For her Tiny Desk debut the singer performed four songs inside a literal DMV station.
Leave it to Olivia Rodrigo to make a DMV actually not feel like hell on earth. In a new NPR Tiny Desk concert, the pop star performed inside a literal Department of Motor Vehicles station as a callback to her mega-hit “drivers license,” the viral breakup song that catapulted her into superstardom earlier this year. “Right now we’re in a real-life DMV, which definitely has some interesting vibes to it,” Rodrigo said under the station’s fluorescent lights.
The 18-year old singer went through four songs from her debut album Sour, opening with an acoustic version of the typically angsty rock romp “good 4 u,” followed by “traitor” (Rodrigo’s self-professed current favorite off the album), a spare performance of “drivers license” with Rodrigo alone on a piano, and “deja vu.”
Backed by an all-women band, the mostly stripped-down set (save for a rendition of “deja vu” that included a wonderful solo from one of her guitarists) offered a strong showcase for Rodrigo’s voice, particularly on the climax of “traitor” — a good reminder after some relatively shaky performances this year as the young singer was thrusted onto some of music’s biggest awards show stages.
“Sweet! Thank you guys for watching my Tiny Desk!” a beaming Rodrigo said to close out the show, throwing up a pair of thumbs. The mini-concert is yet another capstone to what has been among the most dominant years for a breakout pop star in recent memory: Rodrigo just announced a global tour and was also recently nominated for seven Grammys, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Teenage heartbreak never looked so good.