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.

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