HSMTMTS: Olivia Rodrigo Sings Acoustic Solo Ahead of Nini’s Exit

“Nini’s new, acoustic solo is a poignant grace note to Olivia Rodrigo’s remarkable run on our series,” series creator Tim Federle tells PEOPLE exclusively

Olivia Rodrigo’s character is embarking on a new journey in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

In an exclusive First Look from the latest season 3 episode, Rodrigo’s Nina Salazar-Roberts (a.k.a. Nini) performs an emotional ballad titled “You Never Know” about starting a new chapter of her life as she visits California in hopes of getting her big break as an artist.

“You never know, which way the ride could take you or how a breeze can make you start down a brand new road,” she sings in the clip while strumming her guitar.

Though Rodrigo didn’t pen this particular track ⁠— she previously wrote songs for her character in seasons 1 and 2 ⁠— the lyrics certainly reflect her own career as an artist this past year, including the lyric “the best is yet to come.”

Following the release of her hit single “drivers license” in January 2021, Rodrigo has gained critical acclaim for her songwriting, including three Grammys for her debut album SOUR.

HSMTMTS: Olivia Rodrigo Sings Acoustic Solo Ahead of Nini's Exit

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As Rodrigo puts her focus on her music, she is taking on a smaller role on HSMTMTS this season, appearing only as a guest star.

Most recently, series creator Tim Federle confirmed that season 3 will likely be Rodrigo’s last season as the show plans to give her character a “proper sendoff” this season, making her ballad in episode 2 a full-circle moment.

“Nini’s new, acoustic solo is a poignant grace note to Olivia Rodrigo’s remarkable run on our series,” Federle tells PEOPLE exclusively. “The song is all about how unpredictable a young person’s future is — and how thrilling that can be, too. I cry when I hear it, and I smile when I think of how lucky we are to know Olivia. Bon voyage, Nini. Wildcats forever.”

HSMTMTS: Olivia Rodrigo Sings Acoustic Solo Ahead of Nini's Exit

Rodrigo previously told PEOPLE about her music success: “The process of making SOUR, and putting it out in the world really challenged me, and I’ve grown so much, and I’ve learned so much more about myself. I definitely feel like I am a more confident person today because of it.”

“I felt definitely differently about love when I wrote SOUR versus now,” she continued. “I think when you’re going through a heartbreak like that, you can get really disillusioned with the concepts of relationships. But now I’m at a place where I’m so happy that I went through all of that, and have so much love for all of these people that I’ve been in relationships with. And so nice that I got to write songs to help me get through it.”

HSMTMTS: Olivia Rodrigo Sings Acoustic Solo Ahead of Nini's Exit

New episodes of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series drop on Wednesdays on Disney+.

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