In music, there is nothing more beautiful than to spot someone before they’re having their big break – and than for it to actually happen.When it comes to DUA LIPA it was easy to sense something big about to happen for a long while. Especially this year, 2016, has been her year. Not many have been as visibly on the verge of global success as DUA LIPA this summer, playing her first proper festival season ever. By now she has had her break, featuring on major radio and TV stations all around the world, including programmes such as the BBC Live Lounge or Jimmy Fallon. Currently she is touring the world with her first solo tour. After seeing her perform at both Way Out West and the Secret Garden Party this summer, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION finally sat down with her for a chat on the German leg of her Hotter Than Hell tour.
The 21-year-old singer from the UK and Kosovo already embodies the vibe of a feisty pop princess perfectly. She is edgy, gorgeous, young and most of all extremely talented. She has been doing her thing for all of her life and describes her danceable tunes as dance cry music. ‘I’ve always wanted to make dance cry music. Music you can dance to, but when you listen to it closely, the lyrics are sad and make you want to cry. It’s dance cry music.’
Start Things Yourself
It’s not a surprise that she has come this far, at the tender age of 21. Coming from a musical family with her father a professional musician himself, the talent was passed down to her. But then she also knows what she wants and how to make something of her passion in times of YouTube and online videos, where musicians are able to gain a following without a label or management. She is a self-starter. ‘It is so important to start things yourself! When I was younger, I started doing covers on YouTube for the fun of it. You have to go for things.’ At the age of 16 she moved from Kosovo back to London – on her own, to pursue music.
DUA LIPA is always up for trying new stuff or putting her own spin on things, such as covering mainly male artists. ‘I like covering male artists. You can do it to challenge yourself. And there is no direct competition.’ She has previously covered SAM SMITH, JAMIE XX or THE WEEKND. Her personal playlist features artists such as SOLANGE or KENDRICK LAMAR on repeat. The latter would be her dream collab. ‘I wouldn’t rap on it. But it would be my own version of a pop song and I’d have him on it.’ To have other artists cover her own songs, like JAKE BUGG or TROYE SIVAN, whom she has toured with earlier this year, overwhelms her. ‘It still blows my mind.’ To have fans know the words to her songs blows her mind too, which a lot of things seem to do these days. She still struggles with the word fan, defining her crowd that way.
But there is no doubt. There they are, front row at her concerts: Fans, who adore her completely. Reaching out to her, wanting to hold her hand and knowing every single word to her songs, half a year before her record is bound to be out. Her debut album was supposed to come out this fall and first listening samples were already sent out, but then the release was pushed back to February 10, 2017. ‘It has changed so much. I don’t mind the wait, I’d rather put out something I’m totally confident with.’ Pre-released tunes such as Blow Your Mind (Mwah!) or Room for 2 are immediate favourites to listen to.
Brexit felt as if someone had died
Touring allows her to travel freely across countries, which she has done all her life, going from one place to the next. One of the worst things would possibly be a deprivation of that freedom. It is one of the reasons why she speaks her mind when it comes to matters outside of music, such as the Brexit referendum.
‘All we can do is hope for the best now.
Being from Kosovo I know the importance of wanting to be in the EU. We were playing a show in Vienna when we heard the results. It was as if someone had died. I remember we were having breakfast and it was completely silent. I called friends in London up and asked them: Is this really happening? I couldn’t believe it. It was the only moment that made me feel sad to see Cameron resign.’
Being part of the young population, she knows they will be the ones to live through what the results of the referendum bring about. ‘I voted to stay in. It is sad to think that a majority of the voters will not live long enough to live through the consequences. Of course you can’t put 16 year olds in power, but you must educate them and have them vote.’
Love for President
The next bizarre election is just around the corner, the US presidential election. At the merch table at her concert a bright yellow shirt with a pink font reads ‘Dua for president’. Dua, which isn’t actually her real name, translates to love from Albanian. Love for president. Not egomaniacs like Trump. ‘I will do a show in Canada on the day of the election and will be in New York the day after. Let’s see how the atmosphere will feel.’ Instead of short-term goals undermining the problems of the future, a new president should be focussed on the future as much as young people are. Love for president. But it’s not the reality we live in. It’s a messed-up world with an already messed-up future. And when the young crowds at DUA LIPA‘s concerts shout ‘Dua, Dua’, it might not only be a cry for her and her music, but also for some love and compassion.