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.
Rodrigo has been writing and recording for her debut EP throughout quarantine in 2020. It is set for release sometime this year, and we cannot wait to see the song stories she’ll share with us then.