Hot off her performance at the Brit Awards, Olivia Rodrigo is ready to ditch her Disney kid reputation and take her place as a certified pop star. But the “Drivers License” singer couldn’t have reached these heights without a solid support system. Curious to know who Olivia Rodrigo’s parents are? We’ve got you covered. Get the details on the mom and dad who raised the 18-year-old entertainer, and hear what Rodrigo has to say about their influence on her career.
Olivia Rodrigo’s First Love Has Always Been Singing
Rodrigo got her big break starring on Disney’s Bizaardvark and the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (HSMTMTS). But the Temecula, California native says music has always been her first love. She had her first vocal lessons in kindergarten and wrote her first song at 9 years old.
Execs at HSMTMTS encouraged Rodrigo to hone her songwriting chops by contributing a tune to the series. The end result, “All I Want,” went viral on TikTok and quickly earned her meetings with record labels to discuss a solo deal.
Rodrigo’s debut single, “Drivers License,” was released on January 2021; the response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. The song broke Spotify’s record for the most streams in a single day (for a non-holiday song.) It was also the most-requested song in a single day on Amazon’s Alexa. It’s already certified double Platinum, and the accompanying music video has received 202 million views on YouTube to date.
Despite its extraordinary reception, Rodrigo remains clear-headed about her end goal. “I want to be a songwriter,” she told The Guardian. “I don’t want to be the biggest pop star that ever lived.”
For more on her upbringing—as well as some background on her upcoming debut album Sour—check out the interview with MTV below:
Olivia Rodrigo’s Parents Insisted She Take Piano Lessons When She Was Younger
Rodrigo is passionate about her profession. She still remembers lyrics she wrote as a child and fondly reminisces about her first guitar—a pink plastic toy that was badly in need of tuning.
But the “Deja Vu” singer also confessed that when it came to practicing, she sometimes needed a little encouragement along the way.
“I had my first proper piano lesson when I was probably 9 years old,” she told MTV. “And I hated it and I would cry before every lesson. But in hindsight, I’m very glad that I was forced to be in piano lessons because I used those skills that I was taught every day… I’m grateful that my parents forced me to do that.”
Rodrigo’s piano lessons were part of her self-described reputation as a “goody-two-shoes straight-A student.” Instead of being embarrassed about it, she lets it inform her work.
“I have just always been a big songwriter. And my biggest thing was, ‘I just want to be taken seriously as a songwriter and as an artist,'” she told Interview in April 2021. “You could do interviews forever about how you want to be taken seriously, but for me, the real thing was, ‘Let’s just let the music speak for itself.’ I think people can sense that I’m not trying to like somebody that I’m not. I did grow up on Disney Channel. I am sort of this goody-two-shoes. And I think shying away from that would do my art an injustice, too. I just try to be as real as I possibly can.”
Family Means Everything To Olivia And Her Parents
Rodrigo is of mixed-race heritage. Her father, Ronald Rodrigo, is a family therapist and of Filipino descent; her mother Sophia is a school teacher of Irish and German ancestry.
In a video honoring her AAPI heritage, Rodrigo explained that her paternal great-grandfather was the first to immigrate to the US from the Philippines—and that his cultural traditions are still alive in her home today. Hear more about Rodrigo’s Filipino heritage in the video below:
“My dad grew up in a house where they were always making Filipino food, his grandpa always spoke Tagalog,” she told the Center for Asian American Media. “All of those traditions have trickled down to our generation. Every Thanksgiving we have lumpia, and things like that.”
She added that filming a PSA about her heritage was a personal eye-opener.
“I have never been to the Philippines, but I really, really want to,” she said. “That’s on my bucket list, definitely. When we were doing the Asian and Pacific Islander video, my whole family chipped in. They sent me pictures for the video. I learned so much about it through my family. That video totally taught me a lot. It’s so important to know your culture. Talking about it with them was really informative.”
Rodrigo, an only child, told The Guardian that her parents are proud of her success. But being an innately good kid probably helped their relationship, too. She called her parents her “BFFs” and said she never rebels. “My music can be my form of teenage rebellion,” she said.