Dubbed the “disco queen of quarantine,” singer-songwriter Dua Lipa became one of the most streamed artists of 2020 when she released her second album, “Future Nostalgia,” just as the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt.
“There was definitely a moment where I was thinking about it, whether it was the right decision to put this album out. But when I was making this album, it really, it served, like, a form of escapism,” Lipa told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King. “I had to go with my gut instinct that, that hopefully, it will serve as some light in the darkness and keep people dancing at home. And maybe this is exactly the perfect time to put it out.”
The timing couldn’t have been better — her music kept people around the world dancing during the lockdown. But the optimism of “Future Nostalgia” signaled a shift in Lipa’s perspective as a songwriter, especially compared to the hits from her first album. Her song “New Rules” landed her on the Billboard Hot 100 and became an anthem for anybody who was going through relationship problems.
“I love that song ’cause it’s so true. Are you speaking from personal experience?” King asked.
“You know, I’d like to think that I’m definitely in a much happier place. I felt like with my first record as well, because I was going through so many personal obstacles in my private life, that it helped with the music and I felt like I was stuck a little bit, was the idea that I had to be sad in order to make music,” Lipa said. “And so when I started making ‘Future Nostalgia,’ I’m, like, ‘There is no reason for me to be making sad songs.’ I’m having the best time. Life is great.”
Lipa said she wanted to put out optimism, excitement, fun and happiness. It was something that she personally had to overcome because she felt that “making happy pop music was cheesy.”
For Lipa, her path to stardom began as most careers do by singing in her parent’s living room. “I’ve almost never known myself without singing. When I’m writing, and when I’m singing, I feel like that’s how I get the best version of myself or my feelings or my emotions,” she said.
While many entertainers use stage names, Lipa does not and goes by the name she’s had her entire life. She said she has learned to appreciate her name and how it honors her roots.
“‘Dua’ means love in Albanian. It’s really cool that I get to have my real name be my stage name. I’ve learned to appreciate my name a lot more,” she said. “Living in London with a name like Dua, I guess I just wanted to be like all like every other kid.”
Dua Lipa was born in London, shortly after her family left Kosovo to escape a war that was happening in Yugoslavia at the time. At the age of 11, her family moved back to Kosovo. Four years later, 15-year-old Lipa convinced her parents to let her move to the U.K. and live with a friend to pursue music.
“It was something along the lines of, you know, I wanna do music, but I also wanna go back to the U.K. in the chance that, I can go and do university there,” Lipa said.
“Was it hard to convince them to let you go?” King asked.
“I think there were moments of them, wondering whether it’s, like, the right thing to do. My mum just claims that I was very confident and my parents have always been my closest friends at the same time. But we became even closer when they allowed me to go to London. And I didn’t wanna, like, misuse that trust,” Lipa said.
That trust certainly paid off. After a star-making debut album, she found herself on music’s biggest stage — the. She won two Grammys in 2019, including Best New Artist.
This year she is nominated for six Grammys: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.
Lipa said she is handling fame by staying grounded and remembering who she is. “I’m so lucky that my hobby is my job. And I get to do all these incredible things. But when I go home, it’s very different. I’m just, like, I’m just Dua,” she said.
The 63rd GRAMMY Awards are airing Sunday, March 14, 2021, on CBS.