Fresh off the stage from Birmingham Pride, I caught up with Dua Lipa to talk about her stunning debut album, collaborating with some of music’s biggest acts and why it’s always important to be comfortable in your own skin.
When 21-year-old Dua Lipa burst onto the scene with her striking style and thumping tracks, little did she know that she’d begun a journey that would lead her to become one of 2016’s hottest pop sensations.
Born in London, she attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School before her family made the decision to move back to her father’s birthplace of Kosovo when she was 13. But it wasn’t for her, and she found herself back in London living at a friend’s house after convincing her parents that letting her go was the right thing to do, allowing her to craft a life for herself in music that she desperately wanted.
Thankfully, the decision was the right one; Dua’s now a force to be reckoned with in the world of pop music. Following the release of her hit singles Hotter than Hell and Blow your Mind (Mwah) her career shot off at a rapid speed, and since then it’s shown no signs of slowing down. “I haven’t really had a moment to stop but I love that,” she says with a delicate laugh. “It’s been a really magical journey and I just feel very grateful for everything that’s happening.”
Her career is something that Dua’s worked incredibly hard to achieve and her determination has put her on a path to pop stardom after earning two top 10’s in the UK Official Charts and breaking America. But she’s just getting started. “It’s really tough to break the industry, but the opportunities are there for new artists to be heard,” she says.
“My dream is to get my music out to as many people as possible. I’m working really hard and I’m doing lots of shows in the States to try and get the word out, but obviously, at the same time I feel that there’s a lot of work that I need to do around Europe and the UK. Everything’s a work in progress.”
Dua’s a joy to speak to; polite, friendly and caring, her passion to succeed in every element of her career is something that shines through as clear as day. Most importantly, she’s grateful – for being able to travel the world, experience different crowds and finally being able to share her debut self-titled album with the world.
It’s quite scary when you get into a room and you have to open up about personal experiences.
“Working on the album was such a great process, I really enjoyed the whole experience of writing and recording. It never really felt like a chore, it was my decision to get back into the studio and work on it more because I didn’t feel like it was ready.”
If Dua’s current singles are anything to go by, her album is destined to rule the charts. Just a few months ago her incredibly catchy track Hotter than Hell reached more than one million sales worldwide. “It’s something that blows me away every time,” she beams. “It’s the song that started everything for me and it was a clue as to what the rest of the album was going to sound like.”
A gifted songwriter, penning tracks was something that came naturally to Dua. “Everything is autobiographical and very personal. I’m really excited to see what people think and I’m wondering whether I’m going to surprise people with it,” she explains. “It’s quite scary when you get into a room and you have to open up about personal experiences, but I realised that the only person who was going to get an honest song out of me was myself.”
I made peace with the fact that some people might know that this album is about them and that’s ok.
Dua’s honesty is something anyone can appreciate, it’s a bold move for any artist to lay their life out on the table for everyone to see. “I made peace with the fact that some people might know that this album is about them and that’s ok,” she tells me.
So, what can we expect from Dua’s debut album? “It’s a pop album, but it’s very diverse and touches on a lot of different genres.”
She’s no stranger to collaborations either, having worked with Sean Paul, Martin Garrix in the past and Miguel on her latest single, Lost In Your Light. “He was always on my list of people that I wanted to work with,” she says of Miguel. “My team managed to get him in the studio for the song. It was something that happened very quickly but also very organically, he’s a joy to be around.”
But she’s not finished with collaborations yet, the album features Homesick with Coldplay’s Chris Martin. “I’m really proud of it and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I feel really honoured to have had the opportunity to work with him, he’s such an incredible artist.”
Not only was writing the album a chance for Dua to share her stories, it was a huge learning curve for her. “Being the most honest is what I owe to myself and also to my fans who understand what is 100 per cent me,” she continues. “I learnt a lot about myself throughout the whole process of working on the album, not only just in personal ways, but working on relationships and everyday life. I discovered the way that I like to work and the people that I like to work with.”
A topic that I’m keen to discuss with Dua is her video for Blow your Mind (Mwah), something that not only reflects a strong sense of feminism but also tips its hat to the LGBT+ community- two things that she feels very strongly about.
I feel like anybody that has a voice to speak about things that they’re very passionate about is incredible.
Last year she toured across the US with YouTube star, singer and actor Troye Sivan who she describes as an “amazing role model for the LGBT+ community.”
“Troye’s such an amazing role model; he’s inspiring when it comes to being able to encourage people to be honest and proud of who they are. Giving people someone like Troye to look up to who’s supporting them and showing them it’s ok to be proud of who you are is important, and I’m just here to aid that,”
“I feel like anybody that has a voice to speak about things that they’re very passionate about is incredible. Blow Your Mind in itself is a song about not letting people change who you are. If someone wants to try and change you and put you in a situation that you’re not comfortable with then it’s a song to say no to that. There’s nothing better than having the opportunity to be comfortable in your own skin and to just always be yourself. I’m a complete advocate of that, it’s something that I really stand by.”
Passionate, driven and everything in-between, Dua Lipa is the new queen of pop on track to ruling 2017.
Dua Lipa’s self-titled album is out now!