When it came to choosing a cover star for ELLE's May 2021 Rising Stars issue, there was no doubt that 18-year-old singer-actress Olivia Rodrigo was the perfect choice.
The star began making waves after nabbing one of the lead roles in the Disney+ TV show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — but after debuting her track "Driver's License" this January, her life changed forever, as the tune went on to become the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on Spotify.
"You can see all the numbers and all the No. 1 charts, but to see people in their day-to-day lives listening to this song, having it resonate with them? That’s been insane," she gushed to Billboard after admitting on Twitter, "[I] truly cannot believe this is real life."
However, Rodrigo confessed that initially, the success actually gave her some anxiety.
"I thought I was going to be really in my head, like, ‘I’m never going to write a song as good as that again,’" she told ELLE.
Luckily, that wasn't the case.
"This song has given me a lot of confidence in my voice," she revealed. "I think songwriting has really helped me home in on what I like about myself and my art."
The brunette babe channeled her own experiences into the lyrics — which fans were quick to pick up on. Many assumed the song was about her romance with costar Joshua Bassett, as it was rumored their relationship (which was never confirmed) abruptly ended when he pursed fellow Disney darling Sabrina Carpenter.
But Rodrigo doesn't mind that fans are dissecting her lyrics. In fact, she calls it "any songwriter’s dream."
"There’s something so powerful in being vulnerable and open, like, ‘This is my life, and I’m f**king sad.’ Or, ‘I’m insecure,’" she explained. "That’s what makes songwriting so special."
"Whether it’s in my fashion or my songs or my social media, I want to just be like, ‘Yo, this is me,'" she shared. "And I’m sometimes weird as f**k, and I’m sometimes polished and put together."