Dua Lipa was 15 when she convinced her parents in Kosovo to let her return to London alone and pursue music. We may never know the teenager’s suasive tactic, but she proved early on that she would live life on her own terms. Back in 2017, when her peers were writing schmaltzy ballads about hapless girls and heartache, Dua Lipa released a female manifesto to move on: ‘New Rules’, a song that marked her ascent on the global charts (it featured in the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 and has since surpassed two billion views) and became a break-up anthem that spoke to women in difficult relationships to end vicious patterns.
That she never needed a precursor has worked in her favour, especially in this new world. When creatives struck by the pandemic lamented the loss of the stage—their home turf for performances—Lipa blitzed to the top, disrupting, innovating, and making her own rules. How else can you explain the appeal of a dance music artist in a year when dance floors and nightclubs have been out of bounds? “While making this album, all I ever imagined was for it to be played out in clubs and bars, and people dancing and me going on tours and putting on a spectacle—it completely blindsided me. I never thought I’d know life like this in our lifetime,” says Lipa on a Zoom call from her couch in New York.
Since March, she has been quarantining, first in London and now in the Big Apple, with her boyfriend Anwar Hadid. The couple has spent the past few months giving each other chameleonic hair dyes, watching tonnes of movies, indulging their pup Dexter and basically sitting on the couch. “I never get to do this. Everyone’s like, ‘What kind of skill are you going to get in quarantine?’ And I’m like, ‘No skill, I’m just gonna sit and watch TV.’”
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