Sick of Formulaic Pop? Dua Lipa Is Here to Shake Things Up

Her unconventional beats are about to take over the dance floor.

UK native Dua Lipa is a totally unpredictable singer-songwriter—and that’s a great thing. Her first single, the bounding groove “New Love”—which riled the “Who is this girl?” music-blog chatter over the summer—zigs where today’s dance pop typically zags. Rather than descend into a bᴀss-anchored, thumping chorus, the song’s hypnotic, island-style pulse abruptly, wonderfully pulls back to a slow-jam beat, allowing the underlying power of Lipa’s voice to take the lead in her demand for a more committed kind of love. On her latest single, “Be the One,” the 20-year-old’s rich, sultry tone is equally evocative, pleading for romantic redemption as it plays off a crisp, pop patter.

“When I showed ‘New Love’ to people, they’d say, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect that,’” says Lipa, who moved to her parents’ native Kosovo at age eight, only to return to London at 15—alone—to find herself creatively. “I loved that reaction,” she continues, “so I went with it.” The rest of her spring EP marries Lipa’s childhood pop heroes—P!nk, Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera—with a recent hip-hop obsession and a flare of deep disco. While her sound is mature, her lyrics are flooded with a vulnerability sprung from love’s desperate, longing moments. After all, she’s still young enough to be navigating the same emotions as the fans she hopes to inspire. “I just want to perform while people sing my songs with me. That’s the feeling I want to have.”


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