Release Date: Jun 2, 2017
Record label: Warner Bros.
With the confidence and determination of a seasoned vet, English-Albanian singer/songwriter Dua Lipa crafted a delightful collection of catchy pop gems where the songs only serve to highlight her vocal prowess. Lithe enough to avoid production overkill and containing just enough substance to nourish, Dua Lipa arrived after years of studio time and six big singles (three of which became U.K. Top 40 hits).
It takes a genuine miracle for a new act to nudge Drake and Ed Sheeran out of their UK singles chart monopoly, but Kosovo-born, London-based star Dua Lipa has managed it three times. Her singles 'Be The One' and 'Hotter Than Hell' made the Top 15; the same went for Martin Garrix collaboration 'Scared To Be Lonely'. All this before an actual full-length album.
Four syllables that have fast become a household name, Dua Lipa has released her highly anticipated, twice postponed, eponymous debut album in the UK this week. The British born singer/songwriter of Kosovar-Albanian heritage has been making waves across Europe and the greater globe since she began working on her first album in late 2015. The talented model turned songwriter demonstrated a natural spark for pop with early cuts including 'New Love' and the thrilling 'Last Dance'.
In some instances this can seem cynical; interchangeable millennial pink-clad model types chasing pop trends for quick-hit streaming success. In some instances it works for an artist who is developing ideas prolifically - it makes sense for Tove Stryke, for instance, to be writing and releasing simultaneously, freely exploring new pop territory while as untethered to a larger, cohesive statement as record labels might allow. This is Dua Lipa's debut album, but it already feels like she's been around forever.
As befits the current trend, the 2017 Brit Awards packed the Critics’ Choice category with solo artists. One of the three on the shortlist was Londoner Dua Lipa, possessor of a powerful and distinctive voice. On the strength of the material in her debut album you can expect it to be a dominant force over the summer. That voice is one of the most distinctive you will hear in pop music currently, and the album reveals it as a versatile one too.
O riginally slated for release last September and then again for February, rising British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa delayed her debut album in part to include some "exciting collaborations". Presumably she was referring not only to the presence of R&B smoothie Miguel but Chris Martin, with whom she duets on Homesick, a tearjerky piano ballad that pleasingly mixes her smoky mid-range vocal with Martin's crooning. While that isn't exactly the slick, Capital FM-ready synth-pop she's best known for, you can see why Lipa held out.
Over the space of nearly two years, Dua Lipa has released a whopping 10 (!) singles. OK, while some of those have been collaborations, and one of them has actually been released twice, it feels ludicrous that the singer is only just releasing her debut album. Part of this stems from the fact that in 2017 major labels still have no idea how to launch a new pop star in the age of streaming, and unfortunately much of Dua's eponymous debut suffers because of that.
Dua Lipa -- who doesn't require a stage name because her birth one is so striking -- has made it very clear in press releases and interviews that this album is, well, her. It's not a performance but a set of songs that reflect her life and the fact we all "go through the same fucking shit". The question is: do we believe her? When artists write about themselves, they're expected to really bare their souls.