Pop sensation Dua Lipa makes waves
Young, fun, feisty and feminist, pop sensation Dua Lipa is a force to be reckoned with on the world stage
SHE’S been hailed as the authentic voice of young women these days – she’s independent, cool and in charge of her sexuality. Her anthems of self-love and empowerment, her outspoken views on girl power and a hefty dose of sex appeal have turned Dua Lipa into pop’s hottest property. Since exploding onto the music scene last year with her self-titled debut album, the 22-year-old has become known for her no-holds-barred hits such as New Rules and IDGAF (I Don’t Give a F**k). And the feisty go-getter is just getting started. Vogue magazine recently included her in its inaugural list of the most influential women in the UK. Dubbed the Vogue 25, the list is made up of what the glossy fashion bible calls “an extraordinary cast of leaders defining – and redefining – the way we live now”. It includes women in politics, art, fashion, media and sport, and contains Meghan the Duchess of Sussex, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Black Panther actress Letitia Wright and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Dua – who was born and raised in London by Albanian parents – has been called “a culture definer”. “Her hit New Rules laid out a blueprint for modern sex-lives and has to date had more than a billion views on YouTube,” the magazine said. In case you haven’t heard it, the song revolves around a list of rules for getting over an ex. Dua warns about not picking up the phone (“he’s only calling because he’s drunk and alone”) before concluding that if you find yourself in his bed in the morning, “you ain’t getting over him”. In the music video the husky-
voiced songbird struts around a mansion with her gal pals at her side.
She wanted the track to show that “as women we have each other’s backs”, she told Billboard magazine. “It’s the breakup song I wish I’d had when I was breaking up with someone. This is me taking charge.”
She’s made a vow to educate the next generation by using her platform to preach what it is to be a feminist.
“It’s a crazy time in the world. Women are the f**king future. That’s really what I think, and I think if you’re not a feminist, you’re sexist – both men and women,” she told ES magazine.
“My idea of feminism is just wanting equality. It’s just wanting women to be treated the same. I guess we need to teach the younger generation. Whatever I can do in my circle, however I can use my platform to get things out – that’s the most important thing to me.”
And no, she’s not a man-hater. “That’s a total misconception. Some of my songs are just unfiltered, and I don’t hold back.”
YOU could say Dua – which incidentally means “love” in Albanian – was destined to sing. Her dad, Dukagjin Lipa, was part of a successful rock band in his native Kosovo. But Dua says he and her mom, Anesa, who fled strife-torn Kosovo to settle in the UK, never pushed her towards music.
The born performer loved nothing better than doing shows in her parents’ living room and dance routines in the school playground. “I’ve always been in love with music,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
At age 11, she moved with her parents and younger brother and sister back to Kosovo. But at 15, determined to crack it in the music industry, Dua convinced her parents she needed to move back to London – which she did on her own.
She lived with a family friend, finished school and did odd jobs including modelling and being a restaurant hostess.
She didn’t last long in the modelling world, though. “I was never cut out to be a model,” she says. “They’d be like, ‘Oh, you know, if you lose a lot of weight, we’ll be able to put you out for more jobs.’ That put me in a really bad mindset.”
She started being noticed after posting songs on YouTube, and landed a management deal with the people who represented songbird Lana Del Rey.
“I was telling people I wanted to sound like [rapper] J Cole and Nelly Furtado mixed together, and they were like, ‘ What’s this girl talking about?’” she says, laughing. “But then I wrote Hotter Than Hell, which got me a record deal and changed everything.”
In 2015 she released her first single, New Love. She followed it up with Be the One, which did well in Europe and reached No 1 in Belgium. The following year she embarked on her first European tour and released her third and fourth singles, Last Dance and Hotter Than Hell.
In February she made history when she became the first British female ever to score five nominations at the Brit Awards – the UK’s equivalent of the Grammys.
After winning British breakthrough artist as well as female solo artist, she said, “I want to thank every single female who’s been on this stage before me and given girls like me something to look up to.”
She ended her speech by proudly proclaiming, “Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and taking over the world!”
But she still hadn’t cracked the notoriously difficult US market. That happened only in 2016 when she dropped her fifth single, Blow Your Mind, which became her first entry on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In June 2017 she released her debut album along with her sixth single, New Rules – still her bestselling track to date. It shot to No 1 in the UK, making her the first British female artist to clinch the top spot since Adele with Hello in 2015. In December, Spotify named Dua the most streamed woman of 2017 in the UK.
Dua, who describes her music as “dark pop”, is working on her second album, which is set for release next year.
She says she’s always been in control of her music and image. “I think one of the things I’ve been lucky about is I didn’t bring a label on board until I really figured out who I was.
“I just want to be real. I feel I owe that to my fans and to myself. I worked so hard to get who I am out there and not be a manufactured something that somebody else wants me to be.”
DUA is dating Isaac Carew (32), an ex-boyfriend she recently reunited with after her January split from Paul Klein, the singer with US band Lany.
Dua and Isaac – a hunky model and TV chef known for his popular YouTube channel, Dirty Dishes – broke up last February after dating for two years. But they were recently seen looking loved up while out in London.
Last month she dismissed rumours linking her to Real Madrid soccer player Marco Asensio following the Champions League Finals where she performed at the opening ceremony.
“I haven’t even met Marco and it’s highly unlikely I ever will as my Liverpoolsupporting manager would never forgive me,” she tweeted playfully.
With so much going on in her life she has her most recent tattoo – the word Patience – to remind her to slow down.
“I put it on my hand so I’d always see it. Patience really is a virtue. It’s always served me well, reminding me to wait and learn more about myself. And always be nice – that’s probably the most important thing of all.”
LEFT: Dua, pop’s hottest act, performs at the Grammys in May. RIGHT: The video for her hit breakup anthem, New Rules. BELOW: She took home the Brit awards for British female solo artist and British breakthrough act in February.
FAR LEFT: Dua’s parents, mom Anesa and dad Dukagjin, a former musician. LEFT: A snap from her Instagram account shows Anesa cradling baby Dua.
With her boyfriend, model and TV chef Isaac Carew. They recently rekindled their romance after a year-long break.