Before Olivia Rodrigo released her first officially-promoted single, "Drivers License," in early January, the singer and actress was a veteran of a Disney Channel show and the latest High School Musical series, known mainly for her acting and co-writing some of the songs on the High School Musical soundtrack, like 2019’s "All I Want," which scraped the Hot 100 at No. 90 last spring. But "Drivers License," put out by Geffen/Interscope, changed the narrative for the 17-year-old, smashing Spotify streaming records on the way to an eye-popping No. 1 debut on the Hot 100, the Global 200, the ex-U.S. Global charts and on streaming and digital song downloads charts, to name a few.
It was a near-unprecedented start for a debut, setting the weekly record for most streams for a female artist’s first single and catapulting Rodrigo into the the mainstream pop world at a dizzying pace. But while it seemed that Rodrigo’s music career exploded out of nowhere, the success of "Drivers License" was the culmination of a slow, steady build from the young star and her manager, Camp Far West founder Kristen Smith, who earns the title of Billboard’s Executive of the Week for her work with Rodrigo.
With "Drivers License" showing no signs of slowing down on the streaming front and steadily making its impact felt at radio, Smith spoke to Billboard about the strategy behind the song’s success and what comes next.