"Alongside Zendaya’s Emmy-winning acting, Rodrigo has set forth a new direction for Disney celebrities," says Joseph Longo of the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star. "She is a breakout Disney star who can curse, doesn’t have to mention their TV network in every interview, and outwardly exerts more control of her art compared to her Disney predecessors. Many Disney alums, most notably Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato, have gone on to become successful, autonomous pop stars — but Rodrigo has done it instantaneously and while still employed at the House of Mouse. Even more impressive, she doesn’t sing saccharine, G-rated empowerment pop songs like her predecessors had to. Her success marks a new era where stars who find initial success through the Disney Channel are rightfully decreed as talented and industrious performers at the time of their arrival, not industry plants. So, truly, how’d Rodrigo do it?" As Longo notes, several record labels pursued Rodrigo after her Season 1 ballad "All I Want" became a TikTok hit. For whatever reason, Disney hadn't previously signed Rodrigo to a record deal. So she opted for Interscope Geffen, which prioritized her songwriting, allowing her to use profanity in her music while maintaining control over her master recordings. "It’s worth noting that it’s because of Rodrigo’s Disney affiliation that she had a brief run of public notoriety," says Longo. "In January, she released her debut non-Disney single, 'Drivers License, and caused internet chaos about whether she was singing about a certain Disney costar. These days, however, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series only merits a brief mention during press runs and so does the 'Drivers License' drama. Her Instagram lacks any mention of the show, but it’s clear she’s not avoiding the topic."