 4 U” and Her Debut Album Sour

In her new song “Good 4 U”, Rodgrio tells the story of seeing her ex move on so quickly after breaking up. The Disney star’s new single has been well received with writing another successfully relatable song that reaches people of all ages.

Her new song also has been praised for branching out into new music styles, a much different approach to heartbreak compared to her debut song “Drivers License”.

“Good 4 U” has been notably compared to the emo classic “Misery Business” by pop-punk band Paramore for similar singing style, revenge-style lyrics, and overall musical vibe.

Be it the tragic heartbreak in “Drivers License” or the upbeat revenge anthem “Good 4 U”, fans have been loving the fresh take on love and loss in adolescence by Olivia Rodrigo.

Olivia Rodrigo rocked a cat-print patterned slip dress from British fashion designer Ashley Williams with black and white sneakersOlivia Rodrigo rocked a cat-print patterned slip dress from British fashion designer Ashley Williams with black and white sneakers for Saturday Night Live rehearsals in New York City on May 14, 2021 (Credit: Instar / WENN)

The young star has made a very big name for herself in a matter of days in 2021 and continues to carry the momentum with the release of her new single “Good 4 U” and her debut album Sour.

The eighteen-year-old singer-actress says her debut album Sour is about her experiences growing up as a young adult, including the insecurities, angst, jealousy, anger, and love that comes with adolescence.

Look out for Olivia Rodgrio, a #1 debuting young singer on the rise and ready to take the music and entertainment industry by storm!

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