The twenty-two year old porcelain-skinned beauty was more perfect than I could’ve ever imagined. Strong brows, bright round eyes adorned with thick black lashes to boot, terracotta bronzer chiselling her already high cheekbones and flawless skin that simply radiated youth; I was enamoured by not only her voice but her attitude and sheer god-like magnificence. They say that certain people emit a halo-like brilliance – Dua Lipa was one of them.
Her handshake felt like the grip of an advanced rock-climber – clearly an alpha female, you could tell things were done her way or the highway. Wearing buffalo boots, grey trackies and a cream-coloured linen wrap top; a combo that only her modelesque figure and conviction could pull off.
But going beyond my infatuation for her aesthetic and style that I could recollect with precision, the chat with Dua Lipa was about her journey, albeit exceptionally quick, to the top. A genuine heroine and role-model for females.
Is this your first time in NZ? How are you liking it? Is the crowd any different from all the other places you’ve performed?
Well, it’s really interesting to come to a place as a support act and have people sing your songs back to you. I don’t know whether that’s just because New Zealand is so into their music and they will research whoever’s coming to town and be there for the support act. But it’s happened to me, where I’ve gone in and played to an empty arena, pretty much. It’s really nice. And they’re just so much fun and they’re up for a party and that’s all I could ever ask for.
You’re the first female solo artist to reach the top in the UK since “Hello” by Adele in 2015 with “New Rules.” How does it feel to have won the race to the top of pop after only three years since being picked up by Warner Music Group? It’s an incredible feat, you must be ecstatic, especially after collecting the two BRIT awards.
Yeah, it’s pretty surreal and crazy, especially that statistic – because I love Adele and find it crazy to think that I am the first female after her looking at number one in the UK. But it definitely makes me work a lot harder and I’m so grateful for the recognition. I’m really over the moon about everything and you know it’s just like, okay, now I need to, I don’t know, I just want to work more. I want to do more. What’s the next thing I can do?
On the climb to the top, were there any dire moments where you thought you wouldn’t be able to continue any further? If so, how did you overcome it and stay motivated? Do you have any words of inspiration for young women who look up to you as a role-model?
Well the inspiration is never give up and persistence is really key. For me, one thing that I had, even though of course there were times where I probably felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do it, I just never gave myself a Plan B. Like I never gave myself the option that I could do anything else because I felt like that would stop me from really going for music and really getting what I wanted.
So I think you know, believe in your art, because you have to believe in it the most before anybody else does.
What are your thoughts on the current global activist movements, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp?
I think it’s amazing that it’s happening. I think it’s been long coming, but it’s better now than ever and I think the most important message to get from all this, is that there’s this massive domino effect that by people sticking together and women sticking up for each other, you can kind of see that the second someone speaks up about something, lot’s of other people also can relate and there’s a lot of strength in being the first person to speak up, as scary as it may be. And I think with everything that’s going on in light of everything, the most important lesson is to speak to people around you, because you are probably not the only one that’s feeling that way. And you know you can make a massive, massive change.
How will you be showing your encouragement for Gender parity on International Women’s Day, which is only a few days away?
Oh, well, I guess I don’t think about it just for doing it for one day, it’s a lot more about everyday. And trying to, especially with the platform that I have, put that out, especially to younger generations, who I feel are the ones that are really going to make the biggest difference. Sometimes, you know you think about older generations and it’s hard to take people out of their ways, but it’s about teaching.
Have you encountered any occasions in your career where you have had to overcome being treated differently because you were a woman?
As a female artist, I guess your first music videos of you with a guitar and you with a piano; you know people instantly think that you are manufactured, or you are not exactly an artist and you don’t write your own lyrics. Whereas, if you are a male, people instantly think that you write your own music and people instantly have that perception of you that you are exactly what it says on the tin – you know, and not necessarily is that true. And I think more often than not, us as women, we have to really prove ourselves that we do what we do, and what we do, we do it really well. But I guess you just have to go through life and hope that it changes at some point.
Your tattoos of ‘This Means Nothing,’ ‘Patience,’ ‘Sunny Hill,’ ‘Angel,’ has a certain theme that resonates throughout them all. What do they mean to you? Are they your daily affirmations?
Well, some were just kind of done on the fly. ‘Sunny Hill’ was really the first tattoo that I got and it’s the neighbourhood my parents grew up in in Kosovo. And I felt like that one should be meaningful. After I got that one, I got ‘this means nothing’, because this meant absolutely nothing, but they are all done by the same Artist called Shaun from Texas, that they all kind of had the same style. But the only one that really kind of means anything to me is ‘Patience’ because the right thing to do was to be ready rather than just put something out when it wasn’t perfect in my eyes. I only had one chance to make sure it was given some time, I guess. I need patience – I don’t always have it but I think it’s really important.
What are your favourite slash most memorable moments in life on the journey up that you always look back on?
Now from memory, I think from making my first studio session, and putting out my first song ‘New Love’ and filming it in LA with my friend Nicole, to I guess doing festivals and doing shows, to having an album out to playing Glastonbury to the BRIT awards. I don’t know, it’s been really fun, really fun.
You’re at a truly pivotal point in your career where you can now do whatever you want. Where to from now? What kind of musical development, change in topic and sound can we expect from your second album?
It’s still going to be pop. There’s going to be some soulful elements. I think I have more of a direction, like a theme for the album. Which for the first album I didn’t really have because they were just personal stories.They’re still personal stories whereas now, they’re directed to one thing.
When will we see you again in NZ?
Hopefully soon, I am touring really for the rest of my life, so. Expect dates.