Utah is at the center of purported musical battle between ‘High School Musical’ stars
Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” is a huge hit — but is the song about her ‘HSM’ co-star Joshua Basset?
(Photo courtesy of Disney Channel/Image Group LA) Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo star in the made-in-Utah series "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series."
The hottest song in pop music right now, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” is directly tied to Utah — and not just because the accompanying music video was filmed here.
Rodrigo, 17, is one of the stars of the made-in-Utah series “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”
And her plaintive song about lost love might be about one of the other stars of the Disney+ series, Joshua Bassett. They play the series’ main couple, Nini and Ricky, and they dated in real life while they were filming at East High School and other locations in the Salt Lake City area.
The song has been setting records. On Monday, it set a Spotify record for the most streams in a single day for a non-holiday song, with 15.17 million. On Tuesday, “Drivers License” broke its own record with more than 17 million streams. And it’s still going strong.
“We’ve never seen anything like this, where you do have a newer artist that just comes out of the gate in such a dominant way, and just continues to grow,” Spotify’s Global Hits lead Becky Bass told Billboard.
“This is a song you’re talking about with everyone right now. Everyone’s listening to it, everyone’s obsessing over it.”
And not just because of the song, which Rodrigo wrote herself, but because of the accompanying drama, real or imagined.
(Photo courtesy Craig Sjodin/Disney+) “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” stars Mark St. Cyr as Mr. Mazarra, Dara Reneé as Kourtney, Larry Saperstein as Big Red, Joshua Bassett as Ricky, Frankie A. Rodriguez as Carlos, Olivia Rodrigo as Nini, Julia Lester as Ashlyn, Matt Cornett as E.J., Kate Reindeers as Miss Jenn and Sofia Wylie as Gina.
There’s speculation — which Rodrigo has neither confirmed nor denied — that she is lamenting the end of her relationship with Bassett in “Drivers License.” The lyrics include how she “drove through the suburbs crying ‘cause you weren’t around” and asking, “How could I ever love someone else?”
“And,” the song continues, “I just can’t imagine how you could be so OK now that I’m gone.”
If that’s not drama enough, there’s this verse in “Drivers License”:
“And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about.”
Bassett, 20, reportedly started dating actress Sabrina Carpenter (“Girl Meets World”) after he broke up with Rodrigo. Carpenter is not only blonde, but, at 21, she’s four years older than Rodrigo.
Plus, on Thursday, Bassett released a song of his own — “Lie, Lie, Lie,” — and there is speculation it’s about Rodrigo.
The lyrics include, “I know what you say about me / I hope that it makes you happy / You can’t seem to get me off your mind / Get me off your mind / Oh, I know you’re lying through your teeth / You told them the lies that you told me / I’ve had enough of it this time.”
Bassett posted on Instagram that he wrote the song “after I found out a friend had been lying about me behind my back for a long time. It always sucks to hear that someone you thought you could trust would throw you under the bus when it benefits them.”
Rodrigo and Bassett recently wrapped production on Season 2
of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” which will stream on Disney+ later this year. If there’s a third season — the show hasn’t been officially renewed yet — production could be … interesting.