2021 TIME100 Next
Jerry Maestas
By Gwen Stefani
February 17, 2021 6:55 AM EST

At just 17, Olivia Rodrigo is a master at turning her heartbreak into something glorious. The world is obsessed with her breakthrough single, “Drivers License”—which smashed streaming records when it debuted, and made her one of the youngest artists to get a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100—because while Olivia’s storytelling is confessional and intimate, it’s also larger than life. By pouring her heart out with so much courage and total command of her talent, Olivia made magic.

Every line in “Drivers License” feels like it was ripped out of Olivia’s diary, each one containing a beauty and level of detail that makes you feel like you’re with her, driving through the suburbs of Southern California at night, lost in thought. Rare is the artist who can transport that way, especially at such a young age. And for anyone going through their first heartbreak, Olivia’s voice is a light in the dark, a promise that your pain can someday become a deep source of power.

Stefani is a Grammy-winning musical artist

Correction, February 19

The original version of this story misstated details about Gwen Stefani’s career. She is a Grammy-winning musical artist, not a producer.

EDIT POST