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While growing up in Murrieta, California, Rodrigo's first love was singing. She began at age four, and started taking vocal lessons in kindergarten. Not long after, she took up piano; by age 12, she was playing guitar. At the suggestion of her vocal coach, Rodrigo pursued acting, and she appeared in productions at her elementary and middle school -- experiences that led her to seek professional acting jobs. After appearing in an Old Navy commercial, she starred in the 2015 direct-to-video film An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. The following year, she was cast as Paige Olvera in Bizaardvark, a Disney Channel series about two best friends who post online music videos that let Rodrigo show off her singing abilities.
Not long after Bizaardvark ended following its third season, Rodrigo got her big break. In February 2019, she landed the lead role of Nini Salazar-Roberts in the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a mockumentary style show that follows the on- and off-stage drama that happens when the student body of East High puts on a production of High School Musical: The Musical. When the show's creators -- which included writer and Broadway librettist Tim Federle -- learned Rodrigo was a songwriter, they gave her the chance to pen original songs for the series. "All I Want," which garnered millions of streams after the show's debut in November 2019, entered the U.S. and Canada Hot 100 singles charts in January 2020. Rodrigo collaborated with her co-star Joshua Bassett on the duet "Just for a Moment." In the wake of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' success, she continued to work on her own music, looking to the confessional songwriting of influences such as Fiona Apple, Phoebe Bridgers, and Jack White for inspiration. ~ Heather Phares