From Breaking Records to Graduating High School: A Look Back at Olivia Rodrigo's Amazing Year

Her album may be Sour, but the "Drivers License" singer — who turns 19 on Feb. 20 — has had a truly sweet year

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January 2021: Olivia Rodrigo Releases 'Drivers License'

Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo. Frazer Harrison/Getty

In Jan. 2021, Rodrigo, who at the time was known for her role on the Disney+ series High School Musical the Musical the Series, released the hit heard 'round the world! 'Drivers License' topped the charts for eight consecutive weeks and became the year's first track to surpass 1 billion global streams. It also catapulted Rodrigo to superstardom.

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January 2021: Reaching New Heights

Olivia Rodrigo
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, on top of claiming the record for the biggest weekly streaming debut with 107 million worldwide streams — 76.1 million from the U.S. alone.

It's even more impressive when you realize that she was the youngest solo artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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May 2021: Meeting Her Idol

Olivia rodrigo meets taylor swift
Olivia rodrigo/instagram

Rodrigo has been vocal about her admiration for Taylor Swift, and got to meet her after performing at the 2021 Brit Awards. It wasn't the first time Rodrigo had gotten in touch with Swift: She shared in March 2021 that Swift had sent her a handwritten note and a sentimental ring as well.

"She is absolutely the kindest individual in the whole world," Rodrigo said during an interview with SiriusXM. "Actually, last night — like literally 12 hours ago — I got a package from her with this handwritten note."

"And she gave me this ring because she said she wore one just like it when she wrote 'Red' and she wanted me to have one like it," she added, showing off Cathy Waterman's "Love" ring.

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May 2021: Live from New York

Olivia Rodrigo
Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Rodrigo was the musical guest on the May 15, 2021, episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, first singing "Drivers License" and then debuting "Good 4 U," which she had released just the day before.

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May 2021: The Release of Sour

Olivia Rodrigo
Geffen Records

Her debut album Sour was released in May, and with more than 385 million streams, broke Spotify's record for most-streamed album in a week by a female artist.

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May 2021: Ain't It Sweet

Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo/Instagram

Rodrigo's music continued to make waves. Three of her singles, "Deja Vu," "Drivers License" and "Good 4 U," entered the top three of the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first artist in history to debut their first three singles in the top 10.

Sour was named on Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Variety's lists for best album of the year, was the most pre-added album on Apple Music a week before its release and broke streaming records on Spotify. It spent five weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart.

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May 2021: High School Musical the Musical the Series

Fred Hayes/Disney

Amidst it all, Rodrigo's first vehicle to fame, the Disney+ show High School Musical the Musical the Series debuted its second season. The singer stars in the series alongside Joshua Bassett; her album, Sour, was rumored to be about him.

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June 2021: Congrats, Grad!

olivia rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo/Instagram

Rodrigo added 'graduate' to her ever-growing list of accomplishments when she donned her cap and gown in June 2021 and graduated high school!

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July 2021: Miss Rodrigo Goes to Washington

Pop Star Olivia Rodrigo Arrives At The White House To Record Videos Promoting Covid Vaccinations
Olivia Rodrigo at the White House on Wednesday. Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

In July 2021, resident Gen Z whisperer Rodrigo took her talents all the way to the White House (and rocked a seriously cute outfit while she did it), meeting with President Joe Biden and the country's top COVID-19 adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to record videos urging young people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

Rodrigo said that, in addition to a pair of sunglasses that the pair donned for a photo op, the President of the United States gave her "a few gifts," telling Jimmy Kimmel, "He gave me those, he gave me some M&Ms and he gave me a shoehorn which was strange. It had the presidential emblem on it — I'm serious, it's in my house."

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September 2021: Over the Moon

olivia rodrigo
Mike Coppola/Getty

Rodrigo racked up her share of MTV VMAs in 2021. She was nominated for six awards and took home three: Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Push Performance of the Year. She also brought the house down with a performance of "Good 4 U"

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September 2021: Olivia Hearts Radio

Olivia Rodrigo
Kevin Mazur/Getty

The singer performed in her first-ever live concert in 2021 at the iHeartRadio Music Festival 2021 in Las Vegas!

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November 2021: Winning New Artist of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo attends the 2021 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Olivia Rodrigo. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

The pop star was nominated for seven American Music Awards in 2021, taking home the prize for New Artist of the Year.

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November 2021: She's a Grammy Nominee!

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 21: Olivia Rodrigo performs onstage during the 2021 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for MRC)
Olivia Rodrigo. Kevin Winter/Getty

In 2021, the Grammy nominations were announced, and it was no surprise that the star was nominated for seven, including Best New Artist and Song, Record and Album of the year.

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November 2021: Baby's First Met Gala

The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion

November was a busy month for Rodrigo, who arrived at her first Met Gala in style, making her debut in a black lace off-the-shoulder Saint Laurent catsuit by Anthony Vaccarello. The star told Vogue on the red carpet, "I think Saint Laurent does a great job of making punk rock feminine, so that is what I was going for.

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December 2021: TIME's Entertainer of the Year

Arrivals on the green carpet of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Opening Gala

At the end of 2021, the star added 'TIME Entertainer of the Year' to her résumé.

She said in her interview, "Young women are constantly compared to each other. I'm the 'new this' or 'this woman meets that woman,' and that can be reductive. I'm just Olivia. I'm doing my own thing. It's meaningful when people recognize that."

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December 2021: Heading Out on Tour

Olivia Rodrigo performs onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
Kevin Mazur/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty

In December 2021, Rodrigo announced that she would be taking the show on the road with a global tour of Sour — which will make stops in North America and Europe — starting in April 2022.

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February 2022: Shining Bright at the Brit Awards

The BRIT Awards 2022 – Red Carpet Arrivals
Gareth Cattermole/Getty

Rodrigo was nominated for best International Artist at the 2022 Brit Awards, and though she didn't take home the trophy, she did win for Best International Song for her hit, "Good 4 U."

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February 2022: One Year of 'Drivers License'

olivia rodrigo

In February 2022, Rodrigo celebrated the "little song that changed [her] whole life," sharing a sweet tribute to her hit "Drivers License" on Instagram. She shared alongside a video of herself singing the now-viral track, "Crazy to think how quickly life changes. thank u to everyone who has supported me so tenderly. music is the most magical thing in the world. 💜💜💜."

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