Dua Lipa is a Very Good Pop Star. Currently battling it out at the top of the UK singles chart, we talked to her backstage at Glastonbury earlier this summer.
A lot can happen in twelve months. Last year when Dua Lipa played Glastonbury, she was riding a wave of hype, expectation and excitement. There’d been a handful of behemoth singles but nothing to fully get lost in. This time around, the wave has broken shore under a self-titled debut and turned all that buzz into something unbreakable. Those shimmering moments have become a superstar.
“Last time I did Glastonbury, a lot of it was word of mouth. The tent was full, and I didn’t think it could get any better.” This year, everyone returned, and they brought their mates. “The tent was overflowing. It was such a crazy outcome. It’s been a massive step-up since the album’s come out. It’s insane.” Sitting backstage a few hours later, Dua finds a lot of what’s happening nuts. The show was crazy; the audience was insane, the reaction to the record has been mental. Rather than dazed though, she’s excited. She’s taking all the unexpected and turning it into something powerful.
“I get really nervous before I get onstage,” she admits. “I love being onstage, but sometimes I’m also very vulnerable.” The nerves didn’t last for long today. “I just had the best time. I was so confident on stage today, just because the audience made me feel so at home. It was my favourite performance I’ve ever done, I think. It’s moments like this that I’m so pumped for. I’m ready. I felt invincible. I went out into the audience, and I stood on the barrier, and they were holding my hand, and we were singing together, and I was like, ‘This is a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life’. It was just my favourite thing ever; I loved it.”
Dua first starting releasing music in 2015, (“time’s flown by so fast”) and she’s used the time since to find her voice. The debut album may seem her team up with a bunch of writers but that voice, her personality is consistent throughout. There’s no echoes or whispers; it’s proudly Dua. “One of the reasons it took so long for the album to come out was because I was taking time to really figure out who I was and what my sound was, what my genre was. I realised that I didn’t really have a genre and my sound was just a mixture of lots of different things. Somehow I managed to put them all into one thing that I identified with.”
And that identity she’s discovered is ready to meet the world. “A lot of it is very personal and honest. I put a lot of myself out there, and it’s quite exposing. I was very nervous to get it out, but I was also really ready for people to hear it.” There’s real life across the record. “If people knew the songs that I’ve written are about them, I was okay with that. You know what, now is the right time to get it out there. I was just really open to it. There is a lot of strength in vulnerability, and being able to open up about your emotions. As daunting as it may be, there is a lot of strength behind it.”
Dua has spent two years hustling. And hustling hard. The next thing was always on her mind but now, “I’m learning to be a lot more present.” For a while, “it felt like I didn’t really get to experience a lot of the places I was visiting. Now I’m learning to take a step back and really enjoy the moment.” That’s not to say she’s hitting pause. “I’m already writing for my second album. When I was coming towards the end of this album, I was like, okay, one final push. Now all of a sudden that the album’s out, all these new things are happening that I feel like I’m ready to write again. I feel in a really positive place. I’m just going to keep going; I have no intention of stopping.”
Taken from the September issue of Dork. Order a copy below. Dua Lipa's self-titled debut album is out now.