Every facet of Dua Lipa’s music – the way she pulls from contemporary hip-hop, classic soul and pop and reshapes them into her own crimson sound – accentuates the visual world that’s naturally building around her. Planet Dua is a mosaic of styles, guided by her magnetic tendency to pull in eclectic influences around her and sculpt them into her own creations. It’s reflected in her fashion and visuals, a haute gypsy amalgam of studded custom leather jackets, dazzling lens flare, long pale dresses, dusky florals, and dreamlike aesthetics. It’s a picture of thrifted youth.
London-born Dua always knew she wanted to be a singer. With her father, also a musician, as primary influence, Dua’s musical upbringing was one of wild contrasts; she listened to Destiny’s Child, hip-hop, Tupac and Biggie, while her dad nurtured her with Bob Dylan and David Bowie. The hefty presence of rock, r’n’b, pop and rap quickly became telling factors, and a young Dua was soon singing with students twice her age at The Sylvia Young Theatre School. At the age of thirteen, Dua’s family moved back to Kosovo, but she longed to be back in London, singing and being surrounded by others who wanted to do the same. Two years later, she convinced her parents to let her move back alone, staying with friends and heading straight back to Sylvia Young.
The craziness of trying to make music work at the same time as leading an anarchic, independent adolescent life ended up becoming both a gift and a burden for her writing sessions. She worked everywhere, from shops to restaurant hostessing to nightclub doors to modelling, and the dramas of every night became something that she wanted to write about. Now at the age of 19, Dua’s deep, smoky voice and rhythmic flow has taken her into studios in London, LA, Stockholm, New York and Toronto, and into sessions with Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs) and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow, Charli XCX). The adventure itself has become an inspiration, and her sound has become the pure, impressionable and passionate sound of a London-raised girl consuming the world first hand and then expressing it in her own flavour.