VOGUE (USA)

THE REBIRTH OF DUA LIPA

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Puma, a brand for which she’s issued two Y2K-inspired capsules.

There’s a hug for each of us—Dua’s a hugger, which she ascribes to being Albanian—before we’re instructed to pull one card from each deck. Though Dua in yoga clothes is the most dressed down I’ve seen her, her nails are still show-ready: stiletto talons painted pink, coral, and silver in a kaleidosco­pic Pucci pattern. She waves her psychedeli­c manicure back and forth over the cards as though reading their energy with her fingertips. Once she’s made her choices, she flips them over. “The way you see the world is the reflection of what you have built in your life,” she intones, reading the first card in that old-soul husk that belies her youth. “Think about what hurts you the most and heal it. You have that power.” The single word printed on her other card leaps of its face: rebirth.

We’re two years minus a day from the release of Future Nostalgia, Dua notes, after we finish our 45-minute vinyasa class. The album’s continued popularity has made her the female artist with the most tracks streamed over a billion times on Spotify this year. Once we’ve repaired to the rooftop lounge outside the studio, where the morning fog has burned of to reveal a bright, hot sun, I ask Dua if she ever gets sick of these songs or feels as if she’s outgrown them. She considers my question.

“For two years we were frozen. I didn’t get to really do these songs in the way that I’d envisioned them, and now that I’ve been able to put a show around it, it feels new to me,” she explains. “But there are also ways I feel I’m sonically moving on a little bit. Especially now that I’ve started writing again and working on new music.” She estimates that her next album is half-written, and while she doesn’t clarify if or how her third album will depart from her previous work, she says this: “I’ve definitely grown up. Overall, whether it’s sonically or in terms of the themes, I’ve matured. It’s like I’m coming into my power and not afraid to talk about things. It’s about understand­ing what I want.”

And what Dua wants right now is Dua. Single and content to be so, she says, “The next chapter of my life is about truly being good with being alone.” For the second installmen­t of Service95, she took herself out on a date to New York’s Cosme and wrote about it. “Some people on the internet were like, ‘Oh, Dua went out for dinner on her own, blah blah, I do this all the time.’ And I think that’s amazing if you do it all the time. You must be so confident. But it was a big step for me. I was nervous—like, what am I gonna do? I don’t want to be on my phone.”

Her next planned solo adventure is to go to the movies. “I want to know I can just be there for myself, you know?”

“Right,” I answer. “And not have it be like, This sad woman—”

“Out on her own or whatever, and—” “She doesn’t have—”

“A man,” Dua concludes. “Yeah. Fuck that.”

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