In rough times, sometimes what the world needs is an insanely fun dance-pop album — and that’s just what Dua Lipa gave us last month with Future Nostalgia. On the new episode of the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, the pop star joins host Brian Hiatt to discuss making the album, the surreal experience of promoting it from her London home, and much more. “It feels crazy,” she says, “the time that we’re living in and what’s happening. I wonder if we’ll ever go back to normal again.”
Some highlights from the conversation:
Lipa was worried whether it was the right time to release the album. “I guess that was kind of the thing I was maybe the most conflicted about. It’s such an upbeat, high-tempo album that you would just want to dance to. I wasn’t sure if it was really the time to put it out — to celebrate, I guess, during a time of so much suffering.”
She’s starting to think about her next album, but doesn’t think it will arrive anytime soon. “I feel like I need to get out there and live a little bit and perform these songs and really kind of see what I love from each song and where I want to go next.”
Singing the line “I know you ain’t used to a female alpha” helps her feel more like one. “When I put lyrics like that into my record, and I perform them, I do feel more empowered and stronger, and, yeah, I’m like, ‘I am a female alpha.’ But it’s also recognition that we are built on the backs of giants. There have been strong, influential women since I was very little in the music industry: Pink, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, Madonna, Janet Jackson.
She is, understandably, not sure exactly when and how concerts will feel safe again. “We don’t really know how long this will last. Hopefully, at some point, we can find some sort of cure or some kind of vaccination. I would love to get back on the road as soon as possible to as many places as possible, but obviously for me, the most important thing is the health and safety of everyone around.”
Lipa feels that she’s had to push to be seen as the creative force behind her music. “Artists in pop, especially women, have to work harder to be taken seriously. You have to work a lot harder for people to really believe that these are your lyrics, that this is your vision.”
She still likes her mega-hit “New Rules.” “I’m so grateful for that song because it really did change my life. It gave me the kind of confidence I needed to be able to take a leap in my career that was out of my comfort zone. People go, ‘Are you bored of singing the same song over and over again?’ I’m not, because it’s not really about me in that instance — it’s about the listeners.”