Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Isabel Rodrigo


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Early life


Olivia Isabel Rodrigo was born on February 20, 2003, at Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, California. She is a Filipino-American, who lived and grew up in Temecula. Her father works as a family therapist and her mother works as a school teacher.


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Rodrigo's father is of Filipino descent while her mother has German and Irish ancestry. She has stated that her paternal great-grandfather moved from the Philippines to the United States as a teenager and her family follows Filipino traditions and cuisine.

Rodrigo started taking vocal lessons in kindergarten and learned to play piano soon after. She began taking acting and singing classes at age six and started acting in theater productions at Lisa J. Mails Elementary School and Dorothy McElhinney Middle School.


Rodrigo was playing guitar by age 12. She grew up listening to her parents' favorite alternative rock music, such as from the bands No Doubt, Pearl Jam, the White Stripes, and Green Day. Rodrigo became interested in songwriting after listening to country music, especially American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.

She moved to Los Angeles when she landed her role on Bizaardvark.

Career


Rodrigo first appeared onscreen in an Old Navy commercial. Shortly after in 2015, at age eleven or twelve, she made her acting debut portraying the lead role of Grace Thomas in direct-to-video film An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. In 2016, Rodrigo received recognition for starring as Paige Olvera, a guitarist in the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark, a role she played for three seasons.


In February 2019, she was cast in the starring role of Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which premiered in November of that year; for the show's soundtrack, Rodrigo wrote "All I Want" and co-wrote "Just for a Moment" with co-star Joshua Bassett. Rodrigo was praised for her performance, with Joel Keller from Decider describing her as "especially magnetic".

She signed with Interscope and Geffen Records in 2020 and released her debut single, "Drivers License", in 2021, which quickly topped various charts worldwide and gave Rodrigo her breakthrough. It was followed by successful singles "Deja Vu" and "Good 4 U", leading up to the release of her debut studio album, Sour, to critical acclaim.

Olivia Rodrigo is a soulful artist with a rare gift for emotive and empathic songwriting. "I think I'm good at knowing how people feel, how I feel, and being able to capture that," the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter-actor shares.


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Her keen sense for conveying feeling has served her well, thus far. Olivia is the star of Disney's High School Musical series streaming now on Disney+. Acting has been something of a newish development for her. Singing since she was 4, Olivia took up acting based on a recommendation from her vocal coach. "Acting and music relate in that they are both about capturing feelings and moments as accurately as you can," she shares.


Olivia exudes an intriguing paradox of being both exuberantly youthful and, sagely, an old soul. She seeks authenticity and bold expression in her music. "My favorite songs are brutally honest and give a vivid look into the artist's life and mind," she says. "Honest storytelling is my ultimate goal." A select cross section of her influences include artists as diverse as Fiona Apple, Jack White, PJ Harvey, and Phoebe Bridgers. Olivia's worlds of acting, singing and songwriting meet when she performs two original songs she wrote, as well as HSM classics, on the series.


Olivia Rodrigo – 2021 Met Gala


"Writing for HSM was surreal, to say the least. The fact that they gave a 16-year-old a shot to write for such a big project is so awesome." She continues: "I think the perspective of a teenage girl is so powerful, and something that doesn't always gets harnessed in its full capacity, too."


As a kindergartener, Olivia took voice lessons, and then later piano lessons. At age 12, she began playing guitar. It was during this time that she began writing songs. "I remember coming up with melodies and lyrics and writing them down in this pink fluffy notebook that I had won at some arcade. I still keep that notebook on my bedside table," she says, laughing. Olivia is currently in the studio working on her debut EP.


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