The cover stories are going to be flying off the shelves as Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album Sour looms as one of the only major pop releases of the year, thanks to the huge success of “Drivers License.” The rise of a Disney actress to a purveyor of a viral pop hit is defined in Billboard today, and her uh, eclectic outfits in the photos alone are worth a click. The story combines elements of what we already know about Olivia, such as her obsession with music and the fact that Taylor Swift has already written her a letter (to which Olivia has now responded), as well as new information, such as the fact that her label executives are ecstatic with her work ethic. (“I honestly don’t think she sleeps,” says Nicole Bilzerian, executive VP at Geffen.)
But one of the cutest details of the piece is a more personal one. It wasn’t the early TikTok crossover of her first song, “All I Want” that tipped off Olivia to the idea that “Drivers License” might be a smash, but instead, the reaction of her dad the first time she played it for him. Opting to play it for him for the first time in the most ideal environment, in the car, she noticed tears streaming down his face as the song went on: “I could just see the tears under his sunglasses — and I like, never see my dad cry, ever,” she remembered. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK, maybe I did something here.’”
Is there a pop song that can bring teen girls and dads together? That’s the kind of success we’ll be looking for in 2021.