THE biggest pop star in the world is . . . a Puerto Rican rapper you have probably never heard of.
Where you might expect Adele or Ed Sheeran at the top, its most popular act of 2021 — for the second year in a row — is Bad Bunny, 27Credit: Eyevine
American Disney star Olivia Rodrigo, 18, has the biggest song of the year with her debut hit Drivers LicenseCredit: Getty Images – Getty
K-pop superstars BTS feature highly, alongside the more familiar names of Taylor Swift, rapper Drake and Justin Bieber.
American Disney star Olivia Rodrigo, 18, has the biggest song of the year with her debut hit Drivers License.
Other tracks played on repeat this year include another Rodrigo hit, Good 4 U; Montero, by Lil Nas X; Stay, by Aussie hitmaker the Kid Laroi; and Levitating by our very own Dua Lipa.
If big winners are not familiar, you are not alone.
Avoid the scorn of your kids and grandchildren with our guide to these two surprise superstars.
THE former Disney actress released debut single Drivers License less than a year ago.
With help from TikTok — Gen Z’s favourite social media site — and the emotional kick of a painful break-up, the 18-year-old can now point to a platinum album, seven Grammy nominations and an estimated net worth of £3.75million.
Having starred in Disney telly show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the California-born actress spent lockdown working on debut album Sour, since compared to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and Adele’s 25.
It came after she reportedly split from Disney co-star Joshua Bassett, 20, in 2020.
He went on to date Girl Meets World actress Sabrina Carpenter, 21.
Drivers License is about a girl crying about a lost love while driving after passing her test — a true story, Rodrigo says.
Lyrics include: “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.”
Olivia wrote on TikTok: “I sat down at my piano and thought the experience might make a good song.
“I posted it on Instagram and people really liked it. We even put sounds from my mom’s car in the track.”
After dropping in January, her track got a UK No1 and became the fastest song to reach 100million streams on Spotify
The singer is now dating 24-year-old music producer Adam Faze but has kept fans talking by keeping the subject of her songs a mystery.
She told Billboard mag: “I totally understand people’s curiosity with the specifics of who the song’s about and what it’s about, but to me, that’s really the least important part.
“It’s resonating with people because of how emotional it is. Everything else is not important.”
After dropping in January, the track got a UK No1 and became the fastest song to reach 100million streams on Spotify.
She told the New York Times: “It’s been the absolute craziest week of my life. My entire life shifted in an instant.”
Since then she has notched up celeb miletones — modelling for Vogue, going platinum . . . even having a spat with Nineties rocker Courtney Love.
THE Latin and reggaeton artist went from packing bags in a supermarket to sharing a stage with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the 2020 Super Bowl half-time show in a few short years.
Now 27, Bad Bunny (real name Benito Ocasio) has found huge success through gay and feminism-friendly videos, political activism, savvy use of social media and even appearances on pay-per-view wrestling events.
He uploaded his Spanish-language song Diles — meaning Tell Them — to music site SoundCloud while a teen.
It caught the attention of producers and led to his debut album X 100pre — pronounced por siempre and meaning for ever. He has since released three more albums.
He says: “For me, Spanish is f***ing cool, more than English. I’m pleased we are in a time when I don’t need to change anything about myself — not my musical style, not my language, not my culture — to go far.
“That doesn’t mean I’ll never sing in English.”
Bad Bunny is known for his political lyrics and for pushing boundaries with his fashion choices.
After Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 he lashed out at then-US President Donald Trump while performing on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.
Bad Bunny is known for his political lyrics and for pushing boundaries with his fashion choices
“He said: “More than 3,000 people died and Trump’s still in denial.”
In 2019 he halted a tour to protest against sexist and homophobic politicians.
He is yet to have a chart-topping single or album over here. His biggest UK hit is Cardi B’s 2018 track I Like It Like That, on which he rapped in Spanish and English.
It has been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify.
Last year he appeared in drag for the video to Yo Perreo Sola — I Dance Alone.
It includes the lyrics: “If she doesn’t want to dance with you, respect her, she twerks alone.”
Latin singer Ricky Martin, who came out in 2010, called Bad Bunny, who is heterosexual and dating jewellery designer Gabriela Berlingeri, “an icon for the Latin queer community”.
Next year he starts a global tour called The Last World Tour. The title has fuelled speculation he might quit music for acting.
He will appear in the big-screen thriller Bullet Train with Brad Pitt and in American Sole alongside US comic Pete Davidson.
The former Disney actress released debut single Drivers License less than a year agoCredit: AP
Music streaming service Spotify has released its list of the world’s most listened-to artists and songs this yearCredit: AFP or licensors
Bad Bunny (real name Benito Ocasio) has found huge success through gay and feminism-friendly videos
K-pop superstars BTS feature highly, alongside the more familiar names of Taylor Swift, rapper Drake and Justin BieberCredit: Getty Images – Getty
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.