The young music-making star Olivia Rodrigo, recently named on the Billboard and Hot 100 charts with her single “O-F F-E-D,” is coming up on her first anniversary as a celebrity ambassador for a product for underprivileged kids and teenagers.
It’s also been an exceedingly hot year for her career. She and her beau, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Joe Rommen (he has the YouTube channel #Threads of Love, as well as the Instagram account @JoeRommen), were named to Time’s 40 under 40 list in May, and the song now has more than 20 million hits. When she first started exploring the music business, it was as a pre-teen — a sometime deejay, future Broadway singer and budding cheerleader in Long Island. Her mother, Bianca Prendez-Rodriguez, worked as a writer for Disney Channel and teen television series, including “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life on Deck.” (The couple starred in a season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” as well.)
Rodrigo, 19, is now the youngest act to ever have scored a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, back in April. The song is also her third to top the digital singles chart; her original “Deja Vu” in 2016, and the follow-up, “O-F-F-E-D,” are followed by “FIND IN (IN MY PHONE)” (featuring Father Michael, formerly of BCBGMAXAZRIA) and now “Elope” (with Wagner).
Rodrigo is now touring with Rommen as the duo, whose 2018 summer tour included a stop in Washington at the Kennedy Center.
Rodrigo was inducted into the Desi Young Music Hall of Fame on Sept. 21 and toasted the occasion with her boyfriend. “Joe literally taught me what being a singer was supposed to look like,” Rodrigo said. “He has literally made me who I am today.” Rommen is a member of British heavy metal group Steps, as well as the electronic group Fleep, which hit the Billboard charts in 2014 and has since been renamed Fringo.
Rodrigo earned a bachelor’s degree in music from LIU Post, and a master’s in administration and marketing from Rutgers University in her native New Jersey. She has also released video for several other songs and released the music video for “O-F-F-E-D,” her debut single, in February 2016. She has since raised awareness of her subject matter via a partnership with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “I was doing YouTube videos one day when someone told me about the wig initiative that was helping children in chemotherapy,” she said in a statement in 2017. “I realized I had been wearing my hair every day in public, and not knowing any different, so I set out to make that small change that could impact a child’s life.”
Next up for Rodrigo is a new EP with her future boyfriend, that’s expected in 2018, she said.