There are only a handful of memorable, celebratory things that make your teenage years special. Prom, high school, getting your first job or maybe your first kiss, and getting your driver’s license, but there’s a special kind of talent that lives in young people who can attach those fleeting teen moments to life-changing, astounding, and deeply moving memories.
At just 17 years old, the singer-songwriter and actress (star of Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) takes the overhyped widely experienced ritual of getting your driver’s license and turns it into a lonely wreck of a love story in the aftermath of the person who left her behind. The starlet’s latest single and accompanying video, “drivers license” is a testament to the rising artist’s flair for connecting young experiences to whole-hearted lyricism and moving music.
Co-written with Daniel Nigro (Conan Grey, Caroline Polachek), the song paints the pictures of familiar hometown scenes — the ones you once drove by with someone in the driver’s seat next to you — and in painstaking lyrics, she relays through heartbroken wreckage that there was nothing to celebrate at all. She sings, “You said forever / Now I drive alone past your street.”
Inspired by artists such as Taylor Swift, Rodrigo has been writing and surrounded by music and performing since a young age. Home videos taken by her parents even show the Filipina-American artist growing up singing and dancing for anyone she could entertain. Though her role as Nina on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has gained her a dedicated fan-following, the artist’s songwriting skills prove that there’s more to her storytelling talent than just acting.
Having written one of the show’s biggest songs, “All I Want,” entirely by herself, Rodrigo showcases her growing aptitude for music, writing, and singing. “drivers license,” takes listeners into a deeper part of the singer-songwriter’s artistry, showing off one of her most vulnerable stories yet.