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How Did Olivia Rodrigo Get Famous?

Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of brett jordan Via Flckr.
Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of brett jordan Via Flckr.

It seemed as if 18-year-old singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo came out of nowhere, leaving many people asking, “how did Olivia Rodrigo get famous?”

The California teen released her debut album, Sour, in the middle of the year and became a household name almost overnight.

From countless awards to number one singles in numerous countries, Rodrigo has proven she is the face of the new generation’s music. 

As the year comes to an end, it’s time we look back at the incredible year Olivia Rodrigo had. 

Leading up to Sour

Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flckr.
Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flickr.

Olivia Rodrigo didn’t have the most active career before exploding into fame this year.

Before any recognition, the Los Angeles native played a guitarist in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark.

She was cast in 2019 for the Disney series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and wrote “All I Want” for the soundtrack. 

Then, in 2020, Rodrigo signed with Interscope Records and Geffen Records. She made sure to negotiate to secure the ownership of her music.

The first most notable highlight from her unforgettable year was the release of her debut single, “Drivers License,” co-written by producer Dan Nigro, on January 8. 

Three days later, the single broke Spotify’s record for most daily streams ever for a non-holiday song with over 15.7 million global streams. 

It broke another Spotify record for the first song in history to hit 80 million streams in 7 days.

Following this, Rodrigo released two more singles, “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U.”

Before the release of Sour, Rodrigo had already landed three songs on the Billboard Top 10, with her first and third landing at number one. 

Rodrigo would become the first artist to debut their first two releases in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

The Album of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of brett jordan Via Flckr.
Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of brett Jordan Via Flickr.

On May 21, 2021, Rodrigo released her debut album Sour to critical acclaim.

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and spent five weeks there. 

This would become the longest-reigning number-one album by a female artist in 2021. 

Critics quickly have dubbed her the voice of Gen-Z’s new music, along with artists such as Billie Eilish. 

Charlie Gunn of The Forty-Five called it “the greatest coming-of-age album since early Taylor Swift or Lorde.”

The album’s success would lead the singer to announce a 2022 Sour Tour with support from Gracie Abrams, Holly Humberstone, and Baby Queen.

The tour kicks off on April 2 in San Francisco and will run through the United States and Europe until early July. 

Awards and Accolades

Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flckr.
Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flickr.

With the amount of attention Sour received, it comes as no surprise the pop star received countless awards and accolades. 

For starters, the album peaked at number one in just about every country, including the United States, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, and many more. 

“Drivers License,” “Deja Vu,” and “Good 4 U” have all gone multi-platinum since their releases. 

Sour served as a staple in every music-related award show this year. 

Rodrigo has earned several Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year for Sour, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year for “Drivers License.” 

Other organizations to recognize her work include the American Music Awards with seven nominations, the MTV Video Music Awards with six nominations, and the People’s Choice Awards with five nominations.  

On top of all of that, Time Magazine named the singer-songwriter the Entertainer of the Year. 

Fans will have to wait until the end of January to see if the young singer wins any Grammy Awards. 

Rodrigo Outside of Music

Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flckr.
Olivia Rodrigo. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Television Via Flickr.

Music wasn’t the only area in which Olivia Rodrigo strived. 

During the summer, Rodrigo was invited to the White House to encourage vaccinations among the younger generation. 

She recorded videos about the importance of getting vaccinated, including answering questions the youth have regarding the vaccination. 

This played a significant role in the push for vaccinations across the country. 

Finally, Rodrigo became an institute speaker and panelist for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Olivia Rodrigo had one of the biggest years anyone has seen in recent history, especially for a young artist.

2022 will see her go on her first massive tour and, hopefully, some more music.

Joey Reams
Author: Joey Reams

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