You’ve heard her collabs with Martin Garrix (“Scared to Be Lonely”) and Sean Paul (“No Lie”). We caught up with Dua Lipa when she was in town to showcase her first album at JW Marriott.
You’ve had teachers who told you you couldn’t sing. What encouraged you to keep going?
Because I love to sing, I wanted to audition for the school choir. It was at an assembly where my teacher played a really high note and was, like, “Come on Dua, sing this song” and nothing came out. Then he was, like, “OK, next time” and he never gave me a place in the choir. But still, I loved singing so much, so I’d go to the Sylvia Young Theatre School [in London] on Saturdays. When I was nine years old, there was a teacher there who said I could really sing, and he put me in a class with 13- and 14-year-olds. It made me really nervous because I was with teenagers and it was really scary [for a nine-year-old].
Your dad, Dukagjin Lipa, is also a musician. What’s the best advice he’s given you?
To work really hard, and to be very humble, and never forget the reason why you started doing what you’re doing. It’s all about being grounded.
Tell us more about your new album!
I’ve been working on it for two and a half years, and it feels really surreal. I feel like the songs I’ve chosen for this album are a lot more about love, loss and heartbreak, and I guess that’s where I am right now.
You’ve collaborated with Miguel and Martin Garrix. Do you have any special collaborations lined up for the album?
Yeah! There’s a song called “Homesick”, which is a collaboration with Chris Martin. It was really exciting for me, but also really scary. I guess it’s just working with someone who is so inspiring and such an amazing artist; someone I’ve looked up to. It was surreal getting to sit down at the piano with him. He’s so distinct in the way he works – the second you sit down, he’s playing the piano and you’re, like, “that’s Coldplay!”. It’s really insane and I feel very lucky to have worked with someone so big and so inspiring so early on in my career.
Would you say he’s a mentor figure for you?
He was someone who just really taught me things and told me to be kind to myself. There are times when I can get really overwhelmed and I overwork myself to a certain degree, and he was, like, “Just remember that you also got to stop and do things just for yourself.”
You describe your music as “dark pop”. What does that mean?
I really admire the honesty and truthfulness in being able to talk about sad experiences and finding inspiration from darkness. It’s making a song you could dance to, but when you listen to the lyrics, there’s something that’s quite heartfelt and sad at the same time. A lot of the songs on the album are dark pop and have dark meanings, but a song like “Lost in Your Light” is definitely one of the happier ones.
Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut studio album is out now.
Images: Aloysius Lim / Warner Music Singapore / Text: Sophie Hong.